Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - Page 19 News List

NFL: Jets hope to stay in playoff race by eliminating Eagles

AFP, LOS ANGELES

The Philadelphia Eagles’ Michael Vick scrambles to avoid pressure from the Miami Dolphins defense during their game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, last Sunday.

Photo: AFP

The Philadelphia Eagles head into the weekend clinging to their slim post-season hopes and trying to silence the critics who say they have not lived up to lofty expectations this year.

“It’s exciting. We’ve got three games left and it’s up for grabs,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “I’d say that’s a good thing.”

The Eagles face a New York Jets team today that is riding a three-game winning streak.

Philadelphia (5-8) were tabbed as one of the favorites at the start of the NFL season, but they have switched to become the league’s biggest flop so far.

They are two games back of the first-place tie between Dallas and the New York Giants in the NFC East and have an outside shot at a wild-card playoff spot.

A loss today would eliminate the Eagles from playoff contention.

Meanwhile, the Jets have now enjoyed three straight victories after losing their previous two games.

With their own post-season hopes on the line, New York (8-5) will be seeking their first ever victory over the Eagles today at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Jets enter their final three games of the regular season two games back of AFC East-leading New England.

“I think we’re all just playing a lot better across the board,” quarterback Mark Sanchez said. “I think hopefully we’re just starting to hit our stride and we’re not there yet.”

New York continued their momentum with a 37-10 rout of Kansas City last Sunday for their best offensive performance of the season so far.

Week 15 of the season kicked off Thursday night with the Atlanta Falcons dominating the Jacksonville Jaguars 41-14.

In another key game today, the Detroit Lions welcome back one of their top players against the Oakland Raiders as defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh returns from a two-game suspension.

The Lions are hoping that having Suh back will help them avoid a third consecutive road defeat. Oakland need to win to avoid a third straight loss.

The Lions (8-5) should get a much-needed boost from Suh. The controversial defensive player was suspended for stepping on the right arm of Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith during a 27-15 loss on Thanksgiving Day.

Detroit have lost five of eight games since opening the season with five consecutive victories, leaving them in position now for a possible wild-card spot.

“One win down and we’ve got three left to get,” Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said.

Tim Tebow’s Denver Broncos will face New England and a victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots would take Tebow-mania to a new plateau.

The Patriots have long struggled in Denver and they will have a difficult challenge there today as they seek to snap the Broncos’ stunning six-game winning streak and wrap up their ninth AFC East title in 11 seasons.

In other weekend matchups, Dallas were to face Tampa last night, while today it is Seattle at Chicago, Cincinnati at St Louis, Washington at the New York Giants, Green Bay at Kansas City, New Orleans at Minnesota, Tennessee at Indianapolis, Miami at Buffalo, Carolina at Houston, Cleveland at Arizona and Baltimore at San Diego.

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