Eagles vs. Giants, Bears vs. Chargers: Lessons Learned From NFL Week 11

Breaking down the lessons from the week in football.

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REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine

Philadelphia Eagles' DeSean Jackson (L) and Riley Cooper (R) celebrate after Cooper's touchdown catch in the fourth quarter of the Eagles' 17-10 win over the New York Giants during their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, November 20, 2011.

The Eagles Have Landed? There are big games, there are must-win games and then there’s the Philadelphia Eagles having to beat the New York Giants on the road, live on national TV, in the biggest match up of NFL’s week 11. The 3-6 “Dream Team” knew they couldn’t afford any further slip-ups and did indeed get to 4-6 by grinding out a 17-10 victory. All this despite having to use a quarterback whose only pass this season had been intercepted and a receiver who didn’t have a catch all season long. Well, Philadelphia went 80 yards on an 8-yard go-ahead touchdown pass from Vince Young to Riley Cooper with 2:45 to play to pull out the W against their divisional rivals without Michael Vick. Until Sunday night, the Eagles had typically been having a nightmare in the fourth quarter, losing five games in the final 15 minutes. But they’re now only two games behind the Giants and Dallas Cowboys so the fat lady ain’t even close to singing.

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Cutler’s Costly Victory. But will she eventually pick up the mic for the Chicago Bears? The team might have won their fifth game in a row (31-20 over the San Diego Chargers) but quarterback Jay Cutler is reportedly set to undergo surgery on the thumb on his throwing hand after breaking it during the victory. How serious is it? Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune reported that two sources confirmed that Cutler will miss 6-8 weeks, meaning he’s done for the regular season though the Bears will avoid putting him on injured reserve in order to have him available for any possible playoff games. But how the heck can they get there? Although currently 7-3, a wild-card spot looks a tough task (the Green Bay Packers will win the division). Cutler’s current backup is Caleb Hanie, who has yet to throw a pass this season and hasn’t made an NFL start (they also have rookie QB Nathan Enderle, but he hasn’t seen action either). Who knows: perhaps the Bears will reach out to Brett Favre. In sports, anything is possible.

Back on Track. Trailing 24-7 in the second quarter, and hearing boos from their long-suffering fans, the Detroit Lions appeared on the verge of losing their fourth game in five, this time to the Carolina Panthers. But Detroit recovered for a season-saving 49-35 win and can now look forward to hosting the undefeated Super Bowl champion Packers for the first Thanksgiving game in forever that actually means something to Detroit. And on T-Day, nobody will be more thankful for the renewal of this rivalry than those inside Ford Field.

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