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5 Things To Know Today: December 23

Posted Dec 23, 2013

No, you are not dreaming. The Eagles trounced the Chicago Bears 54-11 on Sunday night. The only thing that would have been sweeter is if last night's game clinched the division. Oh well, the Eagles have the next-best scenario - the chance to secure the NFC East title by beating the Dallas Cowboys in their house in front of the entire nation on Sunday Night Football. Here is a look at the playoff picture and the rest of the 5 Things You Need To Know Today for Decemebr 23 ...

1. THE EAGLES ARE CURRENTLY THIRD IN THE NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE

Of course, that means nothing if the Eagles don't beat the Cowboys. But here is a look at who else is in the playoff mix.

Seattle is currently the No. 1 seed, but if they lose their finale next week vs. St. Louis they could lose the NFC West if San Francisco wins out and fall all the way to No. 5.

Carolina beat New Orleans to take a one-game lead in the NFC South. The Panthers have secured at least a Wild Card berth, but will own the NFC South title and a first-round bye with a Week 17 win over Atlanta. The Panthers can't get the No. 1 seed over Seattle, but would get it over San Francisco if the 49ers rally to win the NFC West.

Chicago still controls its playoff hopes, but they - like the Eagles - are in a win-or-go-home battle for the NFC North against the Green Bay Packers.

The 49ers still have to play tonight against Atlanta. If they beat the Falcons, they are in the playoffs and still have a chance at the NFC West.

New Orleans is right now the No. 6 seed and they are in with a win next week over Tampa Bay. The Saints can still win the NFC South if Carolina loses.

Arizona is the only team who can get in as a wild card, but not win the division. They need to beat San Francisco in Week 17 and hope either San Francisco loses tonight or New Orleans stumbles in Week 17.

2. TRENT COLE GOES BEAR HUNTING INDEED

Trent Cole set social media ablaze before the game Sunday afternoon when he tweeted the post above.

A man of his words, Cole backed up his pre-game talk with a dominating three-sack performance against the Bears, etching himself into second place on the Eagles' all-time sack list. But we know all about what Cole can do on the field. What's the story behind the tweet?

"It was like two years ago. Not this past spring, but the last spring," Cole said with a smile after the game. "It was a black bear in Alberta, Canada with Northern Wilderness Outfitters."

In fact, our Eagles Television Network cameras were with Cole when he took down the big fella.

"I like to hype it up," said Cole. "I'm a hype man. I like to stir stuff up."

3. GET YOUR MONDAY STARTED WITH FREE DUNKIN' DONUTS COFFEE

When the Eagles Win You Win. The day after an Eagles win (home and away), head to your local Dunkin’ Donuts for a FREE medium hot or iced coffee. All you have to do is download the free Dunkin’ Donuts app on your mobile phone and the coupon will appear the day it’s valid. So stop in this morning to start your Monday off right with a FREE coffee from Dunkin’.

4. PATIENCE PAYS OFF FOR BROWN

With about six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, Bryce Brown had carried the ball eight times for 50 yards. Those numbers alone would made for a nice night from the Eagles backup running back, but on his ninth and final carry of the night, Brown broke one for a 65-yard score.

“It felt good to get in a groove,” Brown said after the game. “I felt good early in the game, and I just knew that if I kept with it, big plays were going to be possible.”

Sunday’s game was very much a microcosm of Brown’s 2013 campaign. He burst onto the scene during his rookie season with the Eagles. In his first two starts, Brown ran for 347 yards, the second-highest total ever for an Eagle in two consecutive starts. But things haven’t gone quite as well for the Eagles back this season, which is to be expected with the kind of numbers LeSean McCoy is producing. Even with a diminished role, Brown has never felt frustrated with his playing time this season. He knew that his patience would pay off and eventually, and he would eventually break that big play.

“As a team, we’re doing well and that’s my main focus,” Brown said. “I’m not concerned with how many carries I get or how many yards, or anything like that. Obviously I want to take advantage of my opportunities when I get in there. Hopefully the way I played today will carry over and I can keep rolling.”

5. SPECIAL TEAMS CAMEO PAYS OFF FOR EAGLES

Don’t discount the importance of that forced fumble on the Chicago Bears’ second kickoff return in the Eagles’ dominant 54-11 victory on Sunday night.

What’s even better about the forced fumble and recovery? It was executed by the Eagles’ two starting cornerbacks, both of whom are not regular special teamers.

Bradley Fletcher forced the fumble by ripping the ball from Devin Hester’s grasp after he had broken a nice return, and Cary Williams pounced on it for the recovery next to the sideline.

“I can’t even remember,” Williams said when asked the last time he played special teams. “Maybe the Denver game? I think that might have been the last time.”

It was Hester’s first fumble since Week 7 of the 2009 season – perfect timing for an Eagles team that had just taken a 7-0 lead and was looking to build on early momentum. LeSean McCoy punched it in from 1-yard out for a touchdown on the ensuing drive and the rout was on.

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