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5 Things To Know Today: December 22

Posted Dec 22, 2013

Gameday is finally here! Sure, Eagles fans will have to wait a couple of extra hours before the 8:30 p.m. kickoff against the Bears, but it could be well worth the wait depending on what happens before the game. Here's a look at the 5 Things To Know Today before the Bears-Eagles showdown ...

1. DID YOU BUY A KIRK COUSINS JERSEY?

Eagles fans will all be cheering for Washington when they host the Dallas Cowboys at 1 p.m. If Washington beats Dallas, the Eagles can clinch their first division title and a spot at the postseason table with a win over the Bears.

If Dallas wins, the Week 17 matchup between the Eagles and the Cowboys will crown the winner of the NFC East and send the loser home for the postseason. In this scenario, will the Bears-Eagles game be meaningless? No, not from a seeding standpoint. In addition, the Bears are in first place in the NFC North. They, too, could have a chance to clinch the division title, but their fate could also be determined in Week 17 as well.

Head coach Chip Kelly said earlier in the week that he would not rest the starters if Dallas wins. However, Bears head coach Marc Trestman hinted that resting starters is on the table if the Bears' can't clinch the division.

2. GAMEDAY MAGAZINE: THE D-LINE GETS SOME LOVE

In today's edition of Gameday Magazine, learn about the young and talented defensive line led by starters Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan and Cedric Thornton. The defensive line has already made a big impact on the team's success this season and there are plenty of reasons to believe that they will only get better.

Also in this issue, quarterback Michael Vick discusses what it meant to make the most of his second chance as well as what the holidays mean after missing some while imprisoned. And meet the artist behind the weekly cartoons, Kevin Lofton. Have you watched this week's yet?

3. WILL THE EAGLES KICK TO DEVIN HESTER?

Here are the key matchups to watch in tonight's game ...

LB Mychal Kendricks vs. RB Matt Forte

The Bears quarterback situation has grabbed all of the national attention lately, but Forte has been consistently impressive all season long. Third in the league in yards from scrimmage, Forte is one of the best pass-catching backs in the game. With 522 receiving yards on the season, Forte is very dangerous in space, and that's where Kendricks comes in. The inside linebacker has been used as a spy this season whenever the Eagles have played against mobile quarterbacks like Oakland's Terrelle Pryor. Cutler doesn't run much, so Kendricks may be used to spy on Forte whenever the latter sneaks out of the backfield as a wide receiver.

Eagles Special Teams vs. KR/PR Devin Hester

The Eagles coaching staff drew a lot of attention last weekend for refusing to kick the ball off deep to Cordarrelle Patterson. As a result of squib and “mortar” kicks, as Kelly called them, the Vikings were consistently starting out with solid field position. So the question posed this week is whether the Eagles will continue the strategy against the best kick returner of his generation, Devin Hester. The Eagles will be without special teams extraordinaire Colt Anderson, so players like Brad Smith, Najee Goode and Jake Knott, along with a host of others, could have a very large impact on the game. Hester, who already holds the all-time NFL record for most combined kick return touchdowns (18), is one score away from breaking Deion Sanders' NFL record 19 total return touchdowns (which includes fumble and interception returns).

4. GAMEDAY COVERAGE BEGINS AT 8 PM

PhiladelphiaEagles.com's coverage begins at 8 p.m. with the Kickoff Show with reports from Lincoln Financial Field. At halftime, Dave Spadaro will analyze the action on the Halftime Report as the Eagles will honor former linebacker William Thomas. Once the final whistle sounds, Spadaro, ESPN's Adam Caplan and former Pro Bowl linebacker Jeremiah Trotter bring you recap, analysis and reaction on the Post-Game Show presented by Ricoh.

Today's Broadcast Schedule
Time Event
8 PM Kickoff Show
10 PM (Approx.) Halftime Report
11:30 PM Post-Game Show presented by Ricoh

5. FANS CONNECTING WITH FANS

Fans can email gameday photos to pix@philadelphiaeagles.com. These photos will be shared with Eagles fans everywhere and can be viewed on our gameday page as well as PhiladelphiaEagles.com/virtuallinc. Fans can follow the #CHIvsPHI action on PhiladelphiaEagles.com/social, which features all of your favorite social media platforms. Twitter has real-time team updates, Instagram has behind-the-scenes photos and Facebook is a great place to interact directly with other fans.

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