Sunday, January 16, 2011

It's the Packers vs. Bears for trip to Super Bowl XLV

The Green Bay Packers blew out the Atlanta Falcons last night for a trip to the NFC Championship Game. Today, the Chicago Bears beat the Seattle Seahawks, 35-24, although the game was never in doubt despite Da Bearz giving up several scores late.

Believe it or not, this will set up the first playoff meeting between the Pack and Da Bearz since a divisional playoff game in 1941. 1941! Holy John Belushi movie, Batman! (Film reference, look it up.)

With the annual meetings between these two teams going back to the dawn of time (or the start of the NFL, whichever came first), it does come as a bit of a surprise that there has only been one previous time when the Packers and Da Bearz met with something like this on the line.

This is definitely the game that both Packers and Bears fans have been hoping for. For Packer fans, it's a chance to make amends for the early season giveaway loss in ChiTown, grab the NFC Championship Trophy -- the George Halas Trophy (how great to steal that away on Da Bearz' home turf?) -- and get ready for a return to the Super Bowl. For Bears fans...well, who really cares?

Make no mistake, Da Bearz have gotten much better on all sides of the ball as the season has worn on. But so have the Packers. And if they continue to roll like they did last night, the Super Bowl is just one game away for the Pack. It's no gimme. That second meeting in Green Bay in the regular season finale was a dogfight. This will be, too, one would suspect. But that was more or less the thinking going into the Atlanta game. Chicago is better than Atlanta, especially on the defensive side of things. And Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz has put Jay Cutler in a position to succeed by changing the scheme since early in the season.

But really...when push comes to shove, with the game on the line, which quarterback do you want pulling the trigger? Cutler or Aaron Rodgers. A-duh! If the Pack's defense and special teams hold their own -- which they will -- the advantage goes to the Packers, despite playing in Chicago and on that lousy turf at Soldier Field. (C'mon...with all that graft that flies around Chicago, couldn't they pay off someone to get a decent field??? Really.) As Terry Bradshaw noted, a bad field goes to the advantage of the offense because they know where they're going and the defenders do not. More weapons, more opportunity. That's the Packers.

As the week goes on, we'll be doing preview updates as the need arises. Our prediction of the score (not the winner -- you already know we're picking the Packers!) will be made closer to game time.

The NFC Championship Game will be carried on Fox with kickoff set for 2 p.m. Central time.

Go Pack Go!!!