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The Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship game earning the right to head to Dallas to play the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2011 Super Bowl. The Packers Super Bowl berth is their first since they lost to the Denver Broncos on Jan. 25, 1998.
Following the game, Packers fans reacted to the victory and their trip to Dallas:
There are fans of 30 teams waking up this morning wishing they were like those Packers fans celebrating a Super Bowl berth. I know I'm one of them.
Chicago was seemingly put out of the game early when the Packers went up 14-0 but the Bears clawed back and made things interesting late into the fourth quarter eventually losing the game, 21-14.
Check out Acme Packing Company for more on the game.
The Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship game sending them to Dallas to play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. The Packers 21-14 victory over the Bears didn't look like it would be close in the early goings as the Packers jumped out to an early 14-0 lead but Chicago came back to make it interesting late in the game.
There weren't any significant performances by the Packers so it's hard pin-pointing the player of the game. SB Nation's Acme Packing Company asked who the game ball should go to.
Well it has to go to punter Tim Masthay. Not once did a wobbly kick leave Devin Hester with space, and after a memorable Week 17 performance against Chicago, the Packers special teams was pinpoint once again.
Hester's punt return ability was arguably Chicago's biggest threat after they got down to their third quarterback but the Packers held him in check all day. It was an impressive performance.
There were plenty of Packers who, in the first half, could have received the game ball including QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Jordy Nelson and WR Greg Jennings. But all those guys disappeared at times in the second half. DE Cullen Jenkins and NT B.J. Raji also had big games, especially Raji who scored a touchdown off an interception.
Check out Acme Packing Company for more on the Packers performance.
The Green Bay Packers have become the NFC’s first No. 6 seed to make it to the Super Bowl, beating the Chicago Bears 21-14. A pair of lesser-known names made huge plays late for each team, as third-string Bears QB Caleb Hanie nearly brought the Bears back to tie the game with under a minute to go, but Packers DB Sam Shields grabbed his second red zone interception to seal the game.
Green Bay dominated the game early on, until an injury to QB Jay Cutler and a realization about QB Todd Collins forced Hanie to step up. The young passer from Colorado State dueled mightily with Aaron Rodgers, who finished the game with 244 yards and two interceptions.
Gigantic Green Bay Packers DT B.J. Raji, listed at 337 pounds that we know of, intercepted Chicago Bears third-string QB Caleb Hanie. Darting 18 yards into the end zone, sort of fumbling the ball at the goal line, and breaking out a ravishing hip swivel, Raji appeared to have punched the Packers’ ticket to Arlington, but you can never count out Hanie, because you have never heard of him.
It’s the first career touchdown for Raji and the first postseason interception for Hanie.
The Bears responded by operating in a no-huddle, and with under five minutes to go Hanie had the ball moving. The score came on a 35-yard touchdown pass to Earl Bennett, and Chicago isn’t quite out of it yet. Hanie now has 103 yards in well under a quarter of football, making him Chicago's leading passer on the day.
Chicago Bears QB Caleb Hanie has already outscored Jay Cutler and Todd Collins, completing both of his passes for a total of 40 yards and adding a short scramble as Chicago traveled 67 yards for its first score. He’s not quite Aaron Rodgers yet, and sooner or later one of these quarterbacks had to take hold, but wow.
Suddenly Green Bay’s dominance throughout the game doesn’t look all that imposing. The Packers have left points on the board, most recently on that Rodgers interception to Brian Urlacher, and with Chicago taking the momentum and apparently finding a quarterback somewhere on its depth chart this fourth quarter is going to be interesting.
The highlight of the drive was a 32-yard pass to Johnny Knox on which the receiver could’ve scored but was unable to get the ball inside the pylon as he scooted out of bounds.
Chicago Bears QB Caleb Hanie, whom none of us have ever heard of, has taken over for QB Todd Collins behind center. FOX’s Chris Myers mentions Hanie’s mobility as being highly preferable to Collins’, so there’s that. But who in the world is Caleb Hanie?
Jay Cutler is apparently out of the game due to his knee injury, leading many to question his heart and toughness and patriotism and so forth. At one point Brian Urlacher was seen speaking to Cutler, who just kept moping around the sideline with his coat on. Since Hanie was inserted before the fourth quarter began, he's the only quarterback allowed to play for Chicago from this point on.
Hanie has played in five games, completing eight regular season passes, in his three seasons since leaving Colorado State. Caleb Hanie? He went undrafted in 2008, and apparently has been a fan favorite among certain Bears fan circles.
The Bears have actually gotten the ball moving on Hanie’s first drive, so maybe somebody was on to something.
Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler suffered a knee injury in the third quarter of the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers. Bears backup QB Todd Collins was seen warming up on the sideline, which doesn’t necessarily mean Cutler will miss much time, but Collins is taking the field for now after a Brian Urlacher pick of Aaron Rodgers.
Cutler is questionable to return, having gone six-of-14 for 80 yards. He’s been peppered with hits all afternoon.
If you’re just joining us, Collins was the QB who threw four interceptions in that one 23-6 atrocity near midseason, when the Bears lost to the Carolina Panthers, the NFL’s worst team. He’s been in the league since 1995. His first drive today, a three-and-out, inspired some booing from Chicago fans.
The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears both had chances to score in the last two minutes of the NFC Championship Game’s first half. But a pair of interceptions killed what might’ve been. One of them was super nuts crazy, as a low Aaron Rodgers pass bounced off Donald Driver’s feet and into Lance Briggs’ hands. Why do footballs that come into contact with feet always end up picked off?
Packers DB Sam Shields made up for Driver’s misstep, picking off a Jay Cutler lob to essentially end the half. On the Bears’ previous drive Shields strip-sacked Cutler — the rookie has been all over the place today.
Chicago is very lucky to only be down by two touchdowns. The Packers have outgained them by 142 yards, and any talk about Chicago’s defense being able to defend Green Bay better than Philadelphia’s or Atlanta’s did has been proven misguided. Rodgers is up to 211 total yards, Green Bay’s defense is battering Cutler on every drive, and the Packers’ running game has already gone over 100 on the day.
After a delay in scoring, largely caused by the injury to Green Bay Packers LT Chad Clifton that gave Chicago Bears DE Julius Peppers a momentary quarterback buffet, the Pack is back in the end zone. RB James Starks levitated into the end zone from four yards out, appearing at first to make contact with the ground. Bears coach Lovie Smith elected not to challenge, and it was probably the right move, as Starks somehow never touched turf.
The Bears have gained all of 33 yards, with their most recent drive starting inside their own five and ending there as well. A punt mishandling by CB Tramon Williams gave Green Bay the ball at midfield, which is still really nice field position.
Green Bay Packers OT Chad Clifton made it to the sideline with some difficulty after taking a knee to the back of the head during QB Aaron Rodgers’ touchdown run. FB John Kuhn’s knee, in fact, which is a very potent knee indeed. Clifton is questionable to return.
Clifton was monitored by Green Bay’s medical staff on the sideline, getting a heating pad to the side of his neck for what’s being called a stinger. If it’s a concussion he’ll have to come out, but the NFL doesn’t have such rules for stingers.
On the play in question Rodgers conducted a fake to Kuhn, who dove up the middle and over Clifton, making contact on the way.
The Packers defense forced Chicago to punt, and second-year man T.J. Lang is in at tackle. Bears DE Julius Peppers looks pretty excited about all this.
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is off to a scorching start here in frigid Chicago (nice!), completing four straight passes during the NFC Championship Game’s opening drive. He then ran in from a yard out after a fake to FB John Kuhn, barely nosing the ball inside the pylon.
The drive went 84 yards in seven plays, taking four minutes off the clock. Rodgers threw for 76 yards, 48 of them on a pair of targets to WR Greg Jennings, who does not appear willing to be tackled. WR Jordy Nelson and RB James Starks also contributed catches, with Nelson’s going for 22 yards.
The drive looked to be in trouble early on, when Starks’ kick return was stuffed well inside Green Bay’s 20. But the same thing happened to Starks several times last week in the Georgia Dome, so maybe this is just their thing.
Chicago Bears safety Chris Harris is active for today’s NFC Championship Game after missing practice with a hip injury, according to Adam Schefter. He won’t be 100 percent, as that whole “torn hip muscle” deal sounds pretty gruesome, but against Aaron Rodgers’ elite passing game the Bears are going to need their full complement of secondary defenders.
Harris received a painkilling injection Sunday morning. Bears TE Desmond Clark will also play, though his status wasn’t quite as in question as Harris’. The safety was held out of practice throughout the week because of the injury. He won’t make his injury any worse by playing on it, so the only question will be whether he can handle the pain.
Both teams are thus more or less fully healthy today, though of course playing with wear and tear is to be expected at this time of the season.
There aren't a lot of injuries this week for the NFC Championship Game, but the Bears may be without one of their starters in the secondary.
Bears safety Chris Harris was limited in practice all week with a hip injury, and is listed as questionable for today's game at Soldier Field against the Packers. If he can't go or is diminished, Aaron Rodgers' chances of aerating the Bears secondary get that much better.
For the Packers, injuries were a pox early and often in the 2010 season, but players like Ryan Grant and Jermichael Finley have been out for the year for months now. The injuries on the active roster are few and far between. Linebacker Frank Zombo is out for the game, but the rest of the Packers' listed injuries are to major contributors (Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews, Cullen Jenkins) who have been playing through the nicks and bruises of late with little ill effect.
Did you see CBS Sports' Mike Freeman ranting about the condition of Soldier Field? Here are some pictures that make his "bad weave" claim look specious at best.
Sure, that looks a little brown. But it's late January in Chicago. Grass should be brown in those conditions.
Okay, how about Milwaukee radio host Bill Michaels' picture?
Wait, that almost looks green...
Finally, here's one from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tom Silverstein:
Yeah, Soldier Field looks no worse for wear before this Bears-Packers NFC Championship Game than Soldier Field always does. You can listen to Freeman's alarmism, or you can look at the pictures and make your own decisions.
Me? I think that though there are obviously some worn spots on the field, this isn't going to be a huge issue for either the Bears or Packers today.
Many have worried this week about whether the often poor field conditions at Solider Field would muck up the NFC Championship Game between the high-flying Packers and the less airborne Bears. Those concerns were probably unfounded.
Here's ESPN's Rachel Nichols, tweeting about the field conditions:
Workers clearing snow from Soldier Field right now, heating coils underneath grass too. Championship Sunday - best day of the NFL season.
And the Wall Street Journal's Tom Oates says Soldier Field "looks OK":
Removing the cover at Soldier Field. Field looks OK, at least for now. Weather is sunny, about 20 degrees, some wind but not too bad.
Then, of course, there's CBS Sports columnist Mike Freeman, who enjoys a little hyperbole:
Good God: they're taking tarp off Soldier Field and the field looks awful. It's just dirt.
Who to believe? I'm going with the multiple "It's no problem" folks.
So, to assuage fears one last time: it is unlikely that field conditions at Soldier Field will create a terrible NFC Championship Game. Not impossible, but certainly unlikely.
Often, analysis of keys to victory is hard for teams that seem evenly matched — forget the Packers being favored in the NFC Championship Game odds — but it's fairly simple for the Packers: if their defense can hold down the Bears, the offense should carry the day.
The Packers are 7-2 when holding teams to under 20 points this season, and their only two losses in that scenario &mdash to the Redskins and Lions, of all teams — came in games that Aaron Rodgers left with a concussion.
The Packers are also good when they can score points in bulk. The Packers are 10-1 in the regular season and playoffs when scoring 21 or more points, and their only loss came to the New England Patriots in a game started by Matt Flynn.
So if Rodgers can play the entire game, get the Packers 21 or more points, and get an effort from the Green Bay defense that holds the Bears under 20 points, the Packers should win. That's not far from "score more points than the other team," is it?
It's been the case all week, though it's still a little stunning: Bears-Packers odds currently have the visiting squad from Green Bay favored to win the NFC Championship Game and head to Dallas for Super Bowl XLV.
One check of the NFC Championship Game odds shows the Packers favored by 3.5 and 4 points over the Bears, up from the opening line of 3 points earlier this week.
That could mean a couple of things. One, Las Vegas bookmakers may be confident enough in Aaron Rodgers' skills to be giving the Bears another point and allowing them to cover by losing by a field goal. Two, it may have been really hard to get bets from the public on the Bears this week — the Packers are a huge "public" team that gets plenty of support in a scenario like this, and Rodgers' superb play is likely making them a favorite of regular bettors, too — so a line that gives the Bears a realistic chance of covering without winning might be the only way to get even money laid on both teams.
Remember, the reason lines are the way they are in Las Vegas is to get an equal amount of money on both sides, so that no matter which team wins on the field, the oddsmakers turn a profit.
When it's game time in Chicago in January, it tends to be a cold state of affairs for whichever sporting event is happening. Today's NFC Championship Game is no exception.
According to weather.com, Chicago is forecast to have a chilly day for the showdown between the Bears and the Packers, with temperatures at the 3 p.m. Eastern (or 2 p.m. Central) kickoff hovering around 18 or 19 degrees. The high for Chicago is a positively balmy 20 degrees, and though there are "AM snow showers" in the forecast, it seems unlikely that there will be snow during the NFC Championship Game, as precipitation chances in the afternoon plummet to a mere 10 percent.
So don't expect a "Snow Bowl" in only the second playoff meeting between the NFL's two oldest rivals, and don't be surprised if the hard, cold field does nothing to the Packers' precision passing attack. Soldier Field's reputation for being a terrible place to play a football game might be saved by a lack of moisture, as snowy or muddy grass would have been the worst-case scenario for both teams.
But, though Aaron Rodgers has proved capable of systematically erasing and eclipsing memories of Brett Favre for Packers fans, he hasn't played a playoff game in this type of cold weather yet. Will he thrive?
Soldier Field has earned a reputation among players from around the NFL for its supposed less-than-ideal playing surface. As the NFC Championship Game nears, though, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello claims that the field will not present any problems when the Bears and Packers kick off. He tweets:
Game Ops folks say Soldier Field is in good shape. Field is tarped w/ hot blowers under the tarp and heating coils under the field.
The temperature in Chicago is forecasted to dip into the single digits by early Saturday morning, and warm up to only 18 degrees by kickoff. Aiello went into detail regarding the system used at Soldier Field to prevent the ground from freezing:
The heating coils under Soldier Field are 70 yards wide, extending beyond the field border that is 53.33 yards (160 feet) wide.
Field re-sodded Dec 1 w/new turf installed between sidelines. So turf from sidelines out is firm, but not frozen + continues to be heated.
The rich history of the Bears-Packers rivalry and the iconically cold weather associated with the old days of the NFL seems to be at loggerheads with this field-heating technology, doesn't it? Nostalgia, of course, takes a back seat to player safety, and the method by which they're heating the turf is, as the kids say, neat-o.
At a cursory glance, it would seem as though the Bears would enter Sunday afternoon's NFC Championship Game as the favorite over the Packers. After all, the Bears held a better regular-season record, and they're playing at home in Soldier Field.
Such is not the case, however. About 24 hours before kickoff, Green Bay is the four-point favorite to win. Bodog.com lists the Packers' moneyline at -190, and the Bears' at +165. In case you're unfamiliar with how these numbers work: if you're betting on the Packers, you'd have to put down $190 to win $100. If you're wagering on the Bears, you can win $165 on a $100 bet.
The Bears and Packers last met on Jan. 2nd, the final week of the regular season. It was a decidedly low-scoring affair; the Packers won by a 10-3 score at Lambeau Field as the two defenses brought out the worst in each other's offenses. The Packers are also responsible for slaying NFC's top-seed, the Atlanta Falcons, and in dramatic fashion. Green Bay won 48-31 as quarterback Aaron Rodgers let loose for 366 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Mike Ditka, former Chicago Bears head coach, says the Green Bay Packers may be going down this weekend. Talking with the Chicago Tribune this week, Ditka said both the Bears and Packers, who will meet in the NFC Championship game on Sunday, are both great teams.
But if he had to pick, it's the Bears.
"Right now, I'm taking the Bears to win the game," he said of the NFC championship game to be played Sunday at Soldier Field. "I think the Bears are a lot better football team. I think they are doing things better in every area right now. The only thing they can't do is turn the football over. If they don't turn the football over, and protect the quarterback, they'll be fine."
I don't think I can agree that the Bears are "a lot better" right now. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are playing arguably their best football of the year and the Bears have been inconsistent at times throughout the year. Ditka mentions not turning the ball over which will be a difficult task against the Packers, who have one of the league's best defenses.
Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman isn't spending the week ahead of the NFC Championship Game talking down to the Green Bay Packers, instead choosing to heap praise on the Packers wide receivers. On Thursday, Tillman called the Green Bay receiving corps "the best in the NFL" as he talked about the difficulties of defensing the Packers' passing attack. After Aaron Rodgers and the Packers carved up the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, Tillman has plenty of reason to worry.
It's the ability of Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and the rest to pick up yardage after the catch in chunks that has the Bears stout defense worried about Sunday's game. Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs echoed Tillman's sentiment, comparing the Green Bay receivers running style to that of a bruising back.
"[I'm] real familiar with all these guys. Once they get the ball is probably when they are most dangerous. They don't like to go down. They're like running backs."
With Rodgers on fire in the playoffs and the Green Bay receivers making plays downfield, the Bears have their hands full containing the explosive passing attack on Sunday. Keep an eye on how the Bears rally to the ball on Sunday and try to prevent the Green Bay receivers from picking up those yards after the catch. A few missed tackles and the Chicago secondary could be in for a long day with Jennings and company running loose in the secondary.
Green Bay and Chicago kick it off in the NFC Championship on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. EST on Fox.
Aaron Rodgers gets all the headlines in Green Bay but the Packers also have one of the league's best, young defenses that has caused a lot of problems for quarterbacks. One of those quarterbacks is Jay Cutler who will see his Chicago Bears host the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game.
SB Nation's Windy City Gridiron details some of the problems Cutler has had against the Green Bay defense.
4 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 14 sacks, and QB rating of 57.5. If you ask Jay Cutler what defense he has struggled against the most thus far in his career, there's no doubt his answer would be Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers' 3-4. What makes Capers' defense so tough to move the ball on is for one, his defensive line not only occupies blockers, but they're also capable of rushing the passer to go along with Clay Matthews. Not only that, Capers has so much confidence in his corners in man coverage that he sends his best CBCharles Woodson on blitzes.
They have a great pass-rusher in Clay Matthews and two top-of-the-line cornerbacks so coordinating this defense has to be fun for Capers. There are so many weapons and ways they can stop you. The key will be for the Bears to establish some sort of running attack. If the Packers put Chicago into obvious passing situations, Matthews can make life hell for Cutler.
Every NFL conference title game is a big deal, but this year's NFC Championship has almost a century of history behind it. The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears have met 182 times, with Chicago holding a 92-83-6 series lead (and a win in the only postseason meeting, in a game played only one week after Pearl Harbor). They first played in 1921, a game the Bears won 20-0. 1921!
Geography has lent itself well to the cultivation of the rivalry, with watering holes* near the Illinois-Wisconsin border becoming a popular target for reporters looking for local color. And of course the mayors have made bets. Like Jets-Patriots, Cowboys-Steelers, or Falcons-Saints, Packers-Bears has been made more spirited by cultural differences, as the big-city Bears contrast with the fan-owned Packers.
Considering the rivalry has turned out a long list of great moments and showdowns between two of the game's greatest coaches, it's hard to believe this game is the biggest in its history, but the winning team might be able to milk their bragging rights for decades. That 1941 game was played in a 10-team league that was only about 20 years old, after all.
President Obama must like an underdog.
He's picking his own team -- the Chicago Bears. The Bears will host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship game but the point spread on the game says they're 3.5 point underdogs. Obama even gives a score in his prediction:
Spokesman Robert Gibbs said the president will watch the game with family and staff members in the White House theater. Although Obama has not placed any bets on the game, Gibbs said the president predicts a 20-17 win for the Bears.
Obama previously said he would attend the Super Bowl if the Bears won. He's known to be a sports fans cheering for his Chicago teams the Bulls, White Sox and, of course, Bears.
The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears will meet in the NFC Championship game on Sunday and RB Matt Forte won't be a big part of the Bears offense if Clay Matthews has anything to say about it. The Packers linebacker joined ESPN Radio this week to talk about the stopping Jay Cutler and Matt Forte.
"We've got to stop him before he gets going. ... If we can't stop the run, we're going to be in for a long day, but hopefully we can have the same amount of success that we've had against him and stop it and really get back there and really let Cutler get back there and try to beat him with his arm."
The Packers had the second overall defense in the NFL but they were 18th against the run while the Bears offense was 22nd in the league running the ball. Matt Forte had over 1,600 combined rushing and receiving yards. As he says, if they can shut down or even slow the game, they will make the Bears one-dimensional.
The Packers are favored this weekend even though they're on the road so Vegas obviously thinks they'll do their job.
The Chicago Bears can be excused for having a bit of Rodney Dangerfield's "no respect" mentality heading into this Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers. While their opponents are lauded for their championship pedigree, the Bears aren't far behind in both big game performance and NFC Championship Game record.
The Packers are 13-5 in NFL championships, Super Bowls, and NFC Championship Games, but the Bears aren't much worse, at 9-7. And Chicago's first NFL championship came in 1932, when the Bears defeated the Portsmouth Spartans 9-0 in what is referred to as the 1932 NFL Playoff Game and considered an unofficial NFL Championship Game. (The Bears have nine NFL titles.)
But since the AFL-NFL merger, the Bears, like the Packers, have been a bit less successful. In NFC Championship Games, the Bears have a 2-2 record, beating the Los Angeles Rams in the 1985 season and the New Orleans Saints in 2006 and losing to the San Francisco 49ers in 1984 and 1988.
One of the two teams in Chicago for the NFC Championship Game on Sunday will leave with a 3-2 record in NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl berth; the other will fall to 2-3 in such games, and have a long, cold offseason before it.
The Green Bay Packers are one of the NFL's most storied franchises — some will scoff at the "one of" there — so it is no surprise that their historical performance in championship games has been tremendous. But their performance in NFC Championship Games might give Packers fans some pause heading into this Sunday's showdown with the Chicago Bears.
Counting NFL Championships, Super Bowls, and NFC Championship Games, the Packers have one of the best "big game" records in the NFL. Green Bay defeated the Washington Redskins 21-6 for their first NFL championship decided by a single game in 1936, and the Packers are 13-5 all-time in those games.
Change the window to the post-merger NFL and look at NFC Championships alone, though, and the Packers are just 2-2 in such games, topping the Carolina Panthers in the 1996 season and the San Francisco 49ers in 1997 and losing to the Dallas Cowboys in 1995 and the New York Giants in 2007.
If you haven't already guessed, there's a common thread in those games: Brett Favre was the Packers' starting quarterback. When Aaron Rodgers starts in Sunday's NFC Championship Game, it will mark the first time the Packers have played for the right to go to the Super Bowl without either Favre or Bart Starr under center.
No pressure, Aaron.
The Chicago Bears are the second seed in the playoffs on the NFC side, hosting a home playoff game and division winners in the NFC North over the Green Bay Packers. All that and Chicago stil finds itself as a home underdog entering Sunday's NFC Championship game against Green Bay.
NFL odds currently have the Packers as a 3.5-4 point favorite over the Bears, which seems fair. The Bears have been a little more inconsistent this year and it's hard to tell whether the weather in Chicago will benefit the Bears or Packers.
The Packers know how to keep things close. Their biggest loss this year is by four points. Aaron Rodgers is playing very well coming off one of the better playoff performances in recent memory and the Packers have won four consecutive games, including over the Bears in Week 17. The Packers have a lot going for them right now so I understand why they're favored.
The good thing about the NFL is that the odds don't really matter. Already in the playoffs we've seen a couple of times who were nine point or more underdogs (Seahawks, Jets) come out with the victory.
The Chicago Bears will be hosting the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game at Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon. The Packers are slightly favored in this game so the Bears are the home underdog, which is a little rare this late in the playoffs.
Jon Bois of SB Nation went through a study looking at the various home field advantages in sports and shows Chicago has an above average home field advantage. SB Nation's Acme Packing Company writes that the teams know each other so well the home field advantage may not be as important.
I was wondering if the Packers or the Bears really had a home field advantage. Since the teams know each other well, and the Packers play at least once per season in Soldier Field anyway, I wouldn't think playing in Chicago is unfamiliar to them. It's worth noting that the Bears have won three of their last four meetings in Chicago, but the last three game have been very close.
The Bears were 5-3 at home this year (including a 20-17 victory over Green Bay) so there's no doubt they're beatable at home. The Packers were 3-5 on the road in the regular season but, perhaps more importantly, they're 2-0 on the road in the playoffs.
The Green Bay Packers will take one of the league's top ranked defenses into Chicago to face the Bears in the NFC Championship game on Sunday. QB Aaron Rodgers may get most of the headlines but the Packers defense is a major part of why they're playing late into January.
And perhaps the most important part of that defense is CB Charles Woodson. SB Nation's Acme Packing Companyhas a good look at Woodson's impact on the Packers defense.
In all likelihood Woodson will be playing on Devin Hester throughout much of the game. Woodson has recorded two interceptions this year, and is looking to limit Hester to less than 16 yards - similar to Week 17. Clay Matthews? Tramon Williams? AJ Hawk? Sure they all mean the difference between winning and losing, but defensive stands always start on the Woodson front.
Tramon Williams signed a contract extension this season and is generally regarded as one of the better young corners in the game. It's a nice contrast with Woodson, who is 34 years old but still playing at a high level.
Keep Woodson's presence in mind during the game this weekend and how the Bears handle going between him and Williams. Both are dangerous players but they'll have to test at least one of them.
Check out Acme Packing Company for more on the game.
The Chicago Bears are hosting the NFC Championship game this weekend but find themselves as 3.5 point underdogs against the Green Bay Packers according to the current NFL odds. I remember hearing folks early in the season say that the Bears were getting lucky and they weren't as good as their record said they were.
Maybe that's the case, or maybe it's not but the Bears find themselves one game away from the Super Bowl. Charles Tillman says the underdog role is nothing new for them.
"You know what man it is what it is. I think we've been underdogs all year. If you were to take a poll at the beginning of the season or a survey and said "How many people are going to make the NFC Championship and it would be the Chicago Bears hosting at Soldier Field?" I think it would be like 50-to-1 odds of us doing that, so I'll take us every day."
I agree that it seems the Bears have a lot of holes and they're not consistent but it's hard to argue with a team that's hosting a championship game. Coming into Soldier Field and facing one of the NFL's best defense will be no easy task for the Packers, even though they're favored to win the game.
The Green Bay Packers will travel to Chicago to take on the Bears in the NFC Championship game this weekend and one of the keys to the game will be the play of Jay Cutler. Bears fans of course want him to start off like he did last week with a deep touchdown pass early in the game.
But Packers fans obviously want to see him struggle. SB Nation's Acme Packing Company predicts the play of the Packers defense lately will create problems for Cutler.
Jay Cutler is prone to making mistakes and will not get away with some of the throws he did against Seattle. Green Bay's secondary is way too opportunistic and have risen to the occasion in each of the first two games. The Packers will pressure Cutler and not let him off the hook as much as the Seachickens did. However, the key to the Bears offense game plan will be Matt Forte. If Forte can do what Michael Turner couldn't it will allow Cutler some extra time keeping the GB pass rush at bay. The Packers DBs are VERY good, Tramon Williams is playing like a man possessed right now and if I was Cutler I wouldn't even try to test him.
Williams is playing like one of the league's best corners right now. That difficult task is made somewhat easier when you have a pass rusher like Clay Matthews getting after the quarterback. The Packers are built very well and they'll expect to pressure Cutler into some mistakes.
For Cutler's part, he can make some mistakes. He's averaging about an interception a game so Williams may have the opportunity for another big time interception return.
Check out Acme Packing Company for more on the Packers leading up to the game.
The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers will play in the NFC Championship game this weekend with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. The early line says the Packers are slightly favored but don't tell that to Bears tight end Kellen Davis who is already making Super Bowl plans.
"I'm just glad to be a part of the history it's going to be, because we're gonna win," David told WSCR-AM 670's Laurence Holmes on Monday night. "It's gonna be a huge game, the crowd's gonna be crazy and the build up is gonna be nuts and we're gonna go to the Super Bowl, so I'm ecstatic"
If you asked me, I'd say the Bears should be feeling a little more nervous right now. If Aaron Rodgers puts up a performance anything like the one last weekend, the Bears are going down. Luckily for Chicago, it's hard to see Rodgers having a game like that against this defense, which is among the league's best.
The Bears are the 'dogs in this game so they should be careful about being too confident heading into this game. The Packers have won four games in a row -- including a 10-3 contest over the Bears in Week 17.
Green Bay Packers WR Greg Jennings will put the team on his back, but he will not play at the Chicago Bears’ Soldier Field without pointing out the ancient stadium’s challenging playing surface. I’ve just referenced a hilarious web video, because we’re talking about Greg Jennings.
Jennings said the field could have a “huge role” in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, called the field “probably the worst” in the league, and said he noticed Seattle Seahawks players struggling to keep their footing.
The NFL’s oldest and smallest regular stadium, Soldier Field has tons of what you’d call “charm.” The grass surface, which was installed in 1988 after a 17-year experiment with AstroTurf (yes, Soldier Field is so old that 17 years counts as an experiment) is known to be especially slippery, and it’s not likely to be aided by Chicago’s January weather.
The Chicago Bears will host the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers next Sunday in a game that already has Green Bay as slight favorites. These two teams met twice during the regular season and split both games. The Bears beat the Packers early in the year, 20-17, and the Packers returned the favor in Week 17, 10-3.
SB Nation's Acme Packing Company takes a look at three factors the Bears weren't used to the last time these teams met. First, James Starks, the unknown running back, is now a factor. He has 189 yards in the last two weeks. Second, Tramon Williams is playing his best ball at cornerback right now. Third, James Jones isn't dropping anymore passes.
The Packers are on a roll right now winning four straight and, when they are hot, they're among the league's best teams. So if the Packers go in and play like they have the last few weeks, then the Bears will have some trouble.
At the same time, the Bears are here for a reason. They've proven they can beat the Packers and did them one game better during the regular season winning 11 games to the Packers' 10.
Because these teams are so evenly matched, and they played a three point and seven point game in the regular season, I imagine this will be another close, one-score game.
Apparently, an impressive performance against the NFL's only sub-.500 playoff team wasn't enough to get the Bears favored against the Packers in next week's NFC Championship Game.
ESPN Chicago notes that odds for the NFC Championship Game were actually released during the Bears' 35-24 win over the Seahawks by Jay Kornegay of the Las Vegas Hilton, and that those odds have the Packers as three-point favorites or better.
Kornegay set the line at Packers -3 shortly after the Bears went into halftime up 21-0. Chicago wound up winning 35-24 in a game that lacked the requisite playoff drama.
The Hilton isn't alone in installing the Packers as the favorites to prevail over their NFC North rivals and reach this year's Super Bowl. We can see that 5Dimes.com has also made the Packers three-point favorites.
The Packers have been favored in both previous meetings against the Bears this season. They were favored by three at Soldier Field in September, and favored by 11 in the last week of the regular season at Lambeau Field. In both cases, the Packers failed to cover.
And that means the Bears, who defeated the Seahawks 35-24 to secure a home game at Soldier Field, and Packers, who topped the Eagles 21-16 and downed the Falcons 48-21 to reach the game, will be meeting in a playoff game for the first time in 70 years with a Super Bowl berth on the line.
The NFC Championship Game will be the "early" game next week, because the AFC and NFC Championship Games rotate start times every year. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. Eastern and the game will be televised by FOX.
As far as what fans should expect, well, points are a good bet. The Packers are averaging 34.5 points per game in two playoff games, and the Bears just put up 35 on the Seahawks. And between Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler, the two teams have quarterbacks that have thrown for nine touchdowns (and accounted for 11) while throwing no interceptions in this year's NFL playoffs.
That's not to say there won't be some defense, though. Julius Peppers leads a fierce Bears pass rush, while Green Bay boasts defensive talent at all levels, from B.J. Raji to Clay Matthews to Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams.
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