Packers: OMG! It’s War!

Senior writer jclombardi previews “Iconic” Packers vs “Windy Carp” Bears.

Bears win sets up epic NFC title clash with Packers–Hallowed franchises have historic, fire-breathing rivalry: Bring on the Monsters of the Midway, in all their rip-snorting, scratching-and-clawing glory. Bring on Urlacher and Cutler, Hester and Forte. Bring on the ghosts of Nagurski and Halas and Sweetness. Bring on Soldier Field, with its chewed-up turf and its cheek-turning January winds. Bring on all of Chicago, for that matter, and its hordes of sneering Bears fans. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are ready. They showed their mettle with road playoff victories over Philadelphia and Atlanta, the latter featuring an astonishing offensive display that resulted in a 48-21 victory over the NFC’s top-seeded team on Saturday night. The Bears held up their end of the bargain Sunday, battering and Butkus-ing the Seattle Seahawks, 35-24, at snowy Soldier Field to set up an NFC Championship Game the likes of which has never been seen. The Packers (12-6) and Bears (12-5), bitter archrivals who date to pro football’s primordial mist, will slug it out at 2 p.m. Sunday at Soldier Field for the right to advance to Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas. The two teams have been smashing each other in the mouth for 90 years but have never squared off in a game of this magnitude. They have met 181 times but never in a playoff game in the Super Bowl era. In fact, they have met in the postseason just once: on Dec. 14, 1941, just seven days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when George Halas’ Bears claimed a 33-14 victory over Curly Lambeau’s Packers in a Western Division playoff game necessitated after both teams finished 10-1.

Showdown that’d make Lambeau and Halas proud: If only Curly Lambeau and George Halas could be there to see it. When the Green Bay Packers meet the Chicago Bears in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field, it will mark only the second time in the storied rivalry the teams have played each other in the postseason. Yes, with a trip to Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas, on the line, the 182nd meeting between the Packers and the Bears will be a special one. “It’s going to be a shootout,” Bears wide receiver Devin Hester said. The second-seeded Bears, who won the NFC North title this season, advanced to the title game with a 35-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. The sixth-seeded Packers, who needed a victory over the Bears on the final day of the regular season to secure a wild-card berth, advanced with a 48-21 victory over the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons on Saturday night at the Georgia Dome. “We just look at it as another obstacle,” cornerback Charles Woodson said before the Packers knew whether they’d be playing at Chicago or Seattle. “The object is to win. Whoever it is, we look to play our game and come out on top.” The Bears lead the all-time series 92-83-6, while the Packers hold a 12-9 edge in NFL titles.

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