The epic NFC Championship game that will shake the Chicago lakefront is almost here. The Bears are 3.5-point underdogs at home against the Packers. Not a lot of folks expect them to hoist the trophy named after the team’s historic owner in front of their hometown fans.
As evidence, we offer these prognosticators who all like the Packers:
- Michael Lombardi, NFL Network insider
- Daryl Johnston, FOX analyst
- Pat Kirwan, NFL.com
- Kurt Warner, Dancing with the Stars participant
- Jason LaCanfora, NFL Network insider
- Rod Woodson, Hall of Famer
- Trent Green, Mike Martz disciple
The President of the United States did however pick his hometown Bears by a field goal (20-17), so I guess that vetoes all other predictions.
With the majority of the free world picking against them, Brian Urlacher, Jay Cutler, Lance Briggs, Peanut Tillman, Chris Harris and mates will snicker and snarl under their breaths about all the suits and talking heads who think they’ll fall victim to wonderboy, Aaron Rodgers and his mates. When they’re in front of the cameras, they’ll smile and say they don’t pay attention to that stuff and it’s just a bunch of crap for the fans to get excited about. These guys will of course, be lying.
While people in Chicago will want to believe that alone will provide the motivation necessary for the Bears to ‘upset’ the Packers, it won’t mean diddly squat come 2:00 Sunday afternoon.
By the time Jim Cornelison is done belting out the last notes of our national anthem, the victor will be determined by execution on the field…and nothing else.
We’ve broken down the Bears offense vs. the Packers defense, and vice versa. Devin Hester, Robbie Gould and the best special teams coach in the NFL, Dave Toub, give Chicago the edge there. But if the Bears plan on punching their ticket to the Super Bowl in Dallas, they MUST do these three things really well:
- Run the ball. Matt Forte averaged 5.5 yards per carry in their last meeting. If he gets 25 carries, the Bears will be in good shape.
- Pressure Aaron Rodgers. In two games, the Bears have made Rodgers look average without recording a lot of sacks. They’ll need to dirty the jersey of the fellow wearing the white #12 and prevent him from finding a rhythm.
- Avoid stupid mistakes. Simply put, Jay Cutler can’t have more than 1 turnover if the Bears expect to win.
NFC Championship Prediction:
We predicted a Bears-Packers NFC Championship before the playoffs started. We’ll stick with the team and score we projected earlier this month:
Bears 19, Packers 14
A Super Bowl matchup with the Jets or Steelers will await. But perhaps more importantly, the Chicago Bears and their die-hard fans will hold bragging rights over their neighbors to the North for the rest of their lives.