Championship Rivalry: A look at Green Bay Vs Chicago for the NFC Title
Hello, WORLD!! Smokkee Singleton here. Maybe I should add a disclaimer before this article. CHICAGOAN Smokkee Singleton here. I feel if I am to take an in depth look at this monumental game, I might need to announce that first.
Well, surprise surprise. After a crazy season for both the PACKERS & the BEARS, we’re looking at a dream match up. It’s a dream match up if you feel like there is no better way to get to a Super Bowl than to stomp your rival while doing it. The oldest rivalry in football is now on center stage. Think I’m lying? OK, how about this; why don’t YOU tell me what’s a more interesting game or which game will be more competitive: STEELERS/JETS or PACKERS/BEARS? If anybody says the former matchup & you’re not from NY or Pittsburgh, I can honestly call you a liar. Liar! I will be watching that game too, just to see if the JETS can pull off another Titanic sized upset of a recent Super Bowl champ. I honestly think that their magic has ran out but hey, any given Sunday, right? With their confidence at a high level after beating the team that many thought would win it all this year, it would be just plain dumb to count these JETS out yet. But still, this is not a match up that gets mouths a-watering, is it? Not like that NFC title game, which just might make a few people throw a Super Bowl party early.
In many ways, for most NFL purists, this is the Super Bowl before THE Super Bowl. As it should be. As I’ve mentioned, BEARS/PACKERS is the biggest rivalry ever in the NFL and not to mention the fact that these 2 teams haven’t played in a Championship game since 1941. They have a combined 20+ Championships between them (even if most of them occur before the Super Bowl was even invented) & they have played each other more than 180 times over the course of their existence.
Before I give a thought on this upcoming matchup, I thought we should look back at the Weeks 3 & 17 games between the rivals. In week 3, the BEARS emerged as the only unbeaten team in their division. The PACKERS managed to put up a team record of 18 penalties in this game & they lost 20-17 in a mainly defensive showdown between the 2 rivals. Week 17 brought about a different outcome, with the BEARS failing to even score a touchdown in a 3-10 loss to the PACKERS. It should be noted that the BEARS had nothing to play for at this point, having already earned themselves a bye week in the Playoff’s first round, and the PACKERS had everything to play for. If the PACKERS hadn’t won, and the New York GIANTS had won, the GIANTS would have made it. Had both the GIANTS & the PACKERS lost, then the Tampa Bay BUCS would have secured their playoff berth.
In all fairness, I don’t even think any of that matters. It’s a new game and the stakes are much higher than during the regular season. Knowing how we got to this point doesn’t hurt though. But now, what’s next? Well here are my keys for what appears to be a great showdown:
The Chicago BEARS will win if:
Devin Hester (or who ever is the punt returner) gets some great return yardage.
Jay Cutler’s protection is good enough to rival the President’s Secret Service Staff.
The BEARS defense doesn’t allow Aaron Rodgers enough time to take a breath, much less complete a pass.
Matt Forte & Chester Taylor must get 150+ rushing yards to preserve Cutler’s arm.
The PACKERS will win if:
Aaron Rodgers can make himself at home in the pocket.
Green Bay’s running game is twice as effective as it has been in the regular season.
Green Bay does not engage in a shoot out with the BEARS. True, the PACKERS can put up numbers, but they can’t win a game like that if the BEARS are doing the same. They must limit the effectiveness of the BEARS offense AND put up numbers at the same time. Not as difficult as it sounds but still…
They score early & often in the first half to take some of the “Hoorah!” out of Soldier Field’s crowd.
Taken all the factors into consideration, the only guarantee I can give is that this will be great game. Now for my prediction. I doubt the BEARS will play as lethargic as they did that last week of the season. I also doubt that Cutler will gum up this game like he did during week 17. The BEARS are poised to pounce on whoever they had to play this week & what better way to get ready for the Super Bowl than to beat up on a rival. Of course, that would be right up Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood too, but Soldiers Field is not his neighborhood and the crowd will play a huge factor. I got the BEARS 27-23 over the PACKERS. We’ll see if I’m right this Sunday at 3pM.