Steffen: If you’re like me, this past week of hype has been cringe-inducing.
On one hand, it’s pretty sweet to have just about everyone on TV or the radio gushing about Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Of course, there are some detractors (Colin Cowherd spent most of Friday morning declaring Rodgers no better than Tony Romo), but by and large, people in the know are predicting a Packers victory this Sunday.
On the other hand, Chicago is already playing the “we get no respect” card. That can only serve to motivate an emotional team like the Bears.
I’m on the fence. I expect nothing less than another low-scoring, close game. I don’t expect a repeat performance of the Atlanta game from Green Bay’s offense. Chicago’s defense is smarter and faster than Atlanta’s and the notoriously crappy turf of Soldier Field will have an effect on the Packers’ receivers to cut and break open.
Overshadowed by Rodgers’ boffo performance last week, was the disturbingly shitty play of the Packers offensive line. Falcons defenders had several clean shots at Rodgers. He made them miss on a few occasions, but Julius Peppers and company aren’t going to whiff. If the Packers o-line plays like that again, the Bears will run away with the game.
The Packers will need a week 17 repeat performance from punter Tim Masthay and the punt coverage unit. Devin Hester was a complete non-factor in that contest. Of course, the offense could just not punt at all again. That would work too.
This game will be a huge test for James Starks. The Packers will be relying on him and the Bears will be keying on him. If the Bears nullify him early on, the Packers are in big trouble. Honestly, this is where we’ll find out if Starks is the real deal or not.
Dom Capers. I have to believe the 3-4 defensive mastermind has something up his sleeve. Jay Cutler is the type of quarterback you have to rattle and attack. If the Packers sit back and go vanilla for this matchup, again… trouble. For the most part, Capers rolls out some crazy looks in big games, but he went vanilla in the Minnesota games last season and the Packers got waxed. I don’t trust him yet.
I’m also worried about this Terry McAulay referee. He’s the same ref that nailed the Packers (third-fewest penalties in the league) for 18 penalties in week three, basically gift wrapping a victory for Chicago.
With McAulay back, here’s something to watch out for.
This week, the Bears discussed how “physical” their receivers are going to be in the game. Translation: the Bears receivers are going to run bullshit patterns to initiate contact downfield to draw cheap penalties. Watch for picks and blatant push-offs on deep throws.
The Packers defenders will have to be on their toes. Cheap penalties like this will extend drives for the Bears and they very well could be the difference maker.
To the naked eye and on paper, the Packers are far more talented and should win this game.
However, I’m worried the Bears will be motivated and will keep it close. Penalties will put them over the top for a controversial victory. What else could you expect from a team that’s stumbled into multiple cheap victories this season?
Bears 20, Packers 17
Shawn: I originally wrote about five paragraphs of analysis, but screw all of that. Anything can happen in this fricking game.
I believe this is the toughest game left for the Packers. If the Packers can win this game, then I’ll take them and seven points in a controlled environment in Dallas against any team in the league.
This is a different animal on Sunday. Amazingly, the team that plays in the coldest climate in the NFL isn’t built for the cold.
This game can go a lot of different ways, but I think a defensive ball game is the surest bet. Like most of the nation, I have to like the Packers. They have the momentum and the playmakers. They just need to play well on special teams, or play so well on offense again that special teams doesn’t matter.
The last team to win three straight road games on their way to the Super Bowl was the 2007 New York Giants and the connection between the Packers and Giants doesn’t end there.
The Packers are the first team to make two conference championships in four years with two different quarterbacks since the 1994 49ers. Those 49ers with Joe Montana at the helm, three years earlier, lost the 1990 NFC Championship game against… the Giants. The 1994 49ers, with Steve Young under center, beat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship game and went on to win the Super Bowl.
Sunday’s game will be mostly a defensive contest. Charles Woodson picks off Cutler late and scores a TD to push the final score to a two-TD game.
Packers 28, Bears 13
Monty: Chicago Bears fans are bunch of loud-mouthed cunts.
The Green Bay Packers are going to win on Sunday because of that alone.
Karma’s a bitch, motherfuckers.
Get ready for a healthy dose of it from me Sunday afternoon.
Packers 28, Bears 17