NFC Championship Game
Packers at Bears
Up there with the Patriots-Jets and Ravens-Steelers, the packers and Bears know each other. There will be no shenanigins, no new trick plays. These teams know each others playbooks and today, they are just going to go out and try to beat the other guy. That said, this isn't the smashmouth football of old, between these 2 teams. No, Green Bay is all about aaron Rodgers and throwing the ball. While the Bears can also pass the ball, they have the worst offensive line in the pros. Which means if Cutler and the Bears fall behind early and have to throw the ball, Cutler should take out a life insurance policy on himself.
Also, add to the problems for the Bears is that Green Bay is great at defending the pass. The Bears, having trouble passing the ball and protecting Cutler will try to run the ball via draw plays and screens. It won't work. The pick: the number 6 NFC seed Packers beat the Bears at Soldier Field:
AFC Championship Game
Jets at Steelers
The Steelers and Jets are more alike than some pundits think. Yes, they are both 3-4 defense teams with loudmouth players. Both stop the run with Superman-like efficiency. And both teams live off of big plays. Ben Roethlisberger is 9-2 in playoff games and Mark Sanchez is 4-1. Both guys aren'r pretty all the time, but in the post-season they get it done.
The Steelers Achilles Heel is their terrible offensive line. Given that the Jets' excellence at stopping the run, the Steelers best offensive option will to rest their offense on Big Ben's right shoulder. Which has worked so far. Big Benny averages a shiny 6.90 YPA and rocked a 101.2 QB rating against the tough Ravens last week, even when his running backs averaged 2.3 ypc and only got 71 positive yards on the ground. Then do the Jets flood the zone as they did last week against Tom Brady. Or do they bring the house against Big Ben and knock him down.
Yes, the Jets beat Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. But now, as CHFF says, the Jets now face a team that has a better defense than any other in the AFC playoffs. The Jets have a noble run; but it ends late Sunday night in the cold.
Enjoy the games.