Blog Entry

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

Posted on: January 20, 2011 1:21 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 1:36 pm
Posted by Andy Benoit's patented and award-winning 7-point preview gets you ready for each and every playoff game. As a bonus, enjoy our playoff podcast preview:

1. Green Bay Packers (No. 6, NFC, 12-6) @ Chicago Bears (No. 2, AFC, 12-5)

The oldest rivalry in football takes center stage in the playoffs for only the second time ever. Their last postseason meeting occurred in 1941, a week after Pearl Harbor. We’ll assume that the Bears’ momentum from that 33-14 victory has worn off.

Vegas agrees, as these Bears are actually three-and-a-half-point underdogs at home. These teams played twice in the regular season. Chicago claimed victory in Week 3 (that was the Monday night game where Mike McCarthy should have saved clock by letting the Bears score a touchdown in the final minute but instead banked on the idea that Robbie Gould would miss a 19-yard field goal – which, of course, he did not.) In the Week 17 rematch, the Bears technically had nothing to play for, but they still went all-out in an effort to stay sharp and eliminate a white-hot Packers team from playoff contention. They held Aaron Rodgers and company to just 10 points, but as it turned out, they needed to hold them to two.

2. PLAYOFFS?! Watchability Ranking

If a conference championship game -- featuring two division rivals squaring off in the playoffs for the second time EVER -- doesn't garner five Mora Faces, what does?

3. Key Matchup to Watch: Bears secondary vs. Packers receivers

Rodgers is playing so well right now that even getting pressure on him might not pay off. After all, the Falcons got plenty of clean rushers to him last Saturday. The Bears’ best chance at slowing Green Bay’s passing attack is to out-physical Rodgers’ targets. Charles Tillman especially will have to be aggressive. He’s far and away Chicago’s best cover corner but, like most players, he lacks the quickness to shadow Greg Jennings.

Style wise, No. 2 corner Tim Jennings has a skill set that is conducive for handling Donald Driver. But all things equal, Tim Jennings on Driver is a mismatch favoring Green Bay. So it will be up to Jennings and his assisting safeties to make things unequal. The way to do that is to disrupt route timing; Driver shows hints of frustration when defensive backs get their hands on him.

Expect the Packer to use frequent three-and four-receiver formations. Chicago’s top backup defensive backs, Corey Graham, has stiff hips and struggles with receivers who change direction; Jordy Nelson or James Jones could both pose problems for him. What’s more, Chicago’s safeties are hard-hitting but only average in help coverage.

4. Potentially Relevant Video

Why not?

5. The Bears will win if ...

They protect the ball offensively (obviously) and, defensively, if they can get pressure on Aaron Rodger with only four rushers (very doable given the way Julius Peppers, Matt Toeaina, Israel Idonije, Tommie Harris and even backup Henry Melton have been playing lately). Also, Chicago must force the Packers to rely most frequently on their running backs and tight ends. That would allow the Bears athletic linebacking trio to be the focal point defensively.

6. The Packers will win if ...

Rodgers stays hot, Dom Capers’ complex defense befuddles the Bears’ pass blockers (a group that has had trouble identifying blitzes at times) and both teams break even on special teams.

7. Prediction: Packers 24, Bears 17

Since: Aug 12, 2008
Posted on: January 22, 2011 2:44 am

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

People are forgetting one very important fact..The Bears have been here before in 06 with a lot of their leaders and coaches.  The packers havent.

Veteran leadership is overlooked a lot. Bears will come out on top because of HFA, and Veteran leadership!

Since: Jan 10, 2010
Posted on: January 21, 2011 11:39 pm

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

The whole "sloppy field advantage" goes to the Bears is a crock. Forte is a hard cut runner - hard to do in muddy conditions against GB's front. The Packers have a decent enough run package for slop conditions with straight ahead Kuhn and fullback leads w/ an occasional try by Starks. I'll take Rodgers and a quick throw to a standing reciever way over Forte or Hester running it back with no footing. Same as the Bear rush - that gives Rodgers more time to throw if the rush can't get generated in the middle of the field against GB's O line. As for Cutler in the same conditions - if GB covers hard on Knox and Forte cannot run it and Cutler has to go to air - the chances of a pick or delay in the pocket sack goes up considerably. OR - I like to look at it this way - if both teams are half as succesful as last week due to field - familiarity - home field advantage - GB still goes to Dallas. I suspect Chicago will probably curse the field as they also thank it for being a scapegoat.

Since: Apr 2, 2008
Posted on: January 21, 2011 9:08 pm

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

shoulda coulda woulda....everything is 20/20 in hindsight.  You are an idiot fan.

Since: Mar 12, 2008
Posted on: January 21, 2011 8:48 pm

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

I hope the Bears win too, but FYI Soldier Field will not have frozen turf.  The field is heated to make sure it doesn't freeze.

Since: Jan 29, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2011 7:39 pm

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

 The Packers have scored a total of 27 point in their previous two meetings, it's beyond me how anyone has them scoring more than that in one game at Soldier field in the dead of winter. I think it will be a low scoring game, with the Bears coming out on top of course. 

Since: Jan 4, 2011
Posted on: January 21, 2011 7:11 pm

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

A couple of things overlooked in the analysis of this game. One, the Bears have a running game. The Packers may not be able to run at all.
Two, based on actual field conditions, Soldier field probably is not so very different from Green Bay.

Also, I agree that the Bears would rather be playing Green Bay. If they weren't hosting Green Bay, they'd be going to Atlanta. The Bears would rather be home. If this year's scenario replays next year, the Bears would still rather be home. Now way is a 14-2 dome team going get blown out at home by a cold weather NFC team every time around.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2011 6:02 pm

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

Can't agree with you more. I do like that final score. GO PACKERS!!

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2011 6:00 pm

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

Get ready Dallas, the Green Bay Packers are coming!!

Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2011 5:29 pm

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

If memory serves, Cutler was the one being knocked down/sacked in the most recent game... are his shoulders made of titanium?

The Packers damn near beat the Bears -- and still probably would have,  if Jones hadn't coughed it up late -- despite being called for 18 penalties in the first game at Soldier Field. Let's hope the refs are a bit more fair in this game...

(there's holding on every play; Peppers isn't the only guy who gets held. Watch Matthews...)

The Bears need to own specfial teams (like another punt return TD, like the first game...) and the turnover battle to owin this game. they might win one, but not both.

Packers 27, Bears 16

Since: Jun 4, 2008
Posted on: January 21, 2011 4:03 pm

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

This is a terrible prediction of the final score.  Zero Chance the Packers finish with 16 points.  No way does Mason Crosby make 3 field goals in the cold outdoors of Soldier field. 

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