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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: Jun 13, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2011 3:34 pm

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

In the spirit of the Jim Rome radio show, the Bears win this game.  Final score: Bears 27, Packers 27.

Since: Oct 5, 2008
Posted on: January 21, 2011 2:04 pm

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

While I can appreciate the "homer" comments, some of this just nonsense.  Aaron Rodgers is a coward?  For what?  And what's with the Chicago media setting the perfect stage for their team.  "No one gives us a chance to win."  So if the Bears lose, no big deal.  "We never stood a chance anyway."  If they win..."what a glorious victory, against overwhelming odds."  Blah, blah, blah.  Although this should be no suprise coming from "Liberal town". 

Since: Jan 21, 2011
Posted on: January 21, 2011 11:39 am

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

seems a majority of bear fans are excited after facing a playoff team with a losing record after a miracle when against the saints.  The pleasure will be watching Raji have his way with old man olin allowing massive pressure from the corners

Since: Mar 17, 2009
Posted on: January 21, 2011 10:51 am

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

I think the chances of the Bears winning rest squarely on the shoulders on Jay Cutler.

I mean, although I hate the coward, Aaron Rodgers is an elite quarterback playing at an elite level right now. I have to give him his due. However, the Bears have the right game plan, defensively, to beat the Packers if they execute properly. We have seen it already this year. The Packers have only averaged 13.5 points against the Bears this year. The Bears are going to take away the big play and make Rodgers check down to his slot receivers, tight ends and backs. They are going to bank on the speed of their linebackers and the physicality of their defensive backs to force a few turnovers. They also need Peppers and the defensive line to keep steady pressure on Rodgers without blitzing. This is the Bears style on defense and they have almost perfected it. I think the biggest key for the Packers offense is Starks because the Bears are banking on the Packers offense to be one dimensional. Bears do well against pass-happy teams. The teams that give them trouble are those that can pound it on the ground. Bears need to completely take away the run.

Devin Hester, whether they kick to him or not, will give the Bears a huge field position advantage that they will need going against a team that is explosive on both sides of the ball. In fact, thet Bears have the best special teams in football, by far, and they have to show up and be on their game for the Bears to win.

However, even if the Bears' special teams and defense show up to play, which they probably will, their chances on winning rest solely with Cutler. Cutler needs to protect the ball, take what the defense gives him, use his legs like he did last week and realize that two first downs and a punt is better than a pick. However, sooner or later, the Bears will need Cutler to make a few big plays with his arm. He has to pick and choose his spots and he cannot turn it over. That will be a tough task against this defense and that will also be the difference in the game. Cutler definitely has the tools and the confidence to do it but he has to be smart and pick his spots well. Hopefully, Mike Martz earns his money and dials up the right plays at the right time. Its a fine line because they have to remain conservative while still looking for that big play opening.

Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: January 21, 2011 10:25 am

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

As much as I hate to agree with a Cubs fan, this is exactly the match up Bears fans were hoping for. I'd much rather see the Bears defense focused on single dimentional Aaron Rodgers that have to face a Matt Ryan / Michael Turner combination or even a Drew Brees / Reggie Bush combination. Green Bay has twice proven that they cannot run on the Bears. Stop Rodgers and you stop the Packers. Single focus. That is a REAL advantage for the Bears on defense. Unfortunately, Green Bay also has a terrific defense, so, the biggest challenge I see for the Bears will be to get their own offense going with Forte's fusshing taking pressure blitzing away from Cutler. BEARS 20 - PACKERS 16

Since: Dec 17, 2010
Posted on: January 21, 2011 10:24 am

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

I just love how its still a write-off on the bears!!!  DA BEARS love it...and so much focus is on the field all of a sudden its been like that since early december and nobody has said a word... now its the focal point....why? i guess theyre worried about how rodgers will fare...the New queen of the NFL in all the so called "experts" eyes...yeah he's defintely good, but lets get back down to earth people!!!! GO BEARS!!!! 

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: January 21, 2011 9:29 am

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

So the Packers sole advantage of winning relies on one person.  Frozen turf at Soldier field will cause a lot ofpain for Rodgers as his shoulder hits it.  A couple of knock downs and the Packers will go home crying. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or