NFC Championship - NFL Tradition
Aaron Rodgers against the vaunted Bear's defense? Not so fast!
There is plenty of tradition on the line heading into Sunday's NFC Championship game. The Packers and Bears have been rivals since 1921, and have faced off 181 times. However, there are a few details that make this game quite different.
The Green Bay Packers are -3 point favorites on the road against the NFC North Champion Chicago Bears, with a game total of 43 points.
The Bears are historically known for great defenses, and Chicago currently owns the second best run defense in the NFL, allowing 90.1 yards per game, while giving up only 17.9 points per game, ranking fifth in the league.
The Green Bay Packers, however, have championed defense as their rallying cry this season, in addition to Aaron Rodgers' prowess. The Packers' defense ranks fifth in the league in both passing yards and overall yards. Green Bay also ranks second the the NFL, allowing only 15 points per game.
Call for the latest NFL odds, 1-877-512-7606. Open your account and receive a 100% deposit bonus as well as same-day payouts!
The two teams split wins and losses during their two meetings during the regular season. Can Chicago's offense make enough of an impact to end the Packers' season? The Bears rank 22nd in rushing offense (101 yards), 28th in passing yards (188.4), 30th in overall yards (289.4), and 21st in the NFL in points scored, averaging 20.9 points per game.
The Bears dominated Seattle in their first playoff game, gaining 176 total rushing yards, while Jay Cutler tossed two TDs and no interceptions, on way to a passer rating of 111.3. Chicago also dominated the time of possession battle, holding the ball for 37:10 minutes compared to Seattle's 22:50.
While an impressive performance, no doubt, it must be remembered that the Seahawks advanced to the playoffs via the NFC West and an overall losing record. Seattle's defense ranked 21st against the run, 27th against the pass, and 25th in points allowed to opponents. In addition, Jay Cutler's performance while not spectacular was sufficient for the victory. However, Cutler was inconsistent and prone to frustration during the regular season, throwing 16 interceptions against 23 TDs and earning a passer rating of 86.3 while being sacked 52 times. Cutler is 1-4 against the Packers, throwing nine interceptions and only five touchdowns.
Green Bay has defeated both Philadelphia and Atlanta in the post-season, and Aaron Rodgers is playing as well, if not better than he ever has. In the post-season alone Rodgers owns a passer rating of 134.5, having thrown six TDs and zero interceptions. The Bears' pass defense allows 224.2 yards per game, ranking 20th in the NFL. Charles Tillman and Chris Harris combined for 10 interceptions in the secondary, however as a team, Chicago only managed to sack the opposing quarterback 34 times.
NFC Playoff Preview - Seattle vs Chicago
The Seattle Seahawks (7-9), NFC West champions, fly into Soldier Field to face the NFC North champion Chicago Bears (11-5).
The Chicago Bears are -10 point home favorites against the Seattle Seahawks, with a game Total of 43 points. Place your bet, and receive a 100% deposit bonus as well as same day payouts!
There is no need to rehash the story again. We get it. We understand. The Seahawks were the least terrible team in the NFC West and earned a playoff birth more on technicality than any perceived merit.
So what happened in the first round of the playoffs against the prohibitive favorites and defending Super Bowl champions New Orleans Saints? The 31 st ranked rushing offense in the league scored a game clinching rushing TD on the legs of Marshawn Lynch to advance, while sending the Saints back to the bayou.
The Seahawks will need another surprise performance against the Bears. Chicago's defense stepped up late in the season, propelling the team and its inconsistent offense into the NFC North championship title and a first round playoff bye. The Bears rank 2nd in the NFL against the run, allowing only 90 yards per game, and limit opponents to a meager 17.9 points per game, ranking 5th in the league.
Matt Hasselbeck and Marshawn Lynch will face off against the likes of Urlacher, Briggs, Tillman, Peppers, and Idonije. Twenty three forced fumbles and twenty one interceptions are the calling cards of the Bear's defense.
Special teams play may provide for some excitement. Chicago's Devin Hester has returned three punts for TDs in 2010 regular season play. Not to be outdone, Seattle's Leon Washington returned three kick-offs for TDs.
The Seahawks are expecting to have MLB Lofa Tatupu back from injury and available for Sunday's NFC playoff game. Chicago's offense has been erratic all season, ranking 22nd in rushing, 28th in passing, and 21st in points scored with 20.9 per game. If Seattle can limit their own turnovers and provide a few defensive highlights as well, we may have a game on our hands.
NFC - Can Green Bay send the Falcons Packing
Plagued by injury throughout the entire season, the Green Bay Packers made no excuses. They executed. Coming off a first round victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Packers (10-6) head into the Georgia Dome to face the NFC South champion Atlanta Falcons (13-3).
Online sportsbooks list the Atlanta Falcons as -1 point home favorites against the Green Bay Packers, with a game Total of 44 points.
The Falcons are 7-1 at home and defeated Green Bay earlier in the season. QB Matt Ryan leads Atlanta into battle with a passer rating of 91, gained by throwing 28 TDs, 9 INTs and completing 62.5 percent of his attempts for 3,705 yards. Pro Bowl running back Michael Turner will test the Packer's defense, who held Michael Vick and the Eagles to a paltry 81 rushing yards in the first round playoff game. Turner finished the regular season ranked third in the NFL in rushing with 1,371 yards and 12 TDs.
The Falcons average 25.9 points per game, 5th in the NFL. Atlanta's defense also ranks 5th in the league, allowing only 18 points per game.
Aaron Rodgers has takes a passer rating of 101.2 into Saturday's NFL playoff game, having completed 65.7 percent of attempts, for over 3,900 yards, 28 TDs and 11 INTs. Rodgers is supported by teammates who thrive under pressure, including Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn in the backfield, and Jennings, Jones, Driver and Nelson in the receiving core. The Packers own the 5th best passing offense in the league and rank 10th in points scored, at 24.2 per game.
Can the Green Bay defense contain Michael Turner, Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez? Will the Falcons have an answer for the surging Packers?