Showdown in Chicago

And then there was hype. It's widely known that this is the biggest and oldest rivalry in the NLF, and this year is no exception. There has always been a long and bitter history between the Green Bay Packer and the Chicago Bears, originating in 1921 at their first meeting, and it's increased every year since then. Most notably the safety victory that the Bears had in 1971 (2,0), to the blowout victory for the Bears in 1980 (61,7) to the controversial Instant Replay Game which the Bears lost (14,13) in 1989. Considering that this match-up is the first time that the teams have played each other in the post season since December 14th 1941 adds to the excitement and drama that we call the NFL.

Forget the hype, here is how the game breaks down.

Aaron Rodgers is hot right now, extremely hot. He is performing at his best during the time his team needs him to. He doesn't make many mistakes and the game is in his hands to win. The problem is that Chicago's defense is ominous and relentless. They play tough, and when they have a bead on the quarterback they make them pay. So the scrambling that Rogers does against a lot of defenses won't be effective against Chicago. The second problem for Rodgers is the playing conditions of Soldier Field are unlike most places in the league. At this point in the year it's a mess after getting abused all year and will slow any receiver that plays on it. So if Chicago rushes on 3rd and 4th down as they usually do then Rodgers will have to get the ball off quickly and may result in many incomplete passes and possibly interceptions.

On the Bears side of the ball they need to continue moving the chains and establish the run game. The Packer's defense has been no slouch this year, only allowing 14.25 points per game, and 92 rushing yards per game. Cutler should have some time to throw the ball effectively though so you can expect a lot of check-down passes and the occasional long ball. The biggest issue with the Bears is the inconsistency of Jay Cutler, and it will inevitably come down to which Jay Cutler shows up on Sunday. The Cutler who is composed and effective, or the Cutler that looks confused and sloppy.

This game has many implications in the Norse Division, and the winner will have their sights set on the Superbowl. But this victory means much more to these teams then a divisional playoff. It will add to the lore of the rivalry and will add fuel to the fire that these teams have for each other for years to come.

It's going to be a close one but I'm going for the upset and predict a very close win for the Bears, probably by a Robbie Gould field goal.


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