I like the Green Bay Packers chances on Sunday in the NFC Championship game in Chicago. The Packers are playing their best football and I think Aaron Rodgers and his receivers will outplay Jay Cutler and his group. Both teams have outstanding defenses but the Packers have shown that they can lock down nearly any receiver group in the NFL and put pressure on the passer.
The Chicago defense is top notch but I don’t think they can contain the Packers passing game by sitting in the cover two pass coverage. Green Bay has too many weapons and Rodgers is far too good for that. The Bears are going to have to mix up their coverages and come after Rodgers to get him off his game.
I know the Green Bay offensive line isn’t one of the better groups in the league, but I think they can do a good enough job of giving Rodgers enough time to do his thing against the Bears. Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones and Jordy Nelson can all go for a 100 yards and a couple of touchdowns if Rodgers comes to them.
Rookie running back, James Starks, and the newly found running game will keep the Bears honest, but the Packers will do their damage through the air. Bears defensive end Julius Peppers must take over the game, if Chicago is going to have any chance of slowing down Rodgers and his crew.
Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are two outstanding backers who will make running the football very difficult for the Pack, but Rodgers is the key to the Green Bay attack and not Starks.
If the Chicago pass rush isn’t getting there I expect the Bears to send one or both of their linebackers to put pressure on Rodgers. It won’t work because the former California Bear has the best quarterback rating in the league versus the blitz.
Cutler had a great game against the Seattle Seahawks, but that’s not the group he’ll be going against this weekend. Clay Matthews will be on the prowl and the Packers have the best secondary in football. Any time you can afford to put a great cornerback like Charles Woodson in the slot, you know you have a great group of corners.
The Bears quarterback must protect the football and not take too many chances. Cutler must have the same type of performance he had against the Seahawks, but I don’t think he can. I think he’ll play well for a while but I don’t think he can stay away from a mistake or two.
I could see the Bears creating problems for the Packers with their running game. Matt Forte must have a big game running with the football and catching it for Chicago to beat the Packers. Forte will need to carry the football twenty to thirty times and gain over a 100 yards for Chicago to win the football game.
The Bears have speed at the wide receiver position with Johnny Knox and Devin Hester. They can get deep but even more importantly they must get open for Cutler on the short to intermediate routes. Catching the football consistently will be very important because there’s no telling what the weather will be.
Green Bay’s young cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Sam Shields can line up and run with any receivers in the NFL. They love to walk up and lock down a receivers group. This frees up Woodson to blitz and go after the big play. Woodson who was last year’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year, will attack the football in the air or lock down the slot receiver and blitz from the slot position.
Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers who invented the zone blitz loves to utilize Matthews in stunts and defensive line games which give him a chance to use his speed and tenacity to get to the quarterback. Cullen Jenkins is the best pass rusher of the other defensive lineman and he ‘s capable of overpowering offensive linemen to get to the quarterback.
This Packers defense is outstanding with underrated linebackers Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk doing a good job of covering running backs and tight ends and making plays. You must run the ball against them to have any chance success.
Final score Green Bay 27-Chicago-17
Have any of you guys seen Clay Matthews running over Winston Justice on NFL Network then hitting Michael Vick and talking smack to him? I heard somebody refer to the young Matthews as Thor. That’s a great nickname for him.
I played with Matthews’ Dad at USC, we played side to side for a couple of years. Clay Sr. played about 20 years in the NFL. His uncle Bruce was an offensive guard at USC then he played 20 years in the NFL and is in the NFL Hall of Fame. This young Matthews is like his father and uncle who both looked like walking and talking muscles.
I still don’t understand how he was a walk-on at USC. The guy is a monster and bigger than his Dad.
Matthews has the same attitude of the older Matthews who both got into a fight or two during spring practices back there at USC. We had a great time back there at Troy.