Saturday, January 22, 2011

Conference Championship Preview

By tomorrow night, we will have a Super Bowl match-up set for the big game in Dallas.  The question at hand now is, "Which teams will vie for the world championship?"  Will we see Packers/Jets, Packers/Steelers, Bears/Jets, or Bears/Steelers (we better not see this one because I quite fancy red meat and bacon *see bottom of post*).

The first game of the weekend, kicking off at 3:00 pits longtime rivals, the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears against each other in what is sure to be an impassioned slugfest between two very talented teams.  Since the opponents are divisional rivals, this game should have that extra intensity that we saw in both AFC games last week.  These teams met twice this season, and the results were a Chicago win in week three (20-17) and a Green Bay victory in week seventeen (10-3).  I think both teams have very solid defenses, but I give the offensive edge to Green Bay.  What will be interesting is to see which coaching staff can throw a little wrinkle into the game plan and ride that to an early lead.  If someone gets ahead early, it will be extremely difficult for the other to get back in it.  This game should be a nail biter the whole way through, but I'm going to give Green Bay the edge.

Prediction: Green Bay 24, Chicago 20

The second game of the day is between the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Both teams surprised me last week by pulling out victories over division rivals that I thought would have advanced instead of these teams.  The key to this game will be whichever team can avoid a let-down after emotional victories last week.  Earlier in the year, the Jets marched into Pittsburgh with all their bravado and escaped with a victory.  However, the game plan that they used to play the Colts and Patriots (with great success) seems to be ill suited for this Steelers team.  On top of that, the Steelers defense is a decent bit better than that of the the Colts or Pats.  If the Jets are to win, they'll need Sanchez to play the game of his career.  To their credit, the Jets haven't done much talking this week (maybe their voices are still hoarse after last week?), and that may indicate that they've been able to focus and put last week's win in the past.  On the other hand, this game isn't personal for Rex, and we've seen that he coaches better when it is.

Prediction: Steelers 17, Jets 13

Stay tuned for in game notes on each tilt tomorrow!


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