PHILADELPHIA --- What seemed far-fetched on Friday happened, and it shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody who has followed this Bears this season.
The breaks keep falling like dominoes. The latest? The Packers win over the Eagles on Sunday means the Bears will host the worst playoff team in NFL history when the Seahawks come to Soldier Field for the NFC divisional playoffs on Sunday.
That's not to say a win over the Seahawks is guaranteed by any means. They may have ranked 28th on offense and 27th defensively during the regular season but they were much improved in both phases against the Saints and should be confident after beating the Bears 23-20 at Soldier Field on Oct. 17.
"The way Marshawn Lynch is running I'd be nervous, Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop said, referring to the Seahawks running back, who sealed the win over the Saints with a determined, 67-yard run. "It's kind of funny that fans of a rival are rooting for you but it's a cool thing."
The Packers victory sends Green Bay to the Georgia Dome to play the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons on Saturday night. If the Bears beat the Seahawks and the Packers defeat the Falcons, the NFC Championship game would not only be played at Soldier Field but would feature the league's longest-running rivalry. The Bears and Packers have only met once in the postseason, and that was in 1941.
"That would be amazing," Bishop said of the prospect of playing the Bears in two weeks.
The Packers led 14-0 lead in the second quarter. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers fumbled early in the third period and the Eagles recovered, setting up Michael Vick's 24-yard pass to Jason Avant to pull Philly to within 14-10. Rodgers and the Packers answered with a 11-play, 80-yard drive capped by a perfectly executed screen pass to running back Brandon Jackson, who caught the ball and waited for three of his linemen to run interference before following them into the end zone 7:33 left in the third.
The Eagles might have come all the way back if not for two missed field goals by David Akers and an inability to stop sixth-round pick James Starks, who rushed for 123 yards.
"We're in the playoffs now," tackle Chad Clifton said. "Every team we face is going to be talented, but if we're able to run the ball and run the ball well, and not just be one dimensional, we're going to be a dangerous team. Our defense can shut down anyone. Offensively, we know what we can do throwing the ball. If we can run it successfully throughout the playoffs, we'll be dangerous."
Seattle defensive backs combined for 3 1/2 of the Seahawks' six sacks of Jay Cutler in the Seahawks win earlier this season, The Bears offense was struggling before the bye and failed to convert on third down in a dozen tries. The usually strong defense was even suspect as quarterback Matt Hasselbeck engineered drives of 80 and 92 yards.
A 89-yard punt return by Devin Hester gave the Bears a breath of life but Robbie Gould's last-gasp onside kick failed.
"I did a terrible job in getting the team ready," Bears coach Lovie Smith told WBBM (AM-780) at the time.