Chicago Sun-Times

Prediction time: Packers at Bears

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This is the toughest call I've made all season.

The Packers are better offensively, even though the Bears will stuff the run and make them one-dimensional in Sunday's NFC Championship game. They may even be slightly better defensively, but the Bears special teams have been a great equalizer all season and the Bears are playing at Soldier Field.

Back and forth I go. Bears. Packers. Packers. Bears.

Some have predicted a high-scoring game. I don't see it. I don't see an extremely low-scoring game similar to the Packers' 10-3 win in the regular-season finale, either. I'm thinking 23-20 ... Bears.

They're going to have to play well AND having something else happen in their favor, such as Aaron Rodgers throwing an interception, Julius Peppers coming up with a strip sack or Devin Hester having a big day in the return game, but the Bears have been quietly confident this week and it has convinced me they can come out on top.

Last week's winner was Manimal, who predicted the Bears would win 38-24, by the way. The real score was 35-24, of course. Nicely done.

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23 Comments

This game is just insanely tough for me to pick, I think if the Bears get off to a good start, offensively, it'll be very similar to the Eagles and Jets game.

Bears 27-pack 20

Superb Special teams, a motivated defense with Url, Tillman, Briggs, Peppers etc making plays and turnovers will make a difference and the offense that sets the tone with smart play getting Forte involved and not making poor decisions in the red zone by Cutler amount to a Bears win.

Bears 19 Packers 17

By the middle of the 3rd quarter, Soldiers Field will be emptying out as all those Bears go to the woods to take a crap!

Two X-factors in this game that weren't present the last time these two teams met, and both favor the Bears. On the defensive side of the ball, Tommie Harris is actually playing like he means it. If he does that Sunday, it means the Bears can pressure Rodgers with a 4-man rush, which is what it takes to beat him. On the offensive side, the Bears will have Earl Bennett, who missed the last game. The corners were able to shut down Hester and Knox because the Bears didn't have a solid third receiver to go to. This time, they will, and that will open things up for Cutler.

I agree it won't be a shoot out or a low-scoring affair. The Packers are too good to be blown out, but they're not so dominant that they can blow other teams out, especially because they become one-dimensional against defenses that can stop the run. So, prediction: 23-13 Bears.

Pack 24-10. Dallas here we come!

Devin Hester is the greatest returner of a caught punted ball in the history of the NFL. It is those times when he doesn't catch the ball that sometimes puts the Bears in bad field position. Instead of waving your arms from side to side and letting the ball bounce another 10-15 yards in the opponent's favor, how about coming up and making a fair catch. Or if you are inside your 10 yard line and are waving your teammates off, block the guy that is coming down to down the ball so it goes in the endzone. I know the Bear's played "vanilla" in the last game, but some of Hester's decisions inside the Bear's 10 yard line cost the Bears valuable field position.

The way Rogers is playing right now, it is imperative the Bears capitalize on any mistake GB makes and limits their mistakes. If they do that, the Bears win.

21-18

The key to this game will be Chicago's defense being able to stop Green Bay's run game, and limit the amount of big plays Aaron Rodgers makes. Julius Peppers and co need to come up big. What kinda gives me optimism about Chicago's front is Tommie Harris. As of late, he's really been showing up for the Bears, if he can get it going sunday, along with Peppers, Chicago will win. The red zone is where Rodgers has been doing his damage, all three of his touchdown passes vs Atlanta came down inside the 20, again, the front will be key to stopping Rodgers. Chicago's corners will have their hands full with pro-bowl receiver Greg Jennings who had a 100 yard game vs the dirty birds. Although Jennings was held to only one catch the week before vs Philly. Jordy Nelson has been coming up big for the Pack as of late also, in the last 3 games for the Pack, Nelson has had at least 75 yards and a touchdown in 2 of the last 3 games.

On offense for Chicago, the key matchup will be Bears rookie tackle J'Marcus Webb vs Clay Matthews. Webb needs to come to play sunday, if he can limit Matthews effectiveness he has for the Pack in their 3-4 scheme, Cutler will be able to open it up a little. The strength to Green Bays defense is their corners, it has been as long as they've had Charles Woodson. Woodson along with newly added pro-bowler Tramon Williams will straight up limit what you do outside. In Martz's scheme, the receivers run a lot of timing based routes, with Woodson and Williams ability to jam and press basically throws everything off for Chicago, especially outside. One of Chicago's receivers needs to step up and make some plays. I actually look for Green Bay to key in on Matt Forte, who has been hot himself as of late, if so, this could open something up in the passing game. In the end, like the great Mike Ditka once said, football is all about beating the guy in front of you, thats what each player lining up sunday has to do for a trip to Dallas. I think Chicago will, Bears 21 Packers 17 GO BEARS!!

Did you have to think long and hard to make that comment? You seem real intelligent...you must be a packers fan.

Did you have to think long and hard to make that comment? You seem real intelligent...you must be a packers fan.

32/28 Bears. After a mostly dominating performance by the bears, GB scores some junk time points and damn near pulls out the comeback.

32/28 Bears. After a mostly dominating performance by the bears, GB scores some junk time points and damn near pulls out the comeback.

What is smarter a pound of Cheddar cheese or a Packer Fan?

The cheese is twice as smart!!!!

Tough call with this game. I have said all week I don't see how the pack can win and the more I look at it the more that makes since. Everyone has talked about how hot Rodgers is coming in to this game, but hot players always cool off and -5 would seem like more than enough to cool off the hot QB who has never really played all that well in extreme cold, even if he does play in GB.

Caveman Clay does not worry me much, the turf will slow him up enough and he tends to play the edge wide and fast often getting out of his gap. What worries me is the zone blitzing and delayed blitz that Capers is brilliant at running.

The one thing that really scares me is mistakes, mistakes will decide this game. And Cutler has made a ton of mistakes against the Pack. Some rough numbers for Cutler against the Packers the last two years.

Passer rating is about 63-66
Comp Pct is in the mid 50's
TD's in 4 games he has thrown 4 TD's
Interceptions, He has thrown 9 picks against the pack over the last 4 games
Sacks, Cutler has been sacked 14 Times in 4 games. No to bad but he has been pressured a ton.

So I was kinda counting on Forte to have a big game, he looked great against them in week 17, However in his last 4 games against the packers.
Att 63
Yds 226
Avg 3.5
TD's 0
Rec 14
Yds 91
TD's 0

Olsen has also been a non-factor against the Pack Scoring 1 TD in 4 games and averaging 25-30 yards a game.

Neither team has shown any real abilty to score on the other over the last two years.
I can't really see Rodgers suddenly breaking out on a bitter cold day. Cutler too. I mean you never know the score could be 42 to 35 at the half but that seems a little far fetched.

Defense vs. Defense, who ever has the fewest mistakes and the team that can capitalize on a mistake will win. Bears are plus 3 in the turnover ratio, Packers are plus 12.

My mind says Bears 16-10
My instincts say Cutler throws a big pick and the pack win 13-6

Creighton,

I don't see how you can say that you don't see how Green Bay can win. They're far superior to the Bears on both sides of the ball in the passing game. The Bears' chance of winning is to win the running games on both sides of the ball and to win on special teams. I think the Bears have a very good chance of doing this, but that's what it'll take. And even if they do, Rodgers can still win games without a running game. If I were a neutral observer instead of a Bear fan, I'd be picking the Packers, though it's close and I can easily see the game going either way.

I agree that Rodgers, as good as he's been against the rest of the league, hasn't lit up the Bears this season in two attempts -- and they really shut down the Packer offense last game, they'd probably have limited Green Bay to three points if their offense had done anything -- BUT the Packer passing game is very dangerous. Rodgers completed almost every pass he threw v. Atlanta even without a running game. Think about this again: no running game and they still scored 42 points. So that's how Green Bay can win. I certainly hope that doesn't happen Sunday and he hasn't done it to the Bears so far this year, so we have a good chance. GO BEARS!!!

Hey Creighton:

Good to see you on the blog. It seems since the CST changed the blogging format that the activity on the blog has gone down quite a bit.

Plus it also seems that when Brad Biggs handled the blog it was not left unattended so often, maybe the CST is working both Sean and Neil too much because when the blog is not attended to every day the bloggers go away. That is why when you look at the responses many go without any comments, that was not the case as in the past.

Back to the Bears.

Creighton, good analysis but you did not give a prediction on the NFC championship game, you really should choose one or the other but not both as you did above.

At 7 AM, Sunday Jan. 23, a Yahoo.com NFL sports poll with 295,000 responses predicts who they think will play in the Superbowl.

Packers vs. Steelers 45%

Packers vs. Jets 26%

Bears vs. Steelers 17%

Bears vs. Jets 12%

My prediction:

Jay "The Knife" Cutler and the Lovable Lovie Bears defeat Rex "The Body" Ryan and the bragging Bad Boy Jets in the World Wide Superbowl Federation Championship. GET READY TO RUUUUMBLLLLLE!

First things first. It doesn't get any better than this! Win or lose it has been a great year.

Lovie kept telling us he had a pretty good football team. He does. In the preseason anybody howling that the Bears would be hosting the NFC Championship in Soldier Field......it would have been like Aaron Rogers trying to call an audible today on the Bears one yard line. Anybody predicting that they would be hosting Green Bay? What would the odds have been in Vegas at week one? Bears-Pack...wow, thank you Jesus.

OK the game. For some reason I think the Rogers snowball is rolling up hill and will lose steam in the cold. I think the Bears will come out and play their best game and will do a better job of finishing this week. 28-10 Bears.

Bears force 2 turnovers (likely both fumbles by the wideouts), and have a big special teams play not from Hester, but Danieal Manning in the kick return game. The Pack moves the ball most of the game, but a drop by Driver on a deep ball seals the game. Bears 21, Packers 20.


The defensive player of the game, and I can't believe I am saying this...Tommie Harris. He is starting to flash again, and with Peppers and Idonije both commanding attention, the DTs are going to be the key to our pass rush. Tommie will get 3 TFL, 1 sack, and 1 pass deflection. It will be the best game he has played in 4 years, and perfect timing for it.

On offense, Forte will have a solid game, and Cutler will only turn it over 1 time. Jay gets MVP for 275 yards and 2 TDs.

30-24 Bears, big day for Forte, Hester takes one to the house

Dali so true about the blog being unattened

Wrig I actually said I think they can win cause I wrote them with a winning score, so that means I think they can win. However I think they have been over hyped, they have no real running game, their O-Line is not that good and they have struggled with the Bears. Bears are at home and healthier than the Pack. Anybody can win at any time. I just think the Pack are getting to much credit, I don't think anyone is that good this year. I think it's a down year talent wise, lots injuries around the league and lots of bad O-Line play. Sure the Pack can, I am just taking the Bears.

Dahli I am taking the Bears, I think they are good matchup for the pack and they are at home. So they are my pick, I just have one of those feelings that my pick may get trumped by two Cutler interceptions. That's why it looks like two picks. But I am taking the Bears and have been saying that all week I think they matchup well and the Pack are over hyped because of Rodgers. But Cutler vs. a real good 3-4 scares me.

I am hoping this is his coming out party. At the very least I hope he has a good game.

Wrigley let me put it to you this way, I have not thought much of this Packers team for a few years in terms of talent and ability. I think the league loves Rodgers, and I think he is very good. I love the defense too, but the offense does not do it for me. It's a passing offense that relies on big passing plays, which is one of the main reasons the Bears give them problems, because the Bears defense is designed to defend against just that. I also will never trust a big play offense that has a crap O-Line and the Packers have a crap O-Line. I also don't like teams who can't run the ball either. I know they are doing better, but it's a lot screens, sweeps and cut backs. They can't impose their will on anyone.

I know power lines and a strong running game are old school and the modern nfl is all about passing and catch blocking, but I like the old school style and I still think it works. I hate catch blocking lines and even more than that I hate bad catch blocking lines. The Packers use a zone scheme for their line and it's all about catching and cutting and the penalties? Please, I know the Bears line is real bad and lacks talent but they don't get penalized as often as you might think and in the second half I can't think of them having a lot of big penalties.

So to me the Packers are very good defense with a great DC, and their offense is all about Rodgers and his recievers making big plays behind a crap line. I don't trust that.

Oh and just for today I will say it, even though I think it's cheesy.
GO BEARS!!!!!

I wrote:

"My prediction:

Jay "The Knife" Cutler and the Lovable Lovie Bears defeat Rex "The Body" Ryan and the bragging Bad Boy Jets in the World Wide Superbowl Federation Championship."

Upon further reflection, I may be one or two years too early. I am new to this possible idea of "wrestling-football". It is hard to predict. I was expecting that something strange and mysterious might happen in this game, just not to the Bears! But it still fits.

Next year there might not even BE a" WWSFC" because of a terrible Labor/Ownership struggle.

But a feelgood New York vs. Chicago matchup someday in the near future would probably heal a lot of pain caused by the trashing of next season. Cutler's knee should be as good as new by then.

We shall see. GO LOVIE BEARS!

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on January 21, 2011 12:22 PM.

Packers respect speed of Bears' receiving corps was the previous entry in this blog.

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