Chicago Sun-Times

The rivalry with the "respectful tone" yet "nasty also"

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What we witnessed last week, between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots was remarkably entertaining.

But don't expect anything close to that this week, when the Bears host the Green Bay Packers in the NFC title game at Soldier Field.

"I just think you just look at our history together. It does have a respectful tone, but it can be nasty also," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. " It's going to be a physical game.

"We don't like each other. You don't have to be in love with someone, or you can have some dislike, and not put it out in the media everyday. Believe me, there's not a whole lot of love for us coming up north."

Last week, there was no shortage of antics and comments from the AFC East matchup, from Wes Welker dropping foot references to poke fun at Rex Ryan to the Jets coach saying the game would come down to him and Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

This week, though, the NFL's oldest rivalry will be much more civilized.


"But games are supposed to be played on the field," he said. "In the end, if I felt like me doing a whole lot of talking would help us play better, I'd start doing a whole lot more of that. But it'll come down to how we play. Our guys realize that."

For my money, I'd love to see Smith talk smack, insisting this game will come down to him outfoxing Green Bay's Mike McCarthy. But don't hold your breath.

These two teams know each other well -- maybe too well.

Asked if he would break down the Packers' beatdown of the Atlanta Falcons, Smith said, "No.

"We haven't really studied that game a lot yet. We're finishing up video from our last game, but we don't really have to. We know quite a bit about Aaron Rodgers. He's a great player. We know all of their guys and they know us. Again, it's a little bit different this week. Kind of know what the game plan will be, a little bit. Know how they're going to attack us, and know how we'll attack them."

I'm sure, though, that both teams will have some wrinkles and surprises for one another.

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5 Comments

It will come down to whether the Bears can deal with the Packers blitz - if they can, the Bears can win - if they can't, it's "get ready for 2011"......

Yes everything is going perfectly for the Bears, the team of destiny. By letting the Pack win the last game of the year, the Bears now get to host the NFC Championship. If the Bears had beaten the Pack, they would probably be going to Atlanta. The Bears do not fear the Pack and play them better than any other team, having beaten them in 3 of the last 4 at home. This year our defense has held them to 17 and 10 points. Cutler is 24-5 when starting and his team's defense holds opponents to 20 points or less. Cutler is also 15-6 in games decided by four points or less (Rodgers is 2-14). Rodgers will play well, but he plays well whether they win or lose, so he does not seem to be their difference maker. Cutler is 22-0 when playing to a 100 or higher passer rating. Cutler is playing the best ball of his career, the offensive line is playing its best of the year, and our running game is more productive than ever (with Chester having his best game). As the record shows, beating a good team twice in a row is hard to do, with the odds against it 4-2. Plus the Bears intentionally played the last game against the Pack without having made any schematic changes (like changes in protections or hot reads). So the Pack are going to see adjustments they have not seen yet. All the intangibles favor the Bears. Plus all the pressure is on the Packers, who everyone praises like the greatest team of all time. This will be such a glorious win for the Bears to shut up so many doubters.

Yes everything is going perfectly for the Bears, the team of destiny. By letting the Pack win the last game of the year, the Bears now get to host the NFC Championship. If the Bears had beaten the Pack, they would probably be going to Atlanta. The Bears do not fear the Pack and play them better than any other team, having beaten them in 3 of the last 4 at home. This year our defense has held them to 17 and 10 points. Cutler is 24-5 when starting and his team's defense holds opponents to 20 points or less. Cutler is also 15-6 in games decided by four points or less (Rodgers is 2-14). Rodgers will play well, but he plays well whether they win or lose, so he does not seem to be their difference maker. Cutler is 22-0 when playing to a 100 or higher passer rating. Cutler is playing the best ball of his career, the offensive line is playing its best of the year, and our running game is more productive than ever (with Chester having his best game). As the record shows, beating a good team twice in a row is hard to do, with the odds against it 4-2. Plus the Bears intentionally played the last game against the Pack without having made any schematic changes (like changes in protections or hot reads). So the Pack are going to see adjustments they have not seen yet. All the intangibles favor the Bears. Plus all the pressure is on the Packers, who everyone praises like the greatest team of all time. This will be such a glorious win for the Bears to shut up so many doubters.

The Gun Young,
That comment was so great you should post it twice.

One advantage the Bears have is Mike Martz. Opposing defensive coordinators have said that he's impossible to game plan for, because what he did or how the offense lined up in a previous week does not indicate what he'll do in the upcoming game. This is big in a game between division rivals that know each other so well. Of course, the players still must execute, but at least they have this advantage.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on January 17, 2011 1:01 PM.

NFL Network's talking heads talk Bears was the previous entry in this blog.

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