Point/Counterpoint: Who will win the NFC Championship Game?

BY DI STAFF | JANUARY 20, 2011 7:10 AM

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Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears aren’t being given much of a chance this weekend.

I really can’t figure out why.

The Bears have a defense that has proved that they can slow down Aaron Rodgers, a proficient rushing attack, and a quarterback who has limited his mistakes. If the Bears play up to the level they have shown, that they are capable of, they will walk out of Soldier Field as NFC champions.

The Bears defense held the Packers to 27 points in their two meetings this season. Julius Peppers has been a presence in the backfield all season, and he will get constant pressure on Rodgers. The Bears front seven will be able to limit the scrambling ability of Rodgers and completely shut down the Packer running game. If the Chicago secondary can play well, it bodes well for the Bears’ chances.

Matt Forte had success against the Packers in Week 17, rushing for 91 yards on 15 carries. If Forte has this kind of success again, it will allow the Bears to control the clock and keep the Green Bay defense off the field. With the assistance of Chester Taylor, the Bears are geared to control the clock.

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Devin Hester can’t be forgotten, either. Hester is instrumental for Chicago’s field position, either by long returns or by errant kicks away from the Pro Bowler.

This brings us to one of the most discussed players on the roster: Jay Cutler. Cutler is maligned as a mistake-prone, mediocre QB. But this season, he has shown that he can be a very good quarterback.

His first playoff performance was a good one, and he has the ability to do it again. If Cutler can limit his mistakes, it gives the Bears a great chance to win.

At home, the Bears have a great chance to win the NFC title if they can keep the Packer offense on the sideline and Cutler limits his mishaps.

— by Ryan Murphy

Green Bay Packers

Considering how much of the UI population hails from Illinois, it’s a little scary to consider how many students will be clinically depressed by Sunday night.

Sorry, boys and girls: Da Bears are going to get whooped by Green Bay in the NFC Championship.

Packer gunslinger Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback remaining in the playoffs, and he is fresh off a sublime performance against top-seed Atlanta last weekend in which he was 31-for-36 and threw for 336 yards and three touchdowns.

He would have beaten the Falcons blindfolded and hanging upside-down from the Goodyear blimp.
This doesn’t bode well for Chicago, whose pass defense is mediocre at best. The Monsters of the Midway will benefit from playing outside in the freezing cold — Atlanta plays its “football” in a cozy, climate-controlled dome, which almost certainly contributed to Rodgers’ perfection — but slowing Rodgers down isn’t enough when your offense stinks.

Bear quarterback Jay Cutler plays behind the NFL’s most inept offensive line, and he was sacked a hilarious 56 times this regular season. He’s going to spend most of the day on his back, courtesy of Green Bay linebacker extraordinaire Clay Matthews.

And, as YouTube fans are well aware, Green Bay wideout Greg Jennings tends to put the team on his back in difficult situations. Not even the most hardest-hittin’ safeties in the league have been able to stop Jennings from being one of the NFL’s top receivers, and Chicago’s 20th-ranked pass defense doesn’t stand a chance.

Final score? Packers 49, Bears 3.

— by Seth Roberts

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