Well, it's here again, the NFL Conferance Championship weekend. This year, only one team (the Jets) where still playing football at this point a year ago. The Bears and Steelers of a year ago both didnt make the post season, while Green Bay lost a barnburner to the Cardinals 51-45. All four teams have played in a Conferance Championship game since 2006. Jets 2010 Steelers 2008 Bears 2006 and Packers 2007. Here is what can transpire this Sunday.
Let's start in the AFC. Steelers/Jets. Both teams are lovable and hateable. The Jets are going to talk their smack all week and the Steelers may counter with some of their own. The Jets have had one of the toughest roads to the AFC Title game, knocking off Peyton and the Colts, in a game in which the Jets were clearly the better team but under achieved, then followed that up by knocking off the Patriots in New England.
The Jets bring a double headed monster at running back with Shonn Greene and LaDalian Tomlinson. Green has underachieved throughout the season, while LT has found a bit of a resurgence. Stacked at all positions with for Steeler Santonio Holmes, Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller, Mark Sanchez has a tool belt of weapons. On the Defensive side, Reavis Island has stopped Deon Branch and Reggie Wayne in the past two weeks.
The Steelers match up. Mike Wallace is one of the top receivers in the league, and one of the biggest deep threats the Jets have seen all season. Do not forget about the crafty vet Hines Ward, that not only beats you with speed over the middle of the field, but can also get in your head with his trash talking and cheesy smile. Rashad Mendenhall has emerged as one of the hardest runners in the AFC. The Steelers have Big Ben, most of you hate him, but keep in mind this, if he advances to the Super Bowl, it will be his 3rd in the past five seasons. I give Pittsburgh the nod in this one, especially at home 20-17.
The NFC Title Game with the Bears and Packers could be one the classic games of all time. If any other team where coming into Soldier Field on Sunday, I would take the Bears, but the one team that they do not have an advantage over in the snow and frozen field, is the Green Bay Packers. The Bears defensive can stop the running game all day, but the Packers do not run. It is like their playing Madden out their. The Bears ranked 20th against the pass this season including give up 316 passing yards Aaron Rodgers in week three.
The Bears have had an impressive run. Once their offensive line continued to improve this season, and have got great production out of Chester Taylor and Earl Bennett. This could be a defensive battle, but the Packers have the edge, they can beat you up and down with the Passing game, and I think the Packers D will get to Jay Cutler early and often, as they led the league in sacks with 47 on the season. This will be down to the wire, unlike the nap we all got on Sunday during the Bears Seahawks game. Packers 24-17.