NFC Championship Game 2011: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears

Eric CaspersonCorrespondent IIJanuary 19, 2011

Rodgers and Cutler meet this week, having both won their first postseason games
Rodgers and Cutler meet this week, having both won their first postseason gamesMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

Since 1921, Green Bay and Chicago have been battling each other on the football field for bragging rights. Since 1967, they have fought for the NFC North title, and the right to play into the postseason. 181 out of 182 meetings have come during the grueling 16 game season. Nothing though compares to playoff football, especially when a Super Bowl berth is on the line.

The No. 2 seed Chicago Bears will host their hated rivals in the No. 6 Green Bay Packers this weekend in the NFC Championship game. This will only be the second time in the teams' storied history that they will face off in the playoffs. The last coming way back in 1941 when the Bears advanced and won the NFL Championship. An already heated rivalry will kick up one extra gear this weekend as both teams battle for the ultimate goal.

The Packers come into the game as maybe the hottest team left in the playoffs. Winners of four straight, the Pack defeated the Eagles in Philly in the Wild Card round, then easily took care of Atlanta on the road as well. Green Bay and Atlanta were really the only two teams that came into the playoffs on a positive end. It is definitely showing in their play on the field now, and especially the chemistry that QB Aaron Rodgers has with his WRs.

The Bears come into this week with a convincing win over the Cinderella Seahawks, who beat the reigning Super Bowl Champs just a week prior. Their No. 4 ranked defense in the NFL showed why they were ranked so high. Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, and Co. had a game plan. Stop the run and make the Seahawks one dimensional.

Seattle had only 34 yards on the ground against the top-ranked run defense in the NFC. It also helped that the Bears jumped out to a very early lead quickly, putting up scores, and taking a 21-0 advantage into the half. The Bears face a much different opponent this week in Green Bay and the rivalry is about to get taken up a notch.

This weekend the game will be decided when the ball is in Green Bay's hands. The battle will be Green Bay's powerful offense against Chicago's stout defense. These two units are what got their teams this far into the playoffs.

Aaron Rodgers has been on fire since returning from his second concussion during the regular season. Rodgers has completed an absurd 78% of his passes this post-season. He has thrown for almost 550 yards, six TDs, and zero INTs. It is going to take Chicago's best game of the year to stop a red hot Packers team.

The Bears defense has the advantage in the run game. Hot rookie James Starks will be a non-factor in this weekend's contest. The Bears defense has to stop the run to have any chance at staying in this game. They have to make the Packers one dimensional. Even if they do, I still can see Aaron Rodgers throwing the belt down and carving up the Bears secondary.

Don't get me wrong, this is going to be a very tight game. I see it being very low scoring, just like their Week 17 match-up when the final was 10-3. But when the game comes down to the fourth quarter and the Packers need a game winning drive, I just see Rodgers and the Packers offense being just a little bit better than the Bears D.

Prediction: Packers 20, Bears 17