NFL Championship Weekend Picks: Who Will Head to Dallas?
NFL Championship Weekend is here and this is for all the marbles. It's the right to go to the greatest event of the year: The Super Bowl. The Jets vs. Steelers and Packers vs. Bears matchups will occur today, and it can't get any better than this.
Will Aaron Rodgers keep his hot streak alive? Will the good or bad Jay Cutler show up today? Will the Jets continue their miraculous run? Will Big Ben go back to the big game?
Here are my predictions for the games.
Packers vs. Bears
It's the most historic rivalry in sports. These teams haven't played in a playoff game since 1941 and blood will be spilled. It's the Packers against the Bears. It's Aaron Rodgers vs. Jay Cutler, Mike Martz against Dom Capers and Mike McCarthy against Lovie Smith. Let the battle begin.
When the Packers have the ball, we all know the offense runs through quarterback Aaron Rodgers. If running back James Starks gets things going, they will be extremely dangerous to stop. Their offensive line will have to be on their "A" game since the Bears have the dangerous Julius Peppers and Tommy Harris on the defensive line.
The Packers must protect Rodgers like they did last week or else Rodgers may get into trouble. Their great receiving core will be tough to stop. They have to contain Peppers and move the chains like they did last week with the short passes. Can the Bears stop this juggernaut offense?
When the Bears have the ball, their offense runs through rising star Jay Cutler, who had a huge game last week against the Seahawks. Matt Forte is also a very dangerous back and has run well against the Packers this year. Greg Olsen is also another weapon for Cutler along with wide receivers Johnny Knox and Devin Hester. The Bears offense has been feast or famine for much of the season and Cutler cannot turn the ball over if he wants to win.
Who will win and why? The Packers will because of Aaron Rodgers and defensive coordinator Dom Capers.
Packers 21, Bears 17
Jets vs. Steelers
The Jets and Steelers will lock up again after a close showdown in Pittsburgh in Week 15. The Jets got a victory there after Brad Smith had a return for a touchdown and a safety. The Steelers will be healthier this time after missing Heath Miller and Troy Polamalu in the last game against the Jets. They want revenge.
The Jets had a miraculous victory over the Patriots last week after everybody said they had no chance. The Jets talked the talk and walked the walk. Coach Rex Ryan is in his second year and is in the AFC Championship once again.
On offense the Jets will need Mark Sanchez to step up, because the Steelers have the best run defense in the league. Playmakers Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes need to limit their drops and play like they did last week.
The Steelers offense has been up and down, but Ben Roethlisberger is 9-2 in the playoffs. Ben is a different quarterback than Peyton Manning and Tom Brady because he can scramble and is much bigger. His offensive line has been awful and they must step up if they want to win this game.
Rashard Mendenhall will also have to keep running the ball well in order to help out Ben in the passing game. It will be interesting to see who cornerback Darrelle Revis will cover in the game: the speedy Mike Wallace or the veteran Hines Ward.
The Steelers will win because of Big Ben and their defense.
Steelers 20, Jets 17