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THE WINDY CITY WEEKLY: PERHAPS THE BEARS SHOULD FORFEIT OR JUST NOT SHOW UP
Posted By Kevin Scholla On Jan 22 2011 @ 4:18 am In Chicago | No Comments
The Chicago Bears are playing for the NFC title Sunday. But you wouldn’t know it if you listen to most in the media. It’s been wall to wall Packers coverage all week. Plenty of Jets exposure as well. A little Steelers sprinkled in. The Bears? They’re kind of an afterthought. If you listen to most, a Green Bay-New York Super Bowl is already set in stone.
Last time I checkedthrough all of the Green Bay cheerleading, the Bears have a chance to go to the Super Bowl for the second time in five seasons. Standing in their way is their arch rivals. The Packers will surely not be an easy out. However, it’s not an impossibility either like some have led us to believe.
The nation’s collective man crush on Aaron Rodgers has many Bears fans throwing up in their mouths a little. Yes, Rodgers was lights out against Atlanta. His stats were historic. What that has to do with this week though, is beyond me. Rodgers buried the Falcons in a climate controlled dome. He was super. That day. Now he faces the Bears, a team that held the Pack to 17 points back in September and a measly 10 points a few weeks ago in a game the Bears didn’t even need.
Green Bay is red hot. Perhaps their performances against Philadelphia and Atlanta warrant their ‘favorite’ status in the NFC Championship. That said, why can’t the Bears win? Chicago will in fact win if they prevail in the field position game. If the Bears can force Green Bay to start the bulk of their possessions deep in Packers territory and if Chicago can use the Hester factor to attain good field position of their own, Lovie Smith’s crew will move on.
The biggest slap in the face this past week comes from the pompous Peter King. King had the Bears FIFTH in his cute little Power Rankings. There are four teams left, the Bears are one of them, yet they rank fifth? Perhaps if they win the Super Bowl they can move up to fourth. Another guy craving attention, so he writes outlandish things.
This match-up with Green Bay and the lack of love for the Bears nationally is very reminiscent of the 2006 playoffs. If you recall EVERYONE picked the Saints to beat Chicago in the title game even though the Bears were home and the one-seed. Now the Bears are home again and the defacto top seed and EVERYONE is picking the Packers. The New Orleans selection was the trendy thing to do. It was post-Katrina and the country was pulling for anything NOLA. They saw the dangerous Brees and Bush but forget to consider the less than stellar Saints defense that Rex Grossman and the Bears ultimately defeated. This time around the Packers are the flavor of the month. Rodgers’ super performance against the Falcons has everyone picking Green Bay. In the process, they are forgetting that the Bears are a division rival that know the Packers so well. They are forgetting that the Bears downed the Packers once this year. They’re forgetting that Lovie Smith has fared quite well against his foes from Wisconsin. Sunday the Bears have a chance to serve up a big slice of remember pie.
The Packers are an outdoor, cold weather team just like Chicago, but there is no way Rodgers would prefer playing in the brutal conditions that are sure to greet him Sunday as opposed to say, the Georgia Dome. That would lead me to believe his performance will be something less than what he did to the Falcons. The Soldier Field footing will slow down Rodgers’ receivers as well. This is a winnable game for Chicago. If the Bears are able to win the turnover battle they could do something very special in this one.
Jay Cutler can not afford to flirt with disaster against Green Bay, like he did in the Seahawks game. A couple of near interceptions, one that would have likely been a pick-six, could’ve turned the game against Seattle upside down. Cutler can not make errant throws against the Packers. Unlike Seattle, Green bay will make you pay.
It’s funny how everyone always whines about the turf conditions in the Windy City yet Devin Hester and Matt Forte rarely slip.
It’s stunning that the Bears and Packershaven’t met up in the playoffs more often. 1941 and tomorrow. That’s it. Meantime, we’ve seen other divisional rivals play each other in the postseason again and again. Just this season the Jets met New England and Baltimore collided with Pittsburgh. In recent years the Eagles have battled Dallas and the Giants in the postseason. The 49ers used to clash with the Los Angeles Rams in the playoffs. Even Bears longtime adversaries have met in the playoffs. Since 1970, the Packers and Lions have tangled multiple times in the second season, the Vikings have also played Green Bay and the Bears. Considering Chicago and Green Bay are historically the most accomplished teams in the division, you’d think they would’ve hooked up more.
Enough with these nerdy reporters crying about Cutler’s perceived lack of friendliness toward them. Leave the quarterback who’s trying to win a world championship alone. Guys like Cutler didn’t like you in high school and they don’t like you now. You know why? Because you keep trying to tell them how to act to meet your needs. Stop ruining this wonderful Bears run with petty nonsense. Cutler has done every press event he is obligated to do and he answers every question. You shouldn’t let jealously creep into your reporting.
So it’s almost kickoff. The fans have been great this year. Super, in fact. Perhaps the Bears will return the favor with a super achievement Sunday. I think they just might.
If you need something to wet your sports loving whistle before the NFC Championship contest, the Blackhawks game will be nationally televised Sunday. Chicago skates against Philadelphia, the team they downed in the Stanley Cup Finals last season.
Carlos Boozer expects to play when the Bulls host the Cavs.
The White Sox have exercised Ozzie Guillen’s option for 2012. I love that move.
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