The Packers go into Sunday's NFC title game as 3 point favorites. The way I have observed these two teams playing, the Packers might be able to win by at least 7. Here are some reasons why the Packers might make this Sunday another huge disappointment in Beasrs' playoff history:
- That defense is ferocious. Especially against the Bears, who last I checked, only scored one offensive TD against this team in both of their regular season games. Many experts would say that the Bears were lucky to win the first game and should have lost by more in the second game. Also, it seems that the Bears don't do very well against 3-4 base defenses where Dom Capers' complex zone-blitz schemes seem to confuse and rattle an already suspect Bears' offensive line. Plus add that Mike Martz really hates succumbing to a short pass scheme to counteract said blitzes, and Jay Cutler's stubborness and tendencies to make questionable throws and this game might get ugly really quickly.
- Let me ask you this; which coaching staff would you trust more? Lovie Smith's or Mike McCarthy? Last January, the entire city of Chicago wanted Lovie to be terminated from his head coaching position and a lot of the coaches who call the offensive and defensive plays were Lovie's desperate hires after all of his first choices snubbed his offers to coach for this team and move on to greener pastures. I personally like Lovie Smith, but he sometimes seems to be overmatched in terms of scheme and strategy, especially in the 2nd half of games.
The Bears defense has been great, but a lot of weaknesses were exposed against Seattle, mainly that Tampa 2 defensive base that Lovie continues to stubbornly use despite getting burned in games against the top-passing teams in the NFL. Lovie's 4-3, cover 2 defense works fine when all 11 players are highly talented and are in sync with each other. However, they face the hottest QB in the NFL in Aaron Rodgers and he is packed with healthy weapons at receiver and at running back. The Packers also have a porous offensive line, but the Packers have killed the Bears in the past (no matter who their QB is) with screen plays to counteract a highly aggressive, Bears' front four that is lead by Julius Peppers. Even more worrisome, the Packers no longer have to set up screen plays to mimick a lackluster running game because their running attack has been finally established at the right time with James Starks running the ball enough to keep opposing defenses honest and giving Rodgers more time in the pocket to make big plays.
So that is why the Packers scare me for this Sunday's game. I've been burned before by other Bears' teams hosting playoff games before and I have a really bad feeling about this one. Lucky for all of us, my "bad feelings" are usually valid 50% of the time. Please feel free to comfort me as I go to bed with nightmares of Aaron Rodgers mutilating the Bears' zone defense.