By the end of today, we will know which two teams will square off on February 6th, 2011 for the Super Bowl. Both games should be very intense, as all four teams feature a great mixture of offense and defense. Use this as your game thread to discuss each game as they unfold; my brief previews and predictions for both games are after the jump.
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
Game: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
Date/Time: Sunday, January 23, 2010 at 3:00 p.m. EST
Local Television: WJW/FOX, Channel 8 (Cleveland)
It is hard to believe these two teams have not met more often in postseason play. You have to give credit to what Mike Martz has been able to do in Chicago this year, maintaining a good balance of run-pass, improving the protection of an offensive line that was atrocious to start the season, and paving the way for Jay Cutler to put up career numbers.
The Bears' defense is healthy and can force critical turnovers. They held Green Bay to just ten points in Week 17, but the past two weeks, I think Aaron Rodgers has played some of the best football of his career. It helps that the Packers' ground game has gotten going behind James Stark, but I still believe Green Bay's chances to win will come down to Rodgers' arm. Green Bay has enough good pass rushers to make Chicago's protection break down and make it difficult for Cutler to match Green Bay's offense. My Pick: Packers win 28-21.
New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Game: New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Date/Time: Sunday, January 23, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. EST
Local Television: WOIO/CBS, Channel 19 (Cleveland)
For the second week in a row, we have to pick between the better of two evils. Whether you like Rex Ryan's style or not, the fact is that they did the impossible -- they beat the Colts and the Patriots on the road in back-to-back weeks. They defeated the Steelers in Pittsburgh late in the regular season too, so they should be as confident as ever that they can go in again and advance to the Super Bowl.
When you look back at the past two weeks though, the one thing the Jets have not faced in the postseason is an overly intimidating defense. When the likes of James Harrison, LaMar Woodley, and Troy Polamalu come breathing down the neck of Mark Sanchez though, is he going to be able to continue making the clutch throws? Ben Roethlisberger already has two Super Bowls under his belt, and I like his experience to take them there again. My Pick: Steelers win 20-17.