Packers/Bears; Steelers/Jets

The playoffs have gotten very interesting, especially for us Packer fans. Green Bay utterly destroyed top-seeded Atlanta. They never even had to punt! The Packers seem like a relentless machine. And now they will play their division arch-rivals the Chicago Bears, who defeated all of the ex-Packers in Seattle, with the prize a trip to the Super Bowl. Those teams both know each other very, very well. They split the two games they played this season, the last one being a must-win for the Packers to get into the playoffs. Next week’s contest should be a truly good game.

In the AFC, the volatile Jets beat the vaunted Patriots. The Steelers beat the Ravens, but they didn’t look as good as the Packers looked.

I welcome your analysis, projections, and predictions!

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Dan Kempin

    Packers. Bears. Soldier field in January. The greatest rivalry in football for all the marbles. (Or “all the cheese,” as a clever bears fan painted it on his sign.) NFL football doesn’t get any better than this. All the great clashes between them, all the heritage and the championships that each of them bring–one can even imagine the afterimage of George Halas and Vince Lombardi stalking the snowy sidelines. It is the quintessential, archetypal NFL–past and present brought together. It is, in my opinion, the perfect game.

    Who needs the superbowl?

  • Dan Kempin

    Packers. Bears. Soldier field in January. The greatest rivalry in football for all the marbles. (Or “all the cheese,” as a clever bears fan painted it on his sign.) NFL football doesn’t get any better than this. All the great clashes between them, all the heritage and the championships that each of them bring–one can even imagine the afterimage of George Halas and Vince Lombardi stalking the snowy sidelines. It is the quintessential, archetypal NFL–past and present brought together. It is, in my opinion, the perfect game.

    Who needs the superbowl?

  • SKPeterson

    Ho and hum. One weekend in which I wish every team playing would lose. No Super Bowl this year.

  • SKPeterson

    Ho and hum. One weekend in which I wish every team playing would lose. No Super Bowl this year.

  • Dan Kempin

    SKPeterson,

    Let me guess . . . a Vikings fan? (If so, I don’t blame you. Lions fans are also off the hook.)

  • Dan Kempin

    SKPeterson,

    Let me guess . . . a Vikings fan? (If so, I don’t blame you. Lions fans are also off the hook.)

  • Dennis Peskey

    NFC – Green Bay 24; Chicago 17
    AFC – Pittsburg 17; New York 14
    Superbowl – Packers 38; Steelers 23
    The Packers simply have too much offense, the best defense and special teams which can contain anyone (including Hester).
    Go Pack Go!!!
    Peace,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    NFC – Green Bay 24; Chicago 17
    AFC – Pittsburg 17; New York 14
    Superbowl – Packers 38; Steelers 23
    The Packers simply have too much offense, the best defense and special teams which can contain anyone (including Hester).
    Go Pack Go!!!
    Peace,
    Dennis

  • Porcell

    Coach Ryan knows that the best way to beat the Pats is to shake Brady’s confidence and take him out of rhythm in the pocket. From early in the game, the Jets sacked Brady, causing him to focus more on not getting hit than looking down field for his receivers.. Since being injured badly in 2008, Brady hates to get sacked. During most of the season, he was well protected and had few sacks.

    Another point is that the Jets were smarting after their 45-3 loss to the Pats; they were hungry to redress this, while the Pats likely went into the game overconfident.

    Sic transit gloria mundi. Now, I’ll join Dennis and Kerner and root for the Packers.

  • Porcell

    Coach Ryan knows that the best way to beat the Pats is to shake Brady’s confidence and take him out of rhythm in the pocket. From early in the game, the Jets sacked Brady, causing him to focus more on not getting hit than looking down field for his receivers.. Since being injured badly in 2008, Brady hates to get sacked. During most of the season, he was well protected and had few sacks.

    Another point is that the Jets were smarting after their 45-3 loss to the Pats; they were hungry to redress this, while the Pats likely went into the game overconfident.

    Sic transit gloria mundi. Now, I’ll join Dennis and Kerner and root for the Packers.

  • trotk

    Peter, you have been magnanimous in defeat. One other thing the Jets did well was rattle Brady with pre-game rhetoric and trash-talk. Not exactly the image of noble warriors, but particularly effective with Brady. Opponents can get into his head with derisive comments.

    Belichick allowed this to happen with his benching of Welker. He should have seconded Welker’s funny and innocuous comments to show his team that the Jets were full of hot air. Instead he tried to take a moral high road in a amoral situation, and came across as a capricious parent who disciplines just because he didn’t trust and like the actions of the child, in spite of the fact that the child did nothing wrong. This always breaks the spirit.

  • trotk

    Peter, you have been magnanimous in defeat. One other thing the Jets did well was rattle Brady with pre-game rhetoric and trash-talk. Not exactly the image of noble warriors, but particularly effective with Brady. Opponents can get into his head with derisive comments.

    Belichick allowed this to happen with his benching of Welker. He should have seconded Welker’s funny and innocuous comments to show his team that the Jets were full of hot air. Instead he tried to take a moral high road in a amoral situation, and came across as a capricious parent who disciplines just because he didn’t trust and like the actions of the child, in spite of the fact that the child did nothing wrong. This always breaks the spirit.

  • Helen F

    As a Vikings fan, I’m not really that concerned who wins. However,
    I’d like to make a few predictions (along with Dennis) of my own:

    NFC – Green Bay 17; Chicago 14
    AFC – Pittsburg 28; New York 7
    Superbowl – Pittsburgh 38; Chicago 32

  • Helen F

    As a Vikings fan, I’m not really that concerned who wins. However,
    I’d like to make a few predictions (along with Dennis) of my own:

    NFC – Green Bay 17; Chicago 14
    AFC – Pittsburg 28; New York 7
    Superbowl – Pittsburgh 38; Chicago 32

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    No matter who wins the Packers/Bears game a good portion of my congregation won’t be talking with each other next week.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    No matter who wins the Packers/Bears game a good portion of my congregation won’t be talking with each other next week.

  • DonS

    I’m not much on predicting scores, but I think Dennis @ 4 has the winners and margins about right, though the Super Bowl will probably be a bit closer than 15 points, maybe on the order of 10. Pittsburgh has a way of staying in games, as they proved against the Ravens.

  • DonS

    I’m not much on predicting scores, but I think Dennis @ 4 has the winners and margins about right, though the Super Bowl will probably be a bit closer than 15 points, maybe on the order of 10. Pittsburgh has a way of staying in games, as they proved against the Ravens.

  • WebMonk

    I’m thinking the Steelers are going to take this one all the way. I’m more worried about the Jets game than I am about playing either the Bears or the Packers.

    The Jets have been playing semi-regular brilliance. Not consistent enough to make them the usual pick for the top contender in the league, but when they’re hitting their stride they are awesome. The same can be said of the Steelers, and between the Steelers and the Jets it’s a flip-the-coin as to which team is going to be having an off day.

    If the Steelers can make it past the Jets, I don’t foresee a problem with either the Packers or the Bears. I think the Bears would be the easier game for the Steelers to win, but in either case I think the Steelers will come out on top.

  • WebMonk

    I’m thinking the Steelers are going to take this one all the way. I’m more worried about the Jets game than I am about playing either the Bears or the Packers.

    The Jets have been playing semi-regular brilliance. Not consistent enough to make them the usual pick for the top contender in the league, but when they’re hitting their stride they are awesome. The same can be said of the Steelers, and between the Steelers and the Jets it’s a flip-the-coin as to which team is going to be having an off day.

    If the Steelers can make it past the Jets, I don’t foresee a problem with either the Packers or the Bears. I think the Bears would be the easier game for the Steelers to win, but in either case I think the Steelers will come out on top.

  • Bruce Gee

    One caveat: I’m a lifelong Packers fan so of course I’m pessimistic about their chances. Aaron Rogers LOVES playing in domes, so if they can find a way to break more Bears bones then the Bears break theirs, I think they’ll do really well in Texas. But they’ve got to get out of Soldier Field with some sort of ugly ole win. Rogers won’t necessarily do as well on a blustery, cold, windy, rockhard field in the Midwest (California boy, remember) in late January.
    The first Packers/Bears game featured a host of really bad penalties by the Pack. The second was an ugly defensive slug fest. The key to the game will be if the Packers defense can get into the head of Jay Cutler, a real head case if there ever was one. They’ve had great success doing so in the past year, so we’ll see. One pickoff of an overthrown Cutler pass and they’re good to go, I think. The offense will find a way to get points on the board, esp. since the Bears don’t really blitz that much.
    I’ve been telling my boys for three months now that the Packers were going to the Super Bowl. We’re mighty close. One will be watching the game from a Badger Sports bar in Denver; the other at a casino in Guadalajara, Mexico. The cell phones will be busy!

    Oh. Is there an AFC game as well?

  • Bruce Gee

    One caveat: I’m a lifelong Packers fan so of course I’m pessimistic about their chances. Aaron Rogers LOVES playing in domes, so if they can find a way to break more Bears bones then the Bears break theirs, I think they’ll do really well in Texas. But they’ve got to get out of Soldier Field with some sort of ugly ole win. Rogers won’t necessarily do as well on a blustery, cold, windy, rockhard field in the Midwest (California boy, remember) in late January.
    The first Packers/Bears game featured a host of really bad penalties by the Pack. The second was an ugly defensive slug fest. The key to the game will be if the Packers defense can get into the head of Jay Cutler, a real head case if there ever was one. They’ve had great success doing so in the past year, so we’ll see. One pickoff of an overthrown Cutler pass and they’re good to go, I think. The offense will find a way to get points on the board, esp. since the Bears don’t really blitz that much.
    I’ve been telling my boys for three months now that the Packers were going to the Super Bowl. We’re mighty close. One will be watching the game from a Badger Sports bar in Denver; the other at a casino in Guadalajara, Mexico. The cell phones will be busy!

    Oh. Is there an AFC game as well?

  • Cincinnatus

    “The Jets have been playing semi-regular brilliance. ”

    Disagree. They’ve been saved from Mark Sanchez’s stunning incompetence (how is he a starting QB again?) by their capacity to run the ball occasionally and by their defense, which actually is quite good–perhaps even brilliant.

  • Cincinnatus

    “The Jets have been playing semi-regular brilliance. ”

    Disagree. They’ve been saved from Mark Sanchez’s stunning incompetence (how is he a starting QB again?) by their capacity to run the ball occasionally and by their defense, which actually is quite good–perhaps even brilliant.

  • kerner

    porcell. Welcome aboard. I was kind of hoping for a rematch…but alas. Webmonk. I refuse to think past the next game. But we will see about that buddy.

  • kerner

    porcell. Welcome aboard. I was kind of hoping for a rematch…but alas. Webmonk. I refuse to think past the next game. But we will see about that buddy.

  • WebMonk

    LOL @ Cin 12!

    Ok, I guess that’s another way to look at it, and I couldn’t truly disagree, though I have to say that he has enough really good moments to worry me!

    I have a similar view of Roethlisberger’s playing – he has his brilliant moments which are matched by his incredibly stupid and clumsy moments. (he’s thrown 5 interceptions in one game!) On the other hand he has great pass completion rates and when he’s on, the entire team just Rocks!

  • WebMonk

    LOL @ Cin 12!

    Ok, I guess that’s another way to look at it, and I couldn’t truly disagree, though I have to say that he has enough really good moments to worry me!

    I have a similar view of Roethlisberger’s playing – he has his brilliant moments which are matched by his incredibly stupid and clumsy moments. (he’s thrown 5 interceptions in one game!) On the other hand he has great pass completion rates and when he’s on, the entire team just Rocks!

  • Norman Teigen

    It’s all about the laundry. Green and gold uniforms are awful. The team from Wisconsin might be likable enough but their uniforms are tasteless and repugnant.

  • Norman Teigen

    It’s all about the laundry. Green and gold uniforms are awful. The team from Wisconsin might be likable enough but their uniforms are tasteless and repugnant.

  • Cincinnatus

    And black and yellow (with a few other selections from the primary palate mixed in for good measure) are any better? Unless you’re referring to the NFC playoff game, in which case I agree that the Bears’ reposed blue uniforms are somewhat more tasteful. But “taste” and “respose” aren’t exactly adjectives I associate with the NFL.

    I’ll take my green and yellow* (not gold) any day.

  • Cincinnatus

    And black and yellow (with a few other selections from the primary palate mixed in for good measure) are any better? Unless you’re referring to the NFC playoff game, in which case I agree that the Bears’ reposed blue uniforms are somewhat more tasteful. But “taste” and “respose” aren’t exactly adjectives I associate with the NFL.

    I’ll take my green and yellow* (not gold) any day.


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