Packers Are Peaking at Right Time to Beat Bears in NFC Championship Game


January 22, 2011

Packers Are Peaking at Right Time to Beat Bears in NFC Championship Game Three weeks ago, the Bears had a chance to knock the Packers out of the playoffs, and since they failed, they'll have a second crack at the Pack in Sunday's NFC Championship in Chicago.

The Packers were reeling after road losses to the Lions and Patriots in Weeks 14 and 15, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers — who could finish in the top five in the MVP voting — suffered a concussion early in Detroit that threw off their chances to snag a home game in the playoffs. More than that, though, the Packers needed to beat the Giants and Bears just to earn the last seed in the playoffs, and that momentum lifted them to postseason wins at No. 3 Philadelphia and top-seeded Atlanta.

The second-seeded Bears, on the other hand, had nothing to play for in Week 17, but they went all out with the hopes to sabotage their rival's season. Rodgers threw a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Donald Lee to give the Packers a 10-3 win that the Bears hoped wouldn't come back to haunt them.

It has.

Rodgers has been masterful during the Packers' four-game winning streak, completing 93 of 128 passes (72.7 percent) for 1,179 yards, 11 touchdowns and one interception. Green Bay's once-stagnant running game is averaging 103.3 yards per game during the streak, and the defense is allowing 14.3 points per game while forcing 13 turnovers. Basically, the Packers have ironed out the kinks that bit them earlier in the season when they were pressed to deal with a rash of key injuries.

While the Packers have progressed during their recent run through the gauntlet, there are reasons to be wary of the Bears, who have an inconsistent quarterback in Jay Cutler. The Bears were 3-3 against teams with winning records, including a Week 3 win against the Packers, and their 21st-ranked scoring offense needs to complement the stout defense. Chicago's offense also turned the ball over 31 times, which was tied for the eighth most in the NFL and was tied for the worst mark among the 12 playoff teams.

Because the Packers are peaking and the Bears are too up and down, we're picking the Packers to win by a 20-10 margin.

 Who do you think will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl? Leave your thoughts below.

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