Green Bay Packers
(12-6, 11-7 ATS)
(12-5, 12-6-1 ATS)
We couldn’t have drawn up a better scenario than this. The first time around in NFL betting action, the Chicago Bears got the best of the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field. Then in Week 17, Green Bay snuck its way into the playoffs with a narrow 10-3 escape. The two will meet for a third and decisive final time this year back in the Windy City with a berth in Super Bowl XLV.
In the Wild Card round of the playoffs against the Philadelphia Eagles, a new hero was born in the form of RB James Starks, who rumbled for 123 yards on 23 carries. He sparked a running game that was totally out of commission for the mass majority of the season, and everyone knew if this team really had a running game going that this would arguably be the toughest team to knock out of the playoffs. Now, the passing game really stepped up, and the defense shut the door on the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome, arguably one of the toughest places for opponents to go play football. QB Aaron Rodgers was great in the first game as well, but going 31-of-36 in a playoff game is something that is truly special. For the two games, Rodgers has completed 49-of-63 passing (77.8%) for 546 yards with six TDs and most importantly, no turnovers. Against the Falcons on Saturday, Green Bay had four receivers with at least 75 yards, an unbelievable stat, especially for a road team. However, it is the defense that really shined when it had to. A week after holding one of the most potent offenses in the league to just 16 points, the Pack kept the Falcons down to 194 total yards of offense and forced four turnovers.
The Bears really did get the easy draw in the second round of the playoffs, and they proved it on Sunday by beating the snot out of the Seattle Seahawks. The Cinderellas of the ball really never stood a chance in the teeth of the Chicago defense, and though it ultimately allowed 24 points, we know that this unit was absolutely devastating for the first two and a half quarters, limiting just about everything that the Seahawks tried to accomplish. Though the Pittsburgh Steelers clearly have the best rush defense in the league, there might not be a hotter unit in this facet of the game than the Bears. They averaged allowing just 90.1 yards per game this season to opposing ground attacks, and they only allowed 34 yards on 12 carries against Seattle on Sunday. QB Jay Cutler did a great job of taking care of the football in this one, though he is going to clearly be under the gun when push comes to shove against the Green Bay defense this week. He went 15-of-28 for 274 yards with two TDs and a pair of rushing scores with no turnovers. The lone blunder of the game was a pick thrown by RB Matt Forte on a trick play.
We know that the Packers are going to be an incredibly public team this week, but we aren’t so sure that Joe Public is really right in this one. Green Bay is fantastic, don’t get us wrong, but we love the way that the Chicago defense has played in two games in this series thus far this year. Go with the Bears at home as short dogs to move on to the Super Bowl once again.
NFC Championship Game Free Pick: Chicago Bears +3