Friday, January 21, 2011

My Take -> NFC Championship

Greetings, G-Force.

Sweet smell of success. One win & the Packers are in the Super Bowl. Sensational.

Aaron Rodgers! Dynamite. Cerebral. Dominant. Agile. A canon of an arm with only a flick of a wrist. Brilliant! Growing into the elite QB in the league. I've watched the Falcons replay 3 times. I count 7 times that Rodgers recognized the blitz, eluded the pressure and continued his aerial assault. Truly, a legendary performance. One we'll remember forever. Yes, for eternity, we will talk of this absolutely tremendous performance. It was the day Aaron Rodgers became a man.

The Falcons were 13-3. They were the #1 seed. In the dome, they were 20-2 at Atlanta with Matty Ice at QB. And the Packers steamrolled the Falcons with relative ease. The feeling inside the Georgia Dome was SUPER. During the 4th Quarter, the lower bowl of the Georgia Dome was littered with the G-Force. 5 days later, I'm finally getting my voice back. We were present. We were felt. The buzz was surreal.

Once again, a Mike McCarthy team overcame adverse conditions in grand fashion. Excitingly, both Capers & McCarthy kept their foot on the gas until the final whistle. An aggressive performance that silenced a rowdy Atlanta crowd. And because of this monumental evening, for the 2nd time in 4 years, a Mike McCarthy team will be playing in the NFC Championship game.

The Falcons crowd believed they'd win. And then, they met T-Mon. T-Mon is permanently etching his name in the glorious, famed history of the Green Bay Packers. Largely, T-Mon was in man-coverage against Roddy White. White, a Pro Bowl receiver finished with 6 catches for 57 yards & a TD. T-Mon finished with 2 catches for 70 yards & a game-changing TD. A back-breaker.

Our Superstars came to play. Jennings caught 8 ball for over 100 yards. The Claymaker had 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery. Sir Charles had 6 tackles & 1 sack. Nintendo Nick ushered T-Mon down the field & was the 1st to congratulate him post his life-altering TD. BJ Raji had a sack.

The CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE occurred at the start of the 3rd Quarter. While the T-Mon interception was truly devastating to the Falcons, it was important to make it a 3-score game. The opening drive of the 3rd Quarter: 12 plays. 80 yards. 6:32. Starks ran for 27 yards. Rodgers scrambling to the right for 7 points, a dagger, and a berth in the NFC Championship.

Small Observations:

This team enjoys one another. I spent significant time watching the sideline. We're having fun - respecting one another. When Nintendo Nick got carted off, my brother Bob & I were concerned for a moment. Only to see him sprinting out of the tunnel 5 minutes later with a huge smile on his face. He wanted to be on the sideline celebrating with his mates. Raji & Pickett bouncing together is a thing of beauty. Sublime to watch the WR's gather to banter. Smiles all around. Strong camaraderie. Pure confidence. While I can't hear what the coaches are saying obviously, to me, it's apparent that there's a lot of hands on guidance. Especially on the defensive side of the ball. I compare our Defensive Coaches of today to our Offensive Coaches of the 90's. A number of bright minds that will have larger roles in the future.

My good buddy, Stack, & I are strange birds. Both from WI. Both Badger fans with a strange appreciation for the Michigan Wolverines. We've been talking about & loving Charles Woodson even prior to his Heisman Trophy. Stack eloquently states that the only thing missing from Sir Charles' mantle is the Super Bowl title. He's 2 games away.

Loved Erik Walden's block on T-Mon's pick.

CJ Wilson has played two SOLID playoff games. He helped stop Vick on the 3rd & 1 on the first drive of the Eagles game. Then, against Atlanta he had 4 tackles & a sack.

The Packers win the toss. Elect to defer. Good coaching. Put this defense on the field.

Rodgers connects with 7 different receivers. Excitingly, Jennings, Quickie, Jones, and Nelson combined for 26 catches. When in rhythm, there's not a team that can cover us.

BJ Raji & Cullen Jenkins are a tough tandem to block - even when we've only got 2 DL on the field.

Sometimes stats can be deceiving. James Starks played a great game. His numbers don't suggest that, but he kept the Falcons honest and provided a legitimate running threat. He's a fighter. I like his running style.

Kuhn finding paydirt!

Another day in the life for Des Bishop - 6 tackles. And a fumble recovery. Guy can play.

Thought Charlie Peprah did a solid job against the run. Credited with 8 tackles, he did a good job in run support early in the game.

Donald Driver moving sticks on a crossing route over the middle! Some things in life never get old. That's one of 'em.

How about we sign CM3 to a lifetime deal! Watching him walk off the field with his bad-ass mentality was an elite image in my mind.

Aaron Rodgers shakin' his hips to escape Atlanta defenders. Epic.

James Jones - sporting yellow gloves & yellow wrist bands - grabbing everything in sight. Hopefully, this becomes a string of things this week with another solid performance.

BJ Raji as lead blocker! Calling himself the "FREEZER!" Good coaching.

Offensively, we had 4 TD drives that were 80 yards or more. Almost unimaginable.

Sammy Swagga sporting yellow wrist bands. Just sayin'. Fashion statement. I need myself some of those.

Fun to watch T-Mon baiting QB's into making bad decisions.

The defense finished with 5 sacks & forced 4 turnovers.

The Green Bay Packers v the Chicago Bears. A berth in the Super Bowl on the line. The NFL's oldest rivalry in peak form. 22 degrees. No precipitation. Little wind. Football weather. This is grand.

By now, if you've been following along, you know my disdain for the Bears. If not, plainly stated, it's enormous.

Once again, the Packers will take the greatest show in the NFL on the road. And once again, I'm feeling confident. Eerily confident. We've got the better QB. We have better players on the perimeter - on both sides of the ball. We'll be able to win the middle of the field. My concerns are minimal, but they exist. Julius Peppers scares me. So does the Bears ability to run the ball with a combination of Forte & Chester Taylor. Outside of that, I believe that we're unquestionably the better team.

Frankly, the Bears feel the exact same way. They didn't want us in the dance. They did everything in their power to eliminate us in Week 17. They did not want this game. And, honestly, I believe that this is the match-up McCarthy wanted.

This game will require PATIENCE! Especially offensively. The Bears will stay in their single high safety, cover 2 defense for the majority of the game. They'll blitz infrequently. They dare us to take a chance. They'd love it if Rodgers took a shot down the middle of the field. The Bears would feel like they could win that play. Don't expect Rodgers to take that gamble.

Expect the Packers to move the ball effectively - as they normally do against Chicago. The Bears will utilize their bend but don't break defense. The Packers will consistently find themselves in Bears territory, but whether they're able to have success inside the Bears 35 will determine the outcome of the game. If the Bears can hold the Packers to FG's or pooch punts, it'll be a nail-biter throughout. If the Packers continue to have success finding the end zone, we'll be dancing in the streets for the next two weeks in preparation for the Super Bowl.

I foresee a big game out of James Starks. Another 100 yard performance, including a BIG run. Packers line up strong side right. Crabtree in motion. I-Form. Quinn Johnson leading the way. Starks runs to the weakside. Clifton pushes Peppers forward, allowing Peppers into the offensive backfield. Starks slips between Colledge & Clifton. Starks is off to the races. It might be a 55 yard TD run.

All day, I envision Quinn Johnson's hat on Urlacher's hat. Urlacher falling backwards. Starks running through Briggs & into the secondary. As our horse, Starks is punishing the Bears defense.

We know that the Bears will give us the underneath routes. Then, they'll try to strip it. BALL SECURITY FIRST! Mandatory. Don't turn the ball over. Make tackles on special teams & we're headed to Dallas. Undoubtedly.

Defensively, we'll need another big game out of Erik Walden. The Bears will focus on slowing CM3. Walden will be shadowing Nutler, coming on delayed blitzes. We can't let Nutler escape the pocket as that's when he most dangerous. Walden must get home & force Nutler into erroneous choices. Further, the Bears will try to run to the left side. They'll run at Walden. They'll see some results, but we must limit the big gains. Peprah did a sound job last week against Turner. I expect Peprah to step into the box this week as well.

Sir Charles dominated the 3rd Quarter of our last contest. Continuously, he came out of a slot position to blitz Nutler. He was in Nutler's head. There will definitely be carry-over. Nutler will have his eye on Chuckie early & often. Don't be surprised if the Packers use Woodson as a decoy early in this game, which might lead to a big play for Desmond Bishop on a middle blitz.

The Bears will mix Forte & Taylor. They'll throw screens. They'll run the draw. They'll pound it at us in an attempt to keep the clock moving. They know that Nutler can't beat us. He's too mistake prone against an opportunistic defense.

I don't expect Rodgers to have a magical night like he did last week. I envision him as having a steady game. Managing the game. 225 yards. 3 more TD's. 0 interceptions.

I see the Packers getting to Nutler at least 4 times. I see at least 2 turnovers.

Once again, the Packers start out on defense. After a 1st down, the Bears are forced to punt.

Starks begins to pound away. Rodgers finds Driver for a 1st down. Jones on a comeback grabs 12. Quinn Johnson knocks Urlacher to the ground with a punishing blow. Starks is in the Bears secondary. Galloping with force. Rodgers finds Donald Lee for a Packer Touchdown!

The Bears respond by trying to get Olsen involved on short routes. They try him on a seam route, but Nintendo Nick steps in front & it's a vintage Nutler interception.

With the Packers leading by 7, the Bears look to pick on Sammy Swagga. The try the back shoulder deep ball to Johnny Knox. This time Sammy turns his head and gives the Packers the ball back. I'll guarantee that the Bears will take at least three deep shots against Sammy. He'll be up to the task.

With the Packers up 14 late in the 3rd, Rodgers gets the ball back. It's the Championship Drive. Rodgers hits Jennings on a deep ball against Tim Jennings. We can beat Tim Jennings deep. Greg Jennings > Tim Jennings. Every day. Especially this Sunday.

We let the dogs loose on defense. We're barking at Nutler. We're coming after him.

The Packers are raising the Halas Trophy at Soldier Field. It's trump card forever. It's tasty. Much like Jim McMahon winning as many Super Bowls with the Packers as he did with the Bears.

Be loud. Be Proud, G-Force.

Packers 31. Bears 17.

The Bears Still Suck.

Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

1 comment:

Michael J. said...

Pack hasn't run on anyone who stops the run. That won't change this week. Earl Bennett's absence from the week 17 match up was big, and largely ignored. If the Bears can run, it'll be close. Starks running over Briggs? Sober up.

What better way to get into the Super Bowl? Unfortunately, my team will fall short unless the Packers turn it over, or get too aggressive with their blitz scheme. I do see some match up gains with Bennett in the line up, however. He and the RB coming out of the backfield should be able to win their match ups. A special teams play from Hester or Manning could flip this score, but I dont see it. Have fun in Dallas.

Packers 23
Bears 16