2011 NFC Championship: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
January 20th, 2011 – by Alex
In a rehash of one of the oldest and most spirited rivals in the history of the sport, this week the Chicago Bears (12-5) will host the Green Bay Packers (12-6) for a chance to win the NFC Championship and head to the Super Bowl. This game will be seen nationally on FOX at 3pm ET.
There is little love lost between fans of these rival teams. This is one of the oldest rivalries in the league dating back to 1921. Sunday’s game will be the 183rd meeting between the two with Chicago leading the series, 92-83-6. Despite their numerous meetings, the 2011 NFL playoffs mark only the 4th time both have been in the post-season simultaneously. With that said, the two have only had one meeting in the playoffs, a game that Bears won, 33-14, a little more than a week after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Just as in 1941, this game will determine which team will go on to play for the NFL Championship, or in this case the Super Bowl.
Leading his team to three road playoff victories, quarterback, Aaron Rodgers has been arguably the most impressive offensive player of the postseason. With 546 yards, six touchdowns and a 134.5 passer rating to his name, the Packers quarterback absolutely destroyed the favored Atlanta Falcons last week in an effort very few people saw coming. With only five incompletions for the entire game, Rodgers surgically picked apart Atlanta’s defense with ease.
Green Bay’s newly found ground attack appeared yet again in their latest game with running back, James Starks, proving that his start to the playoffs was no fluke. For the game, the young rookie racked up 66 yards on 25 carries. While the totals don’t exactly jump off the page, the threat of the run provides just enough of a distraction to prevent opposing defenses from simply falling back and protecting against Rodgers’ passes.
Defensively, Green Bay made all the plays they needed to make forcing two interceptions and two fumble recoveries on top of their two sacks against Atlanta’s once feared offense. The turning point of the entire match up against the Falcons proved to be a defensive play when Trammon Williams brought an interception back to the house to put Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offense away for good.
The Bears meanwhile, are coming in under the radar much as they have all season long. With very few struggles on their way to an NFC North championship, Chicago caught another break when they got to play the Seattle Seahawks last week at home.
Quarterback, Jay Cutler, absolutely torched the Seattle secondary with 274 yards and two touchdowns through the air. On top of that, the versatile passer also ran for 43 yards and two scores on the ground. Tight end, Greg Olsen, shined with 113 receiving yards and one particularly memorable 58 yard scoring touchdown to start the game. Running back, Matt Forte, put up an impressive 134 yards and a touchdown in another stellar showing.
Defensively, the Bears showed their depth with both Julius Peppers and Tommy Harris going strong on that side of the ball. For the day, Harris put up two sacks of Seattle quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck. While this defensive core doesn’t have the same big name attraction value that the Bears defenses have traditionally had, they are just as, if not more so effective.
NFC Championship Betting Odds: Though this game will be played at Soldier Field, the Bears enter this game as a 3 to 3.5 point underdog, depending on which online sportsbooks are hosting the bet. Other NFL betting lines show the over/under at a total of 43.5 points, though Bodog Sportsbook has this game at a total of 44.
On the season, both teams performed well against the spread. Chicago Bears’ bettors cashed in on a 10-6-1 record against the spread while Packers’ bettors fared slightly better with a 11-7 against the spread record this season. The under hit in 11 of Green Bay’s 18 games to date, while the under hit in 9 of Chicago’s 17 games played.
Chicago Bears Betting Trends: In their last four games overall, and their last four games in January, the Bears are a perfect 4-0 ATS. Furthermore, Chicago has gone 6-1 ATS in their last seven against teams with winning records and are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games, and games against the NFC North. Finally, beware of the fact that Chicago is just 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games as a 3.5 to 10 point underdog.
Green Bay Packers Betting Trends: In their last five games overall, and their last five games against teams with winning records, the Packers have gone 4-1 ATS. Additionally, Green Bay is 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games when favored by 3.5 to 10 points. Finally, bettors should know that the Packers are just 1-5 ATS in their last six playoff games as the favorite.
Head to Head Betting Trends: Over the course of the last 12 games played in Chicago, Green Bay has covered the spread in 9 of those games. Other H2H NFL betting trends show that the under is likely to hit as it is 6-0 in the last six meetings, and 5-1 in the last six games played in Chicago.
Super Bowl XLV Odds: This game is for the right to go to the Super Bowl and represent the NFC. With that said, the odds on either team to win it all are rather favorable, especially when compared to the beginning of the season. Currently, the Green Bay Packers have 8 to 5 odds, or bet $5 to win $8. Green Bay started the season with 14 to 1 odds. On the other sideline, Chicago currently has 5 to 1 odds to win the Super Bowl, or bet $1 to win $5. The Bears began the 2010-2011 campaign with 30 to 1 Super Bowl odds.