- Editor's Note: I'm still waiting on Fantasy Playoffs selections from ChiTownHustler, BigT, Sdwat52, Shady, Cormonster, MikeBrownhadaPosse, IrishSweetness and enderwiggin. (Email to email@example.com)
- Editor's Note 2: I'll be re-joining my friend Trent Condon on ESPN Des Moines at 4:15 CST.
The media's attention this week, in-and-around Chicago, has been bizarre when it comes to this week's showdown between the Bears and the Packers. Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio spent most of their interview with Brian Urlacher discussing new media golden boy Aaron Rodgers, quickly becoming the heir apparent to Brett Favre in more ways than filling his vacated position. Steve Rosenbloom is becoming obsessed with fan behavior at Soldier Field. David Haugh is writing about the Packers franchise-saving efforts. (How dare he?? If he didn't save them, we wouldn't have to face them now!!!) The Sun-Times, in a desperate effort to top Brett Favre's meaningless weekend prognostication, printed 200 year-old Buddy Ryan's - not surprisingly the Bears and the Jets.
The directive is clear: write about the Bears and the Packers. Write anything about the Bears and Packers. But not one moment of that Mike & Mike interview and not one word of the articles by Rosenbloom, Haugh and some guy called Jim Litke mentioned what's important about Sunday's colossal ballgame: football plays. Remember those? The passes and runs and punts and tackles and bullrushes and double moves and strip sacks that actually will determine which team ends up in Dallas in two weeks, playing for the Super Bowl?
So let's get to football and the five Packers that frighten me heading into Sunday...
I start with the tight end for almost every opponent and last week Jeremy Bates and the Seahawks were clearly going to use John Carlson as the principle weapon in their attack. After his injury and a big drop over the middle by Cameron Morrah, they seemed to abandon that game plan for the most part. Quarless is nowhere near the player Finley was but I wouldn't be surprised to see him utilized early in the game, exploiting the gap in the deep center of the defense. If the Packers establish a run game, it'll force our linebacker up and Quarless could become lethal.
Jay Cutler has found a bit of luck with corners dropping surefire interceptions that could have altered the flow of the game. Williams has been the best defensive player in the postseason thus far (3 picks, 2 games) and if Cutler puts the ball near his hands he can expect six points going in the other direction.
Clay Matthews/Charles Woodson
Simply put: they are the blitz. The Bears offensive line/running backs must pick up their locations on the perimeter and Cutler must know to go hot when the rushers find their lanes undefended.
We all know how good a thrower of the football Rodgers is but the Bears know what they're getting from him in that department. When the Bears get shots on Rodgers, which they will, they must get him to the ground and not enable him to either (1) find open receivers downfield or (2) scramble for yardage/points. This element, the inability to get Rodgers to the ground, was the definitive factors in the Packers win Saturday night.