No Sleep Till Football

Like Brooklyn Except It's Football

NFL Championship Games

Worst case scenario for me is a Super Bowl featuring the Steelers & Bears. Historically it’s a great game. We’ve actually never had a Super Bowl between these two historically great teams, but as a kid growing up in Southern Indiana, I couldn’t HATE these teams more.

I grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan. I suspect that when Peyton leaves Indianapolis, I’ll go back to slurping my Cowboys like I always have. Since Manning has come to Indianapolis, the Cowboys haven’t been very good so it’s easy to kind of slide back your intimacy with a particular team. The Cowboys are still my favorite team, but they are now my #1A to the Colts solid #1 status. Those rankings will switch when #18 retires. With that said, how can you NOT hate the Steelers with all your being if you are a Cowboys fan. The other other team I might hate more than the Steelers is the 49ers, but even then I don’t know. With San Francisco getting Jim Harbaugh as HC, the Steelers are firmly entrenched as the team I absolutely hate the most.

Growing up in Southern Indiana, you got two teams all the time before the Colts came to Indianapolis (and even a little bit after they came) & the Titans came to Nashville, we were fed daily Sunday football games featuring the Chicago Bears & Miami Dolphins. The Bears because they were the closest regional team, but the Dolphins because Bob Griese was from the area. SW Indiana back in the day was covered with Bears & Dolphins fans. This of course caused me to hate the Bears with a passion. In the days before NFL Sunday Ticket, you got the games your regional stations picked up and for me it was the Bears in the NFC and not the Cowboys. Of course as a kid I didn’t understand this and it made me extremely mad that I had to watch the idiot Bears instead of my beloved Cowboys.

Why is this a problem? In Week 15, the Jets traveled to Pittsburgh and beat the Steelers 22-17. I don’t know if it’ll be a problem, but as much as I hate Pittsburgh, they are more than a solid team. Beating them twice in their own house in the same season within a 6-week period is a HUGE undertaking. I’m not sure Mark Sanchez can get it done. The other thing that bothers me a bit is that Rex Ryan really played the whole “it’s personal” card against both Peyton Manning & Bill Belichick. He’s not playing this card against the Steelers & Mike Tomlin. Understandably, he doesn’t have the same motivation. Manning has basically owned Ryan his entire career while Belichick is considered the best coach in the NFL and Ryan resides in the same division. Those two games are personal. What history does Ryan really have with Pittsburgh? Frankly, quite a bit because he was the DC at Baltimore who played Pittsburgh twice each season. During his 4 seasons as DC for the Ravens, Baltimore was 4-5 against the Steelers including an 0-3 stint in 2008 that saw Pittsburgh defeat the Ravens twice in the regular season along with beating them in the AFC Championship game. As the Jets HC, he’s 1-0 against Pittsburgh with the win coming this year. If anything, this is personal for Ryan although he’s not playing the card.

Rex will have the boys playing extremely hard, but beating Pittsburgh twice at Heinz Field in the same year? It seems hard, but it actually happened in 2007 when Jacksonville beat Pittsburgh 29-22 in week 15 and then turned around and beat them again 31-29 in a wild card game 3 weeks later with both games at Heinz Field. The Jets will try to pull off something similar this season in order to get to the Super Bowl.

The Packers are in a similar spot although a bit different. In Week 3 the Bears beat Green Bay 20-17 at Soldier Field. In the last week of the season, however, Green Bay returned the favor & beat Chicago 10-3 at Lambeau. This isn’t a situation where Green Bay has to beat Chicago at Soldier Field twice in one season, but it is one in which Green Bay has to beat Chicago twice in a season in order to get to the Super Bowl. You might wonder what has happened between these two giant historical teams in the playoffs, but believe or not, this will be only the 2nd time in history the two teams have met in the playoffs. The first and only time Green Bay & Chicago have met in the postseason came in 1941! The Bears beat the Packers 33-14 in a divisional game in Chicago.

To me there are quite a few storylines worth noting in both games with significant meaning involving the coaches & quarterbacks. One thing is for sure, there are certainly dilemmas because these playoffs have taught us that it’s a bad omen to bet against Ben Roethlisberger, Rex Ryan & Aaron Rodgers.

ROAD HOME PREDICTION
It makes me want to puke, but I think the Steelers win this game. Mark Sanchez is still too young & I think Pittsburgh forces him into a couple mistakes. Big Ben has been here before & I don’t think NYJ can beat PIT in Heinz Field twice so close together. The Steelers have a better defense than NEP & I think guys like Ward & Wallace will make some big plays. Sanchez won’t get to a Super Bowl in year #2. Rexy will have to wait awhile longer to get a ring.
I think the Bears get hammered here. Jay Cutler is playing well & I think I’ve underrated the Bears all season long, but Aaron Rodgers is playing out of his mind and the Green Bay defense is just ridiculous at this point. You start to get a feel for “destiny” with the Packers. Rodgers is going to establish himself in the same class as Manning & Brady. He may even surpass them if he wins the Super Bowl. The Packers are built to be a dynasty right now. GB rolls.
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January 19, 2011 - Posted by | Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, NFL Playoffs, Pittsburgh Steelers

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