18 January 2011

2011 NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship Game Picks

So the 2011 NFL Season has come down to its final four for the championship, the Steelers, Packers, Bears, and Jets. So who will advance to Super Bowl XLV?
It's time for my predictions for conference championship Sunday.
Packers @ Bears (FOX, 3:00) Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Nothing like the oldest rivalry in NFL history and the heated rivals to battle it out for the George Halas Trophy. Interesting note: these teams have not played each other in the playoffs since 1941. The Packers have been rolling over the last month or so to get to this position after nearly being eliminated after the loss to the Lions and behind the golden arm of Aaron Rodgers plus an opportunistic defense have rolled on to this spot. The Bears, who still struggle to get respect, have continually plugged away to get to the NFC Championship behind solid play from quarterback Jay Cutler and a very good defense. These two clubs split their matchups in the regular season; the Bears won at home in week three while the Packers survived the Bears to make the playoff party in week 17. Based on how the Packers have been, many will be picking them as they have all postseason. But people forget the Bears know how to beat this Packer team and held them most of their matchup in the final week of the regular season scoreless before the Packers pulled away late. I think that Cutler will play a smart game with little to no errors and I think the Halas trophy will return home to Chicago as I have the Bears advancing to Arlington.
Bears 24 Packers 23


Jets @ Steelers (CBS, 6:30) Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
And we have another rematch in the 2011 Playoffs and this time it is for the Lamar Hunt Trophy. The Jets stunned the nation last week in Foxborough by defeating the Patriots at Gillette Stadium and are waving an avalanche of confidence and bravado led by their general, Rex Ryan. The Steelers rallied last week at the Ketchup Bottle to defeat their major rival, the Baltimore Ravens, in a shootout won by a huge pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown that put them in position to score the winning touchdown that proved to be the difference. The Jets got the better of the Steel Crew when they matched up in late December but can they do it again or will they fall short in the AFC Championship for the second year in the row? I think that on Sunday, Rex Ryan's club will be the ones hoisting the Hunt Trophy. The Jets will get pressure on Big Ben and force him to make mistakes like he did early against Baltimore and Pittsburgh won't be able to recover. And then it would be a little more acceptable to do backflips.
Jets 14 Steelers 10


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