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Roll out the barrel...?

On Sunday the 23rd the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers will meet for the 182nd time in the NFC Championship game, in what is sure to turn out to be another great game in such a long and historic rivalry between the two teams. Many have picked the Packers to win, citing Aaron Rodgers golden arm and Jay Cutler’s inconsistencies, Dom Capers defensive schemes, and the Bears offensive line woes as evidence. These observations are accurate and fair in many ways but also oversimplify the matchups and the challenges both players and their teams will face.

Aaron Rodgers status as an elite quarterback in the NFL is undeniable as he has already had an incredible year. His quarterback rating rests at 101.2 which is exemplary, made even more impressive considering the concussion that he sustained in the middle of the season. Rodgers also had to deal with other key players getting injured on his offense (Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley) but was able to persevere and end the season with an accuracy percentage of 65.7, impressive by any standards. In a short period of time Rodgers has cemented his reputation as being elusive and accurate to a standard very few others have even the abilities to achieve.

Jay Cutler’s numbers are comparable to Rodgers in some aspects, but lacking in others. His overall QB rating rests at 86.3 and the gap between him and Rodgers’ 101.2 appears larger than it is (Rodgers TDS: 28 INT: 11, Cutler TDS: 23 INT 16). This gap represents more the difference in these two quarterbacks’ philosophies, styles of play and tendencies than their abilities or effectiveness on the field. Cutler and Rodgers both have the same abilities, which are rare even by NFL standards, but Rodgers plays a much smarter and calculating style at the position. When Rodgers attacks a defense he works methodically like a surgeon whereas Cutler goes into the game with the mentality of a boxer, looking to trade jabs and look for a knockout blow.

Cutler vs. Rodgers being too close to call as a definite edge for either team brings into question the other areas of focus for each team.

Dom Capers was added as the Defensive Coordinator last year and has proven to be a fantastic addition. Capers has turned what was an awful defensive unit into a force to be reckoned with. He has achieved this with a very complicated scheme that incorporates a 3-4 defensive front and blitzes from every angle imaginable. A.J. Hawk and Clay Matthews have both blossomed in the new scheme while both having slow starts to their careers when first entering the league. The Packers are going to be relying on Capers unit to shut down the Bear’s offense, namely Cutler, in order for Rodgers to take over the game. For this to happen they are going to need to attack the Bears biggest negative focus point, the offensive line.

The Bear’s offensive line has given up over fifty sacks to opposing teams throughout the past season. To win more than five games in a season with that many sacks would be amazing, let alone to win ten as the Bears did. This is a testament to how well they played the later part of the season. The success of the team and morale of fans both reached critical mass at many point throughout the season because of this unit. Much of the Bears success will lie on which version of this unit shows up, and if they can weather the storm of blitzes that Capers will be throwing at them.

The Bears and Packers match up very well on paper and this game should prove to come down to the last possession as a result. This rivalry has a history of hard fought, vicious, and close games. This addition should not disappoint. The matchups are so close that ultimately the game should come down to the human element and which team and quarterback can deal with unforeseen challenges and improvise. This goes against Rodgers and Capers offensive and defensive game plans, which are both very detail oriented and appear to at times become confused by surprises as a result. . Though the Bears offensive line still remains an unknown it has been this way for the entire season, which has forced itself and Cutler to succeed in a hostile environment while constantly being under pressure. As a result of these factors amongst others the Bears seize the overall edge for the game and win a hard fought game on a Robbie Gould field goal, Bears 27- Packers 24.

Thus my first blog ends, and hopefully it was fun for you to read. This will be the first of many I write on the different teams in greater Chicagoland, and the writing should get more in depth and outside of the box as I get more used to the format. I am sure that there are plenty of negative and positive takes on the past article, and I look forward to reading your comments and posts (try and be courteous). Rock on and Go Bears!

2 comments:

  1. This addition should not disappoint - shouldn't it be edition? Otherwise good 1st blog, like u said maybe more outside the box to come

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  2. its kind of just a choppy sentence, really either edition or addition could work with slight revisions. I did however mean the addition of this game to the many in the rivalries story. Thanks for the feedback, I look forward to growing into this format in the next weeks to come.

    ReplyDelete