When the Packers travel to Soldier Field to take on the Bears in the NFC Championship game, they’re going to be playing on a surface that’s been almost universally hailed as terrible. “While his teammates were considerably more kind in their assessments of Soldier Field’s turf, Greg Jennings did not mince words, calling the playing surface ‘probably the worst in the league,’” writes Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.
Despite the concerns… “The general manager of Soldier Field, the site of the NFC Championship Game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, said Monday that the Chicago Park District and the Bears have no plans to replace the sod in advance of Sunday’s game,” reports Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. That being said, the NFL apparently will have the final decision in whether to replace the turf.
Players still remember the pain of the 2007 NFC Championship game loss to the New York Giants. “There are 23 players on the Packers’ 53-man roster that were on the team in 2007, including 10 returning starters,” writes Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. The Giants were the lowest seeded team ever in the NFC to advance to the Super Bowl. Ironically, if the Packers were to win on Sunday, they’d be the lowest seeded team from the NFC to ever make the Super Bowl. Jason Wilde pens a similar article.
Sunday will mark the third consecutive road game for the Packers in the playoffs. “After going 3-5 away from Lambeau in the regular season, the Packers have won at Philadelphia and Atlanta,” writes Lori Nickel of the Journal Sentinel. “In those hostile environments, they’ve only had three offensive penalties.” Rob Demovsky of the Press-Gazette writes a similar article.
There’s a feeling that these two opponents know everything about each other, meeting now for the third time this season. “The fact these two teams played on Jan. 2 in the regular-season finale speaks even more to a sense that neither team is going to fool the other,” writes Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel. “Facing a must-win to make the playoffs, the Packers pulled out a hard-fought, 10-3 victory at Lambeau Field.”
Right tackle Bryan Bulaga was named to the NFL’s All-Rookie team. “Since the team, which is recognized as the official all-rookie team, was originated in 1974, the Packers have had three other tackles selected: Mark Koncar in 1976, John Michels in ’96 and Ross Verba in ’97,” writes Bob McGinn of the Journal Sentinel. Bulaga was the only rookie to make the team. I thought the argument could have been made that Tim Masthay should make the team, but Zoltan Mesko of New England was the punter.
Tramon Williams‘ film-study habits are documented by Kareem Copeland of the Press-Gazette. “No one should ever accuse Tramon Williams of not being bright,” writes Copeland. “The Green Bay Packers cornerback knew he had a lot to learn coming out of college as an undrafted free agent. Picking film junkie Charles Woodson as a tutor was likely a $33.074 million decision as the fourth-year player earned a four-year extension with his play this season.”
While the Bears are historically known for being a tough defensive team, the Packers might have the better one this year. “The Chicago Bears are called the “’Monsters of the Midway’ and their defense, led by Brian Urlacher, has earned consistent praise over the years,” writes Bill Huber of Packer Report. “And that probably will be the case nationally this week, but it’s the Green Bay Packers who rank second in the league in scoring defense (15.0 points per game) while the Bears are fourth (17.9).” The Associated Press writes a similar article.
Former Packers quarterback Brett Favre officially filed his retirement papers with the league. “Favre certainly is familiar with the protocol,” writes Bill Huber. “He filed the paperwork to the league upon retiring from the Packers and again the following year with the Jets.” Kareem Copeland notes that Favre thinks the Packers will win the Super Bowl.
Cliff Christl takes a look back at the historic 1941 playoff matchup between the Bears and the Packers at Wrigley Field for the Press-Gazette.
West Coast Offensive is high on the Packers.