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#NFL Championship Games News and Notes - January 21, 2011

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#NFL Championship Games News and Notes - January 21, 2011

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

Packers sixth-round running back James Starks could be a key figure in the NFC Championship Game, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Packers safety Atari Bigby says he's ready and willing to play this week.

Green Bay's 337-pound nose tackle B.J. Raji could make another appearance on offense against the Bears, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Snubbed on the original ballot, Packers cornerback Tramon Williams was added to the Pro Bowl roster on Thursday.

Packers punter Tim Masthay needs a repeat performance against Devin Hester this Sunday.

Bears cornerback Charles Tillman is adept at punching balls loose, writes Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune.

The Bears will be counting on their superior special teams units this Sunday.

Chicago's wide receivers will have to out-physical the Packers cornerbacks to get open, Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times writes.

Bears head coach Lovie Smith still isn't talking about his contract situation, writes Sean Jensen.

The Bears don't use the Cover-2 as much as people think, writes Michael C. Wright for ESPNChicago.

New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers

Jets linebacker Bart Scott will defend his head coach and team however he sees fit, reports Connor Orr of The Star-Ledger.

Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine met with the media on Thursday.

More comfortable this season, Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards has emerged as a leader, writes Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is one "win" away from NFL history.

Jets punter Steve Weatherford is frustrated by his touchbacks in the post-season.

Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood has played well in place of Aaron Smith, writes Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Rookie wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has emerged as an important part of the offensive attack.

The Steelers' special teams units are eager to redeem themselves against New York, writes Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Steelers linebacker James Harrison is focused on the Jets.

Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor won't hold back when it comes to hitting former teammate Santonio Holmes.

Today's NFL birthdays: Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (27), Browns running back Peyton Hillis (25), Broncos fullback Chris Gronkowski (26), Vikings offensive tackle Phil Loadholt (25), Jets linebacker David Harris (27) and practice squad wide receiver Logan Payne (26), and Raiders fifth-round cornerback Walter McFadden (24).

Retired defensive ends Jacob Green (54) and Orpheus Roye (38), wide receiver Jesse Hester (48), running back Dalton Hilliard (47), defensive tackle Grady Jackson (38), Billy "White Shoes" Johnson (59), fullback Jerald Sowell (37), offensive linemen Matt Willig (42) and Jerry Wunsch (37).

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Quote

"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."
"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
"The Bears still suck!"