I'll first start by giving the Chicago Bears coaching staff some much deserved kudos for Sunday's victory over the Seattle Seahawks. With all of the pressure as overwhelming favorites and a 10-point spread to cover, the Bears staff successfully game-planned a masterful game despite giving Vegas bettors some excitement at the end.
If Lovie Smith and company can submit another winning formula for one more week's worth of time, Chicago fans will be scrambling for flights to Dallas this time next week. Here are this Chicago sports fan's five observations going into the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.
1) You Can Only Hope To Contain Aaron Rodgers
The guy who patiently waited for Brett Favre to leave town has all the momentum in the world right now, and many signs point to Mr. Rodgers continuing his success against the Bears next week. However, if the Bears can take some notes on how Rex Ryan and the surging Jets took care of Brady and the Patriots in their playoff upset, perhaps the Bears can limit the Packers' gifted QB to only a few touchdown passes.
Some additional wrinkles in the Bears' Cover Two scheme might be enough to force Green Bay to rely a bit more on their running game, and I'd rather see the sixth round rookie Sparks with the ball in his hands than Rodgers. Just as opposing teams should be blitzing Bears QB Jay Cutler more, the Bears should apply a significant amount of rushing pressure on Rodgers. If Tommie Harris comes out of nowhere again for two sacks next week, things will be looking up for the Monsters of the Midway.
2) Win The Coin Toss, Take The ball, And Score A TD On The First Possession
OK, so you can't really control this one, but all I know is that good things seem to happen when the Bears jump out to an early lead. They seem like two completely different teams on both sides of the ball when the score is either in their favor or against. When leading, the offense is relaxed, playmaking is consistent, and Cutler is slinging the ball with ease. The defense is aggressive, excited, and plays with huge swagger.