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It has now come down the conference championships. Both games are the #2 seed taking on the #6 seed.
In the AFC, the Steelers played a tough game against the Ravens, and came out on top. The Jets battled the Colts and the Patriots, no easy task, and were able to pull out wins in both games.
In the NFC, the Bears took care of the Seahawks in their postseason debut. Cutler looked good for his first career playoff start. On the other side, the Packers defeated Philadelphia and then dismantled Atlanta the following week.
Packers @ Bears: Sunday at 3:00 EST
The Packers have been the hot team throughout the playoffs. Winning in Philadelphia and Atlanta is no easy task. Meanwhile, the Bears have been over-achieving in every aspect this year. They are still under-estimated by many NFL fans. They will finally get their shot to prove themselves with this game. The key for Chicago will be to stop Green Bay’s defense from pressuring Cutler. Cutler will break in half when pressured, and the Packer’s DB’s, specifically Tramon Williams, who has been on fire this postseason with three interceptions, will be ready to grab any ball Cutler leave’s hanging while trying to avoid the pressure. The Packers need to do a better job of protecting Rodgers as well. In Atlanta at the dome, he was able to move around with ease to avoid sacks, but with the slick Soldier Field grass, it will be tough to do so. GB can’t allow defensive lineman/linebackers to get a free run at Rodgers. Whichever defense brings more pressure to the QB and forces the most mistakes will win, and GB’s defense has peaked at the right time. I’ll take GB 20-10.
Jets @ Steelers: Sunday @ 6:30 EST
The Jets are the other sixth seed still alive in the playoffs. Rex Ryan has been pretty quiet so far this week, but for how long that will keep going no one knows. That fact is that the Jets have found their defense again. They are peaking at the perfect time, and it could spell disaster for the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s offensive line has been seriously hurting this year as well, and they are no where close to 100%. Big Ben is going to have to what he does best; and that is keeping the play alive. If the Jets can get to him early and often, the Steelers could be staying home. The Steelers defense is better overall, and with Troy Polumalu playing, things will be different than before when the Jets beat the Steelers without Polumalu. Sanchez has performed well, but has yet to play a real defense in the playoffs. It will be a very close game, but the Polumalu factor will be too much for the Jets offense to handle, and the Steelers win a close one, 21-17.