A quick look at this weekend’s NFL matchups…
GREEN BAY PACKERS (12-6) AT CHICAGO BEARS (12-5)
Kickoff: 3:00 p.m. / FOX-TV
Line: Packers by 3.5 / Over-Under 44
Overview: The Packers hit the road for the third straight week of the playoffs. After knocking off the Eagles and the Falcons respectively, Green Bay now is set to face Chicago for the third time this season. The Bears took the first game in Week 3 at home 20-17, but fell to the Packers 10-3 in Week 17. That win propelled Green Bay into the postseason and they have followed it up with a pair of impressive wins at Philadelphia and Atlanta.
Aaron Rodgers has been amazing thus far in the playoffs and is going to be tough to cool off. However, the Bears have had some success with it in the past. Both defenses have played top notch of late. The Packers’ recently-discovered running game will likely not be a factor against a Chicago D that held them to 63 yards rushing per game in two tilts this season. The game will likely come down to Jay Cutler. If the Bears’ signal caller can play near the level he did against the Seahawks, the home team will likely prevail.
My Pick: I don’t trust Cutler and I picked the Packers to win it all in August. Green Bay will make them wish they had knocked them out. The Bears contain Rodgers, but not enough to win…PACKERS 23, BEARS 17
NEW YORK JETS (13-5) AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS (13-4)
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. / CBS-TV
Line: Steelers by 3.5 / Over-Under 38.5
Overview: The sixth-seeded Jets find their way back to the AFC Championship game for the second straight season. To get there, Rex Ryan’s troops came up with impressive road wins over Indianapolis and New England. Quarterback Mark Sanchez continues to sizzle in the postseason and the Jets’ defense is living up to its pre-season billing. The Steelers mounted a rally to comeback and beat the Ravens last week after having a first-round bye. The two teams met at Heinz Field in December and the Jets walked away with a 22-17 victory.
Unlike the playoff’s first two opponents, the Jets are going to meet a team that will match them physically. The Steelers have the home-field advantage, but they are 6-3 this season at home and have lost there in the playoffs several times in recent years. Ben Roethlisberger has two Super Bowl rings and talented receivers around him, but Pittsburgh’s offensive line has struggled all season due to injuries. The Jets are going to have to get pressure to come out victorious.
My Pick: The Jets will pull it out on the road by shutting down Pittsburgh and make them one dimensional. Santanio Holmes is productive in his day of revenge…JETS 20, STEELERS 17