I will not be adding to barrage of ‘the last time these teams played in the playoffs was just a couple days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor’ clamor, because frankly, it has no bearing on anything.  These teams play each other twice a year, so we should pay attention to recent history when sizing up this game.  Chicago leads the rivalry all time, with a 93-83-6 record.  However, since 1990 it has been the Packers controlling it, posting 10 consecutive victories over the Bears from 1994-1998.  But the real story here is the Tale of Two Quarterbacks.  I’ve said it before, I hate the notion of ‘quarterback wins’, but in this case, it makes the story better- Aaron Rodgers will vanquish the ghosts of you-know-who as he rides into the sunset in a trail of interceptions and text message allegations, while Chicago paid royally for Jay Cutler, and have the chance for that to pay dividends (it helps that Josh McDaniels, you know, wasted the picks he got in Denver).

In addition to all that drama, let’s not forget defense.  These are two secondaries that have played in another universe over the last few weeks.  Tramon Williams (CB, Packers) got paid- and then showed why, making himself a household name with two last week against the Falcons and a game-clincher of Michael Vick in the wild card round.  And then there’s the defending Defensive Player of the Year, Charles Woodson.  Their defense ranks second in the NFL in sacks, and has always showed up in big games.  Chicago, meanwhile, ranks ninth in YPG allowed, and signed pass-rusher extraordinaire Julius Peppers in free agency, and he has played exceptionally well for them.  Both quarterbacks can expect to be harassed on all fronts, and using the running game to set up passing will be a deciding factor.  This will benefit whichever team wins- they face a strong defense in either team left in the AFC.

The line: Packers by 3.5

My Pick: Packers 28, Bears 17

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