The 2011 NFL Playoff Schedule reaches its penultimate round today as we get the AFC and NFC Championship Games. The Chicago Bears host the Green Bay Packers, while the Pittsburgh Steelers host the New York Jets. The winners advance to the Super Bowl, while the losers get to see their head coaches run the AFC and NFC teams at the 2011 Pro Bowl in Honolulu. It's not exactly the Super Bowl, but it's a decent parting gift. Although, now that the Pro Bowl is happening during the bye week before the Super Bowl, I wonder if we'll see somebody else coaching the teams.
Although I'm finding it hard to root for any of the remaining teams, we have a pair of matchups that could lead to some especially fun games. We've got somewhat of a rivalry matchup between the Packers and Bears in the NFC. In the AFC we've got two teams that are somewhat loathed by outside fans. And yet, both games should bring some interesting football. After the jump we'll go into some of the details.
Sunday, Jan. 23
NFC Championship: Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field, noon pacific on Fox.
Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Chris Meyers and Pam Oliver
Odds: Packers -3
Given the spread in this game, it's safe to say folks are ga-ga for former Cal star Aaron Rodgers. Even with the Packers heading on the road to the NFC North champions, oddsmakers still have Green Bay as a favorite. I can't say I'm surprised, but it's still an impressive bit of information. I'd imagine most oddsmakers are counting on a Jay Cutler meltdown at some point.
Sunday, Jan. 23
AFC Championship: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Jets at Heinz Field, 3:30pm pacific on CBS.
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
Odds: Steelers -3
This is a battle between a team with a QB I can't stand (the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger) and a team filled with attitude that has become the proverbial bad boys of the NFL. At this point I can't root for the Steelers in part because of Roethlisberger, but also because I'd prefer they not get another Super Bowl ahead of my beloved 49ers. So, it looks like I'm rooting for the Jets, Rex Ryan, and the Sanchize.