This past Sunday, the NFL season wound down to just four teams. This coming weekend is the culminating moment that every fan hopes for — the AFC and NFC Championships will determine which two teams will head to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Texas to play for the coveted Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XLV.
But before they get there, fans are going to have to pay up if they want to get into the game this weekend.
AFC Championship Game Tickets are currently going for $606 on average. The much anticipated NFC Championship, between bitter rivals Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, are almost double that at a whopping $1,015 per ticket.
NFC Championship Game Tickets*:
- 400 Level – $398/ticket
- Upper End Zone – $398/ticket
- Lower End Zone – $584/ticket
- 200 Level – $610/ticket
- 100 Level – $620/ticket
- 50-Yard Line Lower Level – $1,167/ticket
- 50-Yard Line Front Row – $2,015/ticket
*Best Price for each section For more insight on what both the Packers and the Bears need to do to achieve success and advance to Super Bowl XLV, check out the guest commentary below from two devoted fans, and bloggers.
Running with Forte: The primary key for the Bears will be getting the running game going with Matt Forte to help slow down the Packers exotic blitzing packages. If the Bears get Forte going much like they did in week 17, Cutler and the rest of the offence can feed off of Forte’s production. In week 17 Forte had 151 yards from scrimmage 91 yards on 16 carries and eight catches for 60 yards, Forte as a weapon is something that Mike Martz will likely set the tone of the game with.
Get The Tight Ends Involved: That is getting the tight ends involved, Greg Olsen and Kellen Davis an aspect of the offence that is always there that Martz hasn’t utilized as often as he perhaps should. This week though I fully expect Martz to involve the two TEs again to slow down the blitz but to also take the heat off of the Bears’ receivers who have struggled against the Packers’ more physical corners.
Strong Secondary: From the no duh department Bears corners versus the Packers wide receivers. Packers have arguably the game’s best one through four in terms of receiver talent depth and production. The Bears’ corners played their best game of the season last week against Seattle, pressing, hand checking and challenging every single pass that Hasselbeck threw, batting away balls throwing off the timing of routes, just overall being disruptive. Given the tendency of the referees to allow more physical play than usual in the playoffs this is a match up the Bears will have to press with. The overall key may be second year nickel back D.J. Moore who had a strong season from the nickel spot for the Bears in his first real game action this season.
Rush the Quarterback: There’s a famous clip from NFL Films of the scowling Bill Cowher from his younger days as coach of the Steelers where he’s trying to motivate one time pass rusher extraordinaire Greg Loyd, Cowher simply stares Loyd in the eye and taps him on the shoulder pad and says “Rush the Quarterback”. Simple and straightforward advice for Julius Peppers and the rest of the Bears front four, think Mike Vick week 12 against the Eagles, and get after Rodgers the same way.
Play Mistake-Free : Two things were real game changers when the Packers met the Bears in the regular season. In week three, the Packersset a team record with 18 penalties. They cleaned that up the second time they met the Bears, but that doesn’t mean it won’t rear it’s ugly head in this matchup. The Packers cannot afford to be dealing with mistakes if they hope to win the NFC title.
Convert More on 3rd Down: Week three was a much better showing for the Packers, their defence was especially impressive. However, they also stumbled frequently on third down. The 18% 3rd down conversion rate they posted must improve on Sunday. The Bears have a very good defence, so I don’t expect the Packers to be able to convert on 80% of their 3rd down tries, but they have to convert more in the 60% range or they’ll put their defence in a lot of tough field position.
Pass Often, Pass Well: The Packers will simply not be able to run in the early going against a pumped up Bears team that’s playing in front of their home crowd. In the past, McCarthy has spread the defence out with five-wide formations. Look for McCarthy to try that again and challenge a Bears pass defence that was 20th in the league during the regular season.
Continue Pressuring Cutler: Jay Cutler can be dangerous when he’s on the mark. On the other hand, he can make some colossally bad decisions when he gets rattled. I have a feeling that Dom Capers has some stuff up his sleeve that nobody has seen before and he’s ready to unleash it against the Bears. If the Packers can get a few sacks on Cutler (something they did three times in week three and six times in week 17) he’ll start making some bad choices. When he does, the Packer defensive backfield will start to have some fun.
The Thorn in the Packers’ Side: Finally, the Packers’ awful special teams unit will have to corral Devin Hester. Of course, the easy solution to the Hester factor is to continue scoring and never punt to him. But, since that’s unlikely, it will be up to the Packers’ special teams to minimize his impact. They did a fairly good job of that in week 17, but all it takes is one return to change the face of a game.
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