Hop picks Bears, Jets
Most of the sports talk-show "experts" feel that the Green Bay Packers' Rodgers is the best of the four quarterbacks remaining in the NFL playoffs, and that the Packers will walk into Soldier Field Sunday and sack the Bears, earning a Super Bowl spot.
Okay, Rodgers has a year of experience on the Jets' Mark Sanchez. He's better than the unpredictable Jay Cutler of Chicago. But better than Ben (I've done my penance) Roethlisberger of Pittsburgh, who has a pair of the gaudy rings? I don't think so.
So far, Rodgers has a bunch of yards and touchdowns, a great game at Atlanta (indoors) when the top-seeded NFC Falcons had no answer for his passing game, a couple of concussions, and not even a conference title.
Sure, he looks like the real deal, if he stays off the ground, but I don't see Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Julius Peppers letting Rodgers stand upright and rip their hearts out.
The Bears have a great defense, the best return man in NFL history, and the worst field in the league. I'm taking da Bears: CHICAGO 13, Packers 9!
The Steelers are at home for an AFC championship game. They have to be favored, though the Steelers are 7-7 in AFC title games. All the Jets have done so far in the 2011 playoffs ... is win at Indianapolis and at New England, while handling future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
Of course, the line is ... they Jets can't do that three weeks in a row. But you have to love Rex Ryan. His defense is great, and confusing to the top QBs in the league, and his personality is a whole lot better than comic relief.
And Sanchez, in two seasons, has gone from being the reason that the Jets' lose, to one of the playmakers who deliver victory.
I'm taking the JETS over the newest NFL good guy, Big BEN: NY JETS 16, Steelers 13.