While the Chicago Bears were thrashing the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday to earn a berth in the NFC championship game, a fan was spotted in the Soldier Field crowd with a sign that read: “Bring da Pack.”
It was a reference to the Green Bay Packers, who will take on the Bears in Chicago next Sunday with a Super Bowl berth on the line.
Perhaps the Bears fan should be careful what he asks for in light of the Packers’ dominating 48-21 victory over the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons on Saturday night in a divisional playoff game. The Packers are the hottest team in the NFL and their four-game winning streak includes a 10-3 thumping of the Bears at Lambeau Field earlier this month.
The Packers will try to make playoff history by becoming the first No. 6-seeded NFC team to advance to the Super Bowl. Only one other No. 6 seed in 20 years has even made it to the NFC title game.
But this Packers team, which was the underdog in both road playoff games this month at Philadelphia and Atlanta, seems unconcerned by records, seeds and odds.
“Seeds really don’t matter when you get in the playoffs,” receiver Greg Jennings said. “I think any team and any coach and any player would say that. When you make the playoffs, the seeds carry no weight. It’s a matter of execution, making sure that you do your job on every given opportunity.”
Seeds matter only in determining home-field advantage. But the Packers have proven they are capable of winning anywhere. Even in the raucous Georgia Dome, where the Falcons have been nearly unbeatable over the past three years, the Packers looked and felt comfortable.
This is a team that thrives on adversity. A rash of injuries couldn’t keep them down. Six regular-season losses by four points or fewer didn’t deter them. And playing in hostile environments only spurs them to greater heights.
“Our main thing is this whole season we’ve been through adversity,” receiver James Jones said. “If somebody starts out on us and goes up on us in points, we just continue to say on the sideline we’ve been through adversity. We just keep fighting.”
The Packers will bring a certain swagger to Soldier Field that shouldn’t be mistaken for cockiness. They’re confident but know what they’re up against in the Bears.
“I tell people all the time it’s a good thing to talk, but you still got to play,” receiver Donald Driver said. “You’ve got to put your pants on and go to work regardless of the situation.”
Their impressive performance against the Falcons was nice, but it’s only a stepping stone to their ultimate goal.
“It just means we need to go out next week and duplicate it,” tackle Chad Clifton said. “We need to play well. We’ve got a big game next week.”
Come Sunday, Bears fans that are asking for the Packers will get their wish.
Mike Vandermause is sports editor of the Press-Gazette.