Post-Wild Card prediction: Packers will beat Bears in NFC conference championship

January 10th, 2011 - 1:48 pm

One of my favorite expressions is, “be careful what you wish for.” It’s just as effective as, “I told you so,” but not as condescending, and usually the former is stated beforehand and the latter is stated after the fact.

Allow me to state now, two weeks ahead of time, what we’re going to witness in the conference championship. The Green Bay Packers will triumph over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field — maybe on a snowy field; I’m not sure, my crystal ball is a little foggy — amid chants from the large contingent of Packers fans that made the trip south.

“Bears still suck, Bears still suck…” the foam-wearin’ cheeseheads will be chanting. Aaron Rodgers will be strolling the sideline with a cocksure, “I told you so” grin across his face. Linebackers Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk, with their Fabio-like golden locks, will embrace each other in an uncomfortably long hug. Mike McCarthy, the Packers’ fortunate but flawed head coach, will work to squeeze his fat head inside an NFC conference champions hat, with his trademark Sharpie marker sticking out the back like Yankee Doodle.

It’ll be Packer mayhem. And it’ll sting for Bears fans, not only right then and there but for some time to come.

It is this visual that keeps running through my mind nonstop and makes me wonder why so many people were actually rooting for the Packers to beat the Eagles in Sunday’s wild card matchup.

Mike Mulligan wrote in the Sun-Times on Sunday morning: “Welcome to the upside-down world of the NFL playoffs, where even the most ardent of Bears fans will be cheering for the Green Bay Packers today.”

No, Mike. Not all of them.

David Haugh wrote in the Tibune after the Packers’ victory over the Eagles: “All those Bears fans who celebrated loudly after Packers cornerback Tramon Williams picked off Michael Vick in the final minute to clinch Sunday’s NFC wild card playoff win over the Eagles, brace yourself. … Has there ever been a Packers victory so many people in Chicago wanted so badly? … All that was missing around town was a foam Cheesehead on the Picasso sculpture at Daley Plaza.”

No, David. I cringed after Williams’ interception and if I ever see a foam cheesehead on that sculpture, I’ll have to take three showers a day for three weeks to wipe the dirty feeling away.

Rick Morrissey wrote in the Sun-Times: “Really, could it have played out any other way? No, it couldn’t have. The Bears, these soldiers of good fortune, will face sub-.500 Seattle in their first playoff game because the Seahawks stunned the defending-champion Saints on Saturday and because the Packers beat the Eagles on the road Sunday.”

Morrissey also added: “Nobody should be surprised if the Packers upset the Falcons this week so that the Bears can play the NFC Championship Game at home. And, yes, that would mean the Bears would play Green Bay for the chance to go to the Super Bowl. That wouldn’t be luck or providence or serendipity. That would just be very, very cool.”

No, Rick. It wouldn’t. It would be “very, very cool” if the Bears beat the Packers, but I don’t see that happening. Hence, it’ll be “very, very depressing” to see the hated Packers celebrating a Super Bowl berth on Soldier Field.

Why anybody would root for, not only the Bears’ rival, but in my opinion the best team in the NFC — or, at least, the NFC team playing the best football right now — is baffling.

All because you wanted the Bears to face the sub-.500 Seahawks? Was selling your soul to the football devil really worth it just to face a team that’s a little worse than the Eagles and Saints?

There’s no guarantee the Bears will even beat Seattle. Another one of my favorite expressions is, “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” And I guess, to some extent, I’m falling into the trap of already predicting a win this weekend for both the Bears and Packers. But that’s what predictions are: counting the unhatched eggs.

I would have much rather the Bears faced the Eagles this weekend if it meant the Packers were out of the playoffs. Now, I might be feeling uneasy with an eye toward the future on Sunday instead of concentrating on and enjoying the Seahawks game.

Because the Packers play Saturday night in Atlanta, we’ll know who the Bears’ opponent would be if they beat the Seahawks on Sunday. And if the Packers are sitting their licking their chops awaiting the Bears in the conference championship, I’ll be terrified if the Bears beat the Seahawks.

For those fans who actually were rooting for a good Packers team to advance in the playoffs Sunday afternoon, be careful what you wish for. You just may get a lot of heartache for your effort. And I’m afraid I might be saying, “I told you so,” two weeks from today.