NFL Playoff Schedule: Conference Championship Round

First up, the NFC takes center stage at 3pm on FOX as the Chicago Bears take on the Green Bay Packers. Despite the fact that the Bears are a higher seed, won the NFC North, already beat the Packers in Chicago this year, and are at home... The Packers are still 3.5 favorites in this game. It says alot about the impression the Packers have made these past two weeks first knocking off the #3 seeded Eagles on the road, then blowing out the #1 seeded Falcons in Atlanta. The line probably also reveals a little bit of distrust in the Bears. Chicago is an interesting team that despite the fact that they kept winning all year, people never seemed to really believe in.... yet here they are, one win away from the Superbowl.

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At 6pm on CBS the Steelers host the New York Jets to decide the AFC's representative in the big game. The line on this game is Steelers by 3.5 which is a pretty standard line in favor of the home team in a fairly evenly matched game. The Jets got all the headlines this week after their impressive defeat of the heavily favored Patriots last week. Pittsburgh is a different animal from New England for a lot of reasons not the least of which is that their defense is far superior. Can Mark Sanchez be nearly as efficient as he was last week when he's got Lamaar Woodley coming after him with Troy Polamalu lurking in the secondary? Polamalu missed the week 15 clash between these teams which the Jets won in Pittsburgh. The Jets will look for a repeat of that this week, but how do the Jets respond when they're not quite the underdogs they've so relished being this year?

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