Sun January 23, 2011

NFL's Final Four Battle For The Super Bowl

With spots in the Super Bowl up for grabs, four teams take to frozen fields today. In Chicago, the Bears play host to the Packers, in Pittsburgh, the the New York Jets try to prevent the Steelers from playing in their third Super Bowl in the last six years.

The New York Jets began the year by breaking with NFL protocol and predicting that they would be going to the Super Bowl. No one asked perennial power Pittsburgh for their opinion, but they weren't about to simply cede AFC supremacy to a bunch of cocky New Yorkers.

The Steelers had their own affairs to look after following the four-game suspension imposed on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to begin the year. The Steelers persevered, ending the regular season with a 12-4 record. One of those losses was to the Jets at home a little over a month ago. The Steelers have been the Super Bowl seven times, winning six of those games. The Jets' only championship game appearance was a victory in Super Bowl III.

The Bears and Packers have played each other 181 times in their storied history, but only once before in the playoffs. Their second post-season showdown will pit a very solid Bears defense against a Packers offense that has sputtered at times, but is now playing extremely well.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers has shown himself to be perhaps the most skilled young passer in the league. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, on the other hand, is prone to throw interceptions. Even though the Bears have the better record and home field advantage, they're still slight underdogs in the game. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.