Sunday Morning Bloody Mary: NFL Playoff Schedule, Time, Odds, Announcers

Fooch's Note: Check out our AFC Championship statistical preview/open thread HERE

Fooch's Note: Check out our NFC Championship statistical preview/open thread HERE

And so we're at the penultimate round of the 2011 NFL Playoff Schedule. The AFC and NFC Championship games are upon us and while it's hard to root for any of the remaining teams, we can at least try and root for some quality football today. The 2011 NFL playoffs started out impressively with three fun and competitive games in the wildcard round. The divisional round was not nearly as entertaining with less competitive matchups.

Florida Danny will have a matchup preview that we'll use as an open thread a little later today. In the meantime I thought I'd update my rooting order for the final four of the 2011 NFL Playoffs. After that I've got some thoughts on the two games. Here's the twelve original playoff teams with eliminated teams crossed out.

1. Green Bay Packers
2. Baltimore Ravens

3. New England Patriots
4. Atlanta Falcons
5. Chicago Bears
6. Seattle Seahawks
7. New York Jets
8. Pittsburgh Steelers

As you can tell, I'm running out of my top half of teams to root for. Based on these rankings, the Bears and Steelers would qualify as me least root-able Super Bowl. After the jump I've got rankings updated for the final four.

1. Green Bay Packers - At this point this is basically about rooting for Aaron Rodgers and not much more. I suppose I'm a Charles Woodson fan as well, but really Rodgers is where it's at for me as far as the Packers are concerned. Given how far Brett Favre has fallen recently, a Rodgers Super Bowl victory would be the final nail in the coffin.

2. New York Jets - I'm entertained by the circus going on out there and really it's more a matter of who do I actually choose from this list.

3. Chicago Bears - If Jay Cutler wasn't quite so unlikeable I might be pulling for them in this thing. It's probably a little childish on my part, but who really cares at this point.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers - Whereas the Packers being number one is because of Aaron Rodgers, the Steelers are number four largely because of Ben Roethlisberger. Consider them mirror opposites.

Sunday, Jan. 23
NFC ChampionshipChicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field, noon pacific on Fox.
Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Chris Meyers and Pam Oliver
Odds: Packers -3

Has one game and its odds ever swung so wildly based on quarterback play? The oddsmakers have the Packers sitting as a three point favorite on the road. This is likely due to Aaron Rodgers' strong performances this postseason. At the same time, I wouldn't be surprised if some oddsmakers had at least a small feeling that Jay Cutler is due for a massive implosion.

Even though his Bears were victorious last weekend, it always feels like Cutler is mere moments away from an absolutely hideous pass that is intercepted and run back for a touchdown. If the Packers win today, I'm fairly certain Jay Cutler will have made at least one horrific mistake. Aaron Rodgers can lead his team to victory without Cutler blowing it, but I just feel like Cutler is due for a big mistake.

Sunday, Jan. 23
AFC ChampionshipPittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Jets at Heinz Field, 3:30pm pacific on CBS.
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
Odds: Steelers -3

I don't think I can make my feelings about Ben Roethlisberger any more clear than I have thus far. I just don't like him. Throw in my disdain for Hines Ward (still unexplained) and I just can't root for the Steelers. I've already written some of my thoughts on the Jets and at this point I'm rooting for them in this matchup. Once the Super Bowl gets going all bets are off, but for today, I'm sticking with the Jets.


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