We're Black and Blue All Over:
CHICAGO -- IT'S HERE.
WE MADE IT.
NO MORE TIME FOR TALK.
NO NEED TO DEBATE.
THE DAY HAS COME TO PLAY THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.
GREEN BAY PACKERS.
LET'S DO THIS.
Sorry, my caps lock was jammed.
I'm writing from downtown Chicago, where we are getting a light dusting of snow that apparently will taper off in a few hours. Still, it has given us our own little white Christmas in the NFC North.
While we nervously pace the room, let's take a glance at some headlines from those who have been covering the Packers and Bears all season. I'll check back in with you from Soldier Field in a few hours:
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune on Bears coach Lovie Smith: "But if the Bears beat the Packers, it will force us to start rethinking the way we view a guy who enjoys more respect around the league than in his own city. It would be time for everyone to show Lovie a little more love."
Dan Pompei of the Tribune: "A very good chance exists the quarterbacks will decide whether the Bears or Packers goes to the Super Bowl."
Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times: "Bears-Packers, for everything. If that doesn't give you shivers, nothing will."
This game puts Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz at center stage, writes Mark Potash of the Sun-Times.
Can the Bears' offensive line stand up against the Packers' blitzes? That's one of Michael C. Wright's five things to watch in this game over on ESPNChicago.com.
Michael Wilbon of ESPNChicago.com writes of his boyhood hatred for one of these teams.
Gary D'Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "You can bet your cheesehead or your old William Perry poster that Dom Capers and Rod Marinelli, the respective defensive coordinators of the Packers and Bears, spent every waking moment last week crafting game plans to limit the effectiveness of the opposing quarterback."
Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel on Packers general manger Ted Thompson: "What got the Packers to the position they're in now is the confluence of two natural actions in the Thompson system: the maturation of young players into good players and the natural selection process of replacing good players with better ones. In theory, what you should have is a roster blossoming at the top and budding at the bottom. Whenever a blossom falls, there's a bud ready to bloom and take its place."
Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette speaks to former Packers president Bob Harlan about the decision to hire Thompson.
Mike Vandermause of the Press-Gazette: "Yes, today's game at Soldier Field between NFC North rivals is huge. Yes, it will go down as the most important game in the 182-game history of the series. Yes, the winner will dance all the way to Dallas carrying huge bragging rights, while the loser will suffer through an especially long and painful offseason. But no animosity exists between these teams, no matter how hard some try to manufacture it."
Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com traces the rising public confidence of Packers coach Mike McCarthy.
Check out who Wilde picked in this game. He is 14-4 in Packers games this season.
Seven out of 10 ESPN experts are picking the Packers.
If you want a pregame speech from the actor who plays Vince Lombardi in the currently-running Broadway show, check it out.