The happiest fanbase in the NFL during Wild Card Weekend didn’t even watch its team play.
A pair of upsets in the NFC bracket have Chicago Bears fans daydreaming about a potential NFC Championship Game against their most bitter rivals, the Green Bay Packers. The Bears, which won the NFC North and earned the second seed and the accompanying first-week bye, were expected to face either the third-seeded Philadelphia Eagles or the fifth-seeded New Orleans Saints Sunday, January 16 at Soldier Field.
But the fourth-seeded Seattle Seahawks — the worst playoff team in NFL history — stunned the defending Super Bowl champion Saints 41-36 Saturday, January 8 before the sixth-seeded Green Bay Packers knocked off the Eagles, 21-16, Sunday, January 9. As a result, the Seahawks — which are seeded higher than the 10-6 Packers by virtue of winning the NFC West even though they went 7-9 in the regular season — will visit Chicago this weekend while the Packers will head south to play the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons.
While Bears players and coaches will surely say all the right things about how dangerous the Seahawks are and how they are just worried about winning this game, Chicago fans don’t have to utter such clichés. And the Bears diehards are not only assuming a win over the Seahawks, they’re also assuming the Packers — which were the anti-Seahawks in that all six of their losses were by four points or less — will take their dominant defense and newfound running game into Atlanta and upset the Falcons.
Should the Bears and Packers win, the Bears would host the NFC Championship Game Sunday, January 23. It would be the NFL-record 182nd meeting between the teams — but only the second ever in the playoffs.
James Magoonaugh, owner of Chicago-based RedlineTickets.com, told the Chicago Tribune that he has already fielded many calls from Bears fans interested in buying tickets to a potential NFC Championship Game. He’s not the only one: The secondary market is much hotter for a potential Bears-Packers game than it is for this weekend’s Bears-Seahawks game.
As of this afternoon, January 10, StubHub.com has 8,479 tickets available to the Bears-Seahawks tilt, the cheapest of which is a seat in Grandstand 445 tucked into the end zone behind the Bears sideline listed for $157. But secondary marketplace has just 1,870 tickets available to an NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field, the cheapest of which is listed for $325: a Grandstand 433 seat high above the Bears sideline that is beyond midfield and closer to the opposite end zone.