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Sunday Morning Bloody Mary: Fleur-de-Links January 23 - Day of Champions

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Well, today's the day we find out which two teams will square off in Super Bowl XLV for the crown our reigning NFL-Champion Saints are tightly holding onto.

While we certainly wish we were still a part of the story, there are many compelling storylines to follow in today's Conference Championship Tilts: the hallowed Bears-Packers rivalry, Aaron Rodgers v. Jay Cutler (although they won't be on the field at the same time), Big Rex v. Big Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu v. Dry, Itchy Scalp, etc.

Make the jump to dig into the links and tweets you crave...


j_bushrod7475 Trying to make it to Charlotte #roadtrip
alexbrown96 Just wanna wish my dudes good luck out there tomorrow... Win this one and your in the Super Bowl!!! You have come this far now FINISH...
alexbrown96 I can't believe that so many people ( saints fans) giving me crap for rooting on my former teammates... #smh
HeathEvans Beth & I are celebrity guest of Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares tonight at Zeke's in Metairie. #fb
jgoody76 At hornets game with channing
T_Porter22 At the SUNO vs Dillard bball game with @epdballer and @bighapp...packed house...
jgoody76 Chris Paul just made Tony Parker trip over his very own feet! Wow
jgoody76 The night I bring chan to his 1st game bball game they have a concert as the halftime show. Where are the trampolines?
j_bushrod7475 I hate when I go into a public restroom and they put an automatic paper towel dispenser but not an automatic (cont)
HeathEvans The wifey & I just saw Black Swan........... We r both now dumber!! #fb
alexbrown96 Who wants to play words with friends? no Cheating!!!!
alexbrown96 Words with friends here I come....

From the Saints Sideline

Season of highs and lows |
Sheldon Mickles - Saints avoid Super Bowl hangover, but can’t repeat.

Matt Forte playing key role for Chicago Bears |
Mike Triplett - Slidell native, former Tulane star a dual threat.

Quarterback matchups take center stage in NFL's version of final four |
Peter Finney - Teams have a way of becoming a footnote.

NFL's delirious Saints fans' pick-6 promo makes final appearance Sunday |
Dave Walker - 'It was an explosion of happiness and joy.'

NFC Championship Game

Preview: Packers at Bears | JSOnline
Bob McGinn - Basics, 5 Things to Watch, Journal Sentinel staff predictions.

Defenses study ways to slow Rodgers, Cutler | JSOnline
Gary D'Amato - Rattle Jay Cutler and confuse Aaron Rodgers. Or is it confuse Jay Cutler and rattle Aaron Rodgers?

Aaron Rodgers vs. Jay Cutler |
Dan Pompei - Quarterbacks could decide who goes to Super Bowl.

Packers’ Rodgers Handles Pressure With Ease |
Pat Borzi - Once a week or so, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers strolls into Cheese Cake Heaven, a delicatessen and bakery near Lambeau Field popular with Packers players and their wives. Deb Katers, who works the register at lunchtime, said Rodgers often chose the build-your-own sandwich option — "a turkey avocado kind of thing," she said — and exchanged playful banter with the counter staff.

Chicago Bears will use zone blitz to try to confuse Green Bay Packers |
Matt Bowen - Five-man pressure aims to force Green Bay to adjust protection scheme.

Defensive stars Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews will try to set tone of NFC championship game |
Vaughn McClure - One wears a fade hairstyle or occasionally shaves his head close to bald. The other lets his golden locks dangle from the back of his helmet in a fashion annoying to some yet appealing to others.

Packers do anything to keep warm on frigid field | JSOnline
Lori Nickel - This may be a cold-weather team, but the Green Bay Packers hate the cold weather.

Packers vs. Bears: Confident or overconfident? | JSOnline
Tom Silverstein

Four key meetings brought Chicago Bears to brink of Super Bowl |
David Haugh - Keeping Smith, signing Peppers, reaching Martz, Cutler all major components of unlikely season.

Chicago Bears-Green Bay Packers rivalry even bigger than Sunday's stakes |
Brad Biggs - Doug Buffone had not put on a Bears helmet for the first time when he learned what it was like to play the Packers.

Here's one take on the most significant games in Chicago Bears-Green Bay Packers history |
Don Pierson - It's so rare for the Bears and Packers to be playing for more than bragging rights that a magnifying glass is needed to find games approaching Sunday's importance.

Memory lane with former Packers and Bears | JSOnline
Tom Brown and Zeke Bratkowski discuss the Packers-Bears rivalry and weigh in on Sunday's NFC Championship Game.

Distant and Fading Memories of First Bears-Packers Playoff Game |
John Branch - On Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago, the Green Bay Packers and the Bears will play for the 182nd time. It will be their second postseason meeting.

AFC Championship Game

AFC championship match up: Steelers vs. Jets |
Gerry Dulac

Head to head: Steelers LB James Harrison vs. Jets LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson |
Gerrry Dulac - One. That's how many sacks the Steelers had on Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez in the Dec. 19 meeting at Heinz Field -- a surprisingly low number for a team that led the National Football League with 48 sacks in the regular season.

On the Steelers: Much ado about trick that wasn't |
Ed Bouchette - We have it on good authority that the Steelers will attempt a trick play today. They will run Isaac Redman off tackle more than one time against the Jets.

Troy Polamalu Factor in AFC Title Game |
Tony Monkovic - It's hard to miss Troy Polamalu's value to the Steelers, whether you're poring over advanced statistics or sitting on your couch watching the games.

Some With Jets Have Waited Long Time for Success |
Greg Bishop - For 11 seasons, Shaun Ellis made Jets history, felt Jets history, lived Jets history. He played home games at a stadium named after another team. He practiced in a place that symbolized the franchise, underwhelming and outdated. He knows something about Jets heartache.

Hines Ward Is Steelers’ Statesman and Unofficial Spokesman |
Judy Battista - When the Steelers’ season began, Ben Roethlisberger waited nervously behind smoked glass doors, preparing to face fans for the first time at training camp. Just as he was about to step into the unknown after an off-season of troubling behavior and damaging publicity, his teammate Hines Ward appeared beside Roethlisberger and said he would walk out with him.

Rex and Roethlisberger Big Focal Points |
Associated Press - If there's a bigger-than-life coach, it has to be Rex Ryan. His outsized personality and outlandish comments — maybe not so absurd given what Ryan's New York Jets have achieved — draw notice no matter the situation. If there's a bigger-than-most quarterback, literally and figuratively, it has to be Ben Roethlisberger. Not only because he's 6-foot-5, 241 pounds, larger than some linebackers and stronger than nearly everyone else at his position, but because his credentials on the field and troubles away from it have been, well, so noticeable.

Jets might think they're invincible against Steelers |
Gerry Dulac - It has been 42 years, almost to the day, since a mop-haired, glamour-boy quarterback from Beaver Falls sat poolside in Miami and brashly predicted a Super Bowl victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. Historians recall it as the time the fledgling American Football League finally rose up and punched the big, bad National Football League in the nose.

Head to head: Steelers LB James Harrison vs. Jets LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson |
Gerrry Dulac - One. That's how many sacks the Steelers had on Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez in the Dec. 19 meeting at Heinz Field -- a surprisingly low number for a team that led the National Football League with 48 sacks in the regular season.