Green Bay (12-6) at Chicago (12-5)

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS -

These fran­chises have a com­bined 21 NFL cham­pi­onships and 47 Hall of Famers. The Bears have nine cham­pi­onships, with the 1985 team win­ning the Su­per Bowl. They won six NFL cham­pi­onships un­der Ge­orge Halas. The Pack­ers have a record 12 NFL cham­pi­onships, with the 1966, 1967 and 1996 teams win­ning the Su­per Bowl. They won five cham­pi­onships un­der Vince Lom­bardi.

SMARTER STATS: Pack­ers QB Aaron Rodgers led his team in rush­ing three times in the last six reg­u­lar sea­son games. From that per­spec­tive, it’s a won­der his team made the play­offs at all. But when James Starks gained 123 rush­ing yards against the Philadel­phia Ea­gles and 66 yards against the At­lanta Fal­cons in the two play­off games they’ve won, the Pack­ers be­came a dif­fer­ent team.

Adding the threat of play ac­tion to Rodgers’s own mo­bil­ity turned Green Bay’s pass­ing of­fense into what you saw against the At­lanta Fal­cons, when Rodgers com­pleted six passes of 20 yards or more. He hit just 54 in all of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

Rodgers was sacked 31 times in the reg­u­lar sea­son and hit 28 more, but he’s been the NFL’s best quar­ter­back un­der pres­sure, based on Foot­ball Out­siders’ ef­fi­cien­cy­met­rics, over the past two sea­sons. It’s dif­fi­cult to know how to de­fend him at this point, but the Bears do have one ad­van­tage against Green Bay’s mul­ti­di­men­sional re­ceiver corps: They rank highly in pass de­fense ef­fi­ciency when fac­ing just about ev­ery type of re­ceiver, in­clud­ing run­ning backs and tight ends.

Chicago’s Jay Cut­ler, on the other hand, has never been great un­der pres­sure, and he’ll face an ex­treme chal­lenge. Only the Pitts­burgh Steel­ers had more sacks than the Pack­ers, and Green Bay’s mul­ti­ple fronts have con­fused Cut­ler in the past. In two games against the Pack­ers this sea­son, Cut­ler com­pleted 37 passes in 66 at­tempts (a 56.0 per­cent com­ple­tion rate) for 389 yards, 1 touch­down, and 3 in­ter­cep­tions.

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