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