NFC Championship Preview: Packers @ Bears

SUNDAY, JANUARY 23

GREEN BAY PACKERS-NFC NORTH (12-6) AT CHICAGO BEARS-NFC NORTH (12-5)

SERIES

 

PACKERS

BEARS

LEADER (REG. SEASON)

91-83-6

STREAKS (REG. SEASON)

4 of past 6

COACHES VS. OPP.

(REG. & POSTSEASON)

McCarthy: 5-5

Smith: 8-6

COACHES PLAYOFF RECORD

3-2

3-2

VS. COMMON OPP.

(REG. SEASON)

GB: 6-4 (Buf. 1-0, Det. 1-1, Mia. 0-1, Min. 2-0, NE 0-1, NYG 1-0, Phi. 1-0, Was. 0-1)

Chi.: 7-3 (Buf. 1-0, Det. 2-0, Mia. 1-0, Min. 2-0, NE 0-1, NYG 0-1, Phi. 1-0, Was. 0-1)

PLAYOFF RECORD

27-16

17-17

LAST WEEK

W 48-21 at Falcons

W 35-24 vs. Seahawks

LAST GAME (REG. SEASON)

1/2/11: Bears 3 at Packers 10.  Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers throws TD pass to TE Donald Lee in 4th quarter for decisive points as Packers earn playoff berth.  

LAST GAME AT SITE

(REG. SEASON)

9/27/10: Packers 17 at Bears 20.  Chicago K Robbie Gould converts 2 FGs in final 4 minutes, including game-winning 19-yarder with 4 seconds left, to lift Bears. 

LAST PLAYOFF

12/14/41: Packers 14 at Bears 33.  Chicago uses 24 point 2nd quarter to overcome 7-6 deficit en route to playoff victory. 

BROADCAST

FOX (2:00 PM CT): Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver & Chris Myers (Field reporters).  Westwood One Radio: Kevin Harlan, Randy Cross, Mark Malone (Field reporter).  SIRIUS: 124 (WW1), 125 (GB), 123 (Chi.).  XM: 124 (WW1), 103 (GB), 102 (Chi.)

 

REGULAR SEASON STAT LEADERS

PASSING

Rodgers: 312-475-3,922 (3C)-28 (T3C)-11-101.2 (1C)

Cutler: 261-432-3,274-23-16-86.3

RUSHING

B. Jackson: 190-703-3.7-3

Forté: 237-1,069-4.5-6

RECEIVING

Jennings: 76-1,265 (2C)-16.6-12 (T1C)

Knox: 51-960-18.8-5

OFFENSE

358.1

289.4

TAKE/GIVE

+10 (2C)

+4

DEFENSE

309.1 (2C)

314.3

SACKS

Matthews: 13.5 (2C)

Idonije, Peppers: 8

INTs

T. Williams: 6 (T2C)

C. Harris, Tillman: 5

PR

T. Williams: 8.0

Hester: 17.1 (1L)

KR

Nelson: 22.5

Manning: 24.7

PUNTING

Masthay: 43.9

Maynard: 40.1

KICKING

Crosby: 112 (46/46 PAT; 22/28 FG)

Gould: 110 (35/35 PAT; 25/30 FG)


NOTES

CLUBS MEET for 182nd time (incl. playoffs), most in NFL history...Bears lead all-time series 92-83-6, incl. 1-0 in playoffs.  Chicago won only postseason meeting (1941 Division Playoff) 33-14.  Teams split 2010 series 1-1.

PACKERS:  Have won 12 NFL championships, most all-time.  Packers have 27 postseason victories, 3rd most in NFL history.  Team will play in NFC Champ Game for 2nd time in past 4 seasons.  Last week, scored team postseason record 48 points, 2nd most by road playoff team in NFL history (73, Chicago, 1940 NFL Championship).  Packers are 1st team in NFL history to score 45+ points in game in back-to-back postseasons.  Team's 28 points in 2nd quarter last week set franchise playoff record for most in any quarter (24, 1961 NFL Championship).  Club had 5 players selected to Pro Bowl: T CHAD CLIFTON (2nd), S NICK COLLINS (3rd), WR GREG JENNINGS (1st), LB CLAY MATTHEWS (2nd) & CB CHARLES WOODSON (7th)...QB AARON RODGERS completed 31 of 36 (86.1 pct.) for 366 yards with 3 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 136.8 rating last week.  Is 1st QB in NFL history to post 120+ rating in each of 1st 3 postseason starts (min. 15 att.).  His 10 pass TDs are most by QB in 1st 3 playoff starts & he is 1st player to throw 3+ TDs in each of 1st 3 postseason starts.  In 3 playoff games, has 129.4 rating, highest in NFL playoff history (min. 100 att.).  Had 3 pass TDs & rush TD last week & is only player in NFL history to throw for 3+ TDs & rush for TD in each of 2 different postseason games.  Led NFC with 101.2 rating.  Is 1st Packers QB with consecutive seasons with 100+ rating (103.2 in 2009).  Has 2 of top 3 marks in franchise history, trailing HOFerBART STARR's 105 rating in 1966.  Had 3,922 pass yards & his 12,394 yards since becoming starter in 2008 are 2nd most by QB in 1st 3 years as starter (KURT WARNER, 12,612)...Rookie RB JAMES STARKS is NFL postseason leader with 189 rush yards & 94.5 rush yards per game.  RB JOHN KUHN had rush TD & rec. TD last week...Packers had 3 WRs with 50+ catches each for 1st time in franchise history:  Jennings (76), DONALD DRIVER (51) & JAMES JONES (50).  Jennings tied for NFC lead with 12 rec. TDs.  Had 8 catches for 101 yards last week.  Driver has longest TD catch (90 yards) in team postseason history (2007 NFC Champ vs. NYG).  Jones aims for 4th playoff game in row with TD.  WR JORDY NELSON had TD catch last week & has TD in 2 of 3 career playoff games...CB TRAMON WILLIAMS had 2 INTs last week, incl. 70-yard INT-TD.  Marked 2nd INT-TD in NFL postseason history at end of 1st half (JAMES HARRISON, 100 yards, Super Bowl XLIII).  Aims for 3rd playoff game in row with INT.  Since joining GB in 2006, CB Woodson leads NFL with 8 INT-TDs.  Has INT-TD in each of 5 years with GB & is only player in NFL history with INT-TD in 5 consecutive seasons.  S Collins ties for 2nd with 4 INT-TDs in that span.  Has INT in 4 of past 5 games vs. Chi.  LB CLAY MATTHEWS had 2 sacks last week & has 4 sacks in 3 playoff games.  Is 1st Packer with sack in each of 1st 3 postseason games.  Finished 2nd in NFC with 13.5 sacks & is 1st Packer to start career with consecutive 10-sack seasons (10 in 2009).  LB ERIK WALDEN had career-high 3 sacks in last meeting.  DT B.J. RAJI had 1st playoff sack last week.  S CHARLIE PEPRAH had INT in last game vs. Chi.

BEARS:  Advanced to postseason for 25th time.  Won NFC North for 3rd time under head coach LOVIE SMITH.  Bears have won 10 division titles since 1970 merger.  Have won 9 NFL championships, 2nd most all-time.  Team will play in NFC Champ Game for 2nd time in past 5 seasons.  Club had 4 players selected to Pro Bowl: LB LANCE BRIGGS (6th), KR DEVIN HESTER (3rd), DE JULIUS PEPPERS (6th) & LB BRIAN URLACHER (7th)...QB JAY CUTLER made postseason debut last week & accounted for 4 TDs (2 pass, 2 rush).  Is 2nd player in NFL history (HOFer OTTO GRAHAM) with 2+ pass & 2+ rush TDs in playoff game.  Posted 111.3 rating last week.  In career, when he has 100+ rating, his teams are 22-0 (7-0 in 2010).  Passed for 3,274 yards, 3rd highest total in team history.  Had 3,666 yards last year & is 1st QB in franchise history with consecutive 3,000-yard seasons.  Had 23 pass TDs & is 1st Bears QB with 20+ TD passes in back-to-back years (27 in 2009).  Cutler & HOFer SID LUCKMAN (1943, 1947) are only QBs in team history with multiple seasons with 20+ pass TDs...RB MATT FORTÉ had 1,616 scrimmage yards (1,069 rush, 547 rec.) & joined HOFer WALTER PAYTON (1983) as only Bears with 1,000+ rush yards & 500+ rec. yards in season.  Forté & HOFer GALE SAYERS are only players in franchise history with 1,000+ scrimmage yards in each of 1st 3 seasons.  Had 151 scrimmage yards (91 rush, 60 rec.) in last meeting.  Posted 134 scrimmage yards (80 rush, 54 rec.) vs. Sea.  RB CHESTER TAYLOR had rush TD last week...TE GREG OLSEN had 3 catches for 113 yards (37.7 avg.) & TD (58 yards) last week.  His 113 yards are most by Bear TE in playoff game.  Had 5 rec. TDs, 3rd consecutive season with 5+ TDs.  Is 1st Bears TE with 5+ rec. TDs in 3 seasons in row since HOFer MIKE DITKA (1961-64).  WR-KR-PR DEVIN HESTER holds NFL record with 14 career combined KR-TDs (10 PR, 4 KR) in reg. season.  Also had 92-yard KR-TD in SB XLI, only KR-TD in team postseason history.  Averaged 17.1 yards per PR (564 yards, 33 PR), best single-season mark in NFL history (min. 30 PR).  Has 2 PR-TDs in career vs. GB, incl. 62-yarder in Week 3.  WR JOHNNY KNOX averaged 18.8 yards per catch (51 receptions, 960 yards), highest in NFC by player with 50+ receptions.  Averages 23.5 yards per catch in career vs. GB (11 catches, 259 yards)...LB Urlacher reached 100 tackles for 10th time in 11-year career.  Joined HOFers MIKE SINGLETARY (10), DICK BUTKUS (8) & BILL GEORGE (8) as only Bears LBs to be selected to 7+ Pro Bowls.  LB Briggs reached 100 tackles for 7th season in row.  Joined Singletary (10), Butkus (8) and George (8) as only Bears LBs to be selected to 6+ Pro Bowls in row.  Since entering NFL in 2002, DE Peppers has 89 sacks, 3rd most in NFL.  DE ISRAEL IDONIJE tied Peppers for team lead with career-high 8 sacks.  For 1st time since 1986, Bears had 3 players with 4+ INTs: S CHRIS HARRIS (5), CB CHARLES TILLMAN (5) & CB D.J. MOORE (4).  Tillman had INT (42 yards) & FR in last meeting.  DT TOMMIE HARRIS had 2 sacks last week.  Aims for 3rd in row vs. GB with sack.

   

"It doesn't get any better than the NFC Championship coming down to the Packers on our turf," says Chicago head coach LOVIE SMITH, who will try and claim the George Halas trophy for the second time in the past five seasons.  "It's the Packers and Bears to finish it up."

The teams will meet for the 182nd time, the most in NFL history, but just the second postseason meeting.  The previous playoff matchup was on December 14, 1941 when GEORGE HALAS' Bears defeated CURLY LAMBEAU's Packers 33-13 at Wrigley Field to claim the Western Division.   

"They know who we are," says Packers Pro Bowl wide receiver GREG JENNINGS.  "They know how we operate.  And we know who they are.  We know how they operate.  Obviously we've played them twice already.  Two close games that could have gone either way.  And here we are again, when it really counts this time." 

The two teams split the season series with each club winning at home.  Both games were decided by one score. 

"We're a championship-caliber football team," says Green Bay head coach MIKE MC CARTHY.  "We've had 16 quarters on our mind.  We've completed eight of them.  We have an opportunity to play four more this week.  We feel very good about who we are, the way we've played, our brand of football in all three areas, and that's what we're sticking to." 

In the Divisional round, both teams had impressive quarterback play.  The Packers' AARON RODGERS threw for three touchdowns and ran for another and the Bears' JAY CUTLER had two TD passes and two rushing scores. 

"We've got two quarterbacks who have won their first playoff games this year and are now ready to explode on the National Football League scene," says NFL Network analyst STEVE MARIUCCI about Rodgers and Cutler. 

The stage is set for a memorable NFC title game between two of the league's oldest rivals. 

"It's a big deal," says Bears Pro Bowl linebacker BRIAN URLACHER.  "We have a lot of history with them.  We don't like them and they don't like us.  It's a big challenge and we're excited." 

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