Green Bay Packers Clinch NFC North Due to Big Performances

Tyler Brooke@TylerDBrookeSenior Analyst IIDecember 16, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 16:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers after throwing a touchdown pass against the Chicago Bears on December 16, 2012 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
David Banks/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers won a tough game against their long-time rivals, the Chicago Bears.  After starting the game down by seven, the Packers scored 21 unanswered points and ended up winning 21-13.

The win gives the Packers the NFC North title and a guaranteed spot in the playoffs.  At 10-4, the Packers are now looking for a first-round bye.  After starting the year 2-3, the Packers have now won eight of their last nine games.

Aaron Rodgers had a big day after being relatively quiet last week against the Detroit Lions.  After only having only five yards passing in the first quarter, he blew up in the second, throwing for two touchdowns. 

Rodgers went 23-for-36 with 291 passing yards and three scores on the day.  Although he was sacked three times, he was able to make some big plays.

James Jones was on the receiving end of all of Rodgers' touchdowns.  While only grabbing five catches for 60 yards, his catches came at important times. 

His three touchdowns put him at 12 for the year.  This is a career high for him in a season, crushing his previous high of seven just last season.

Randall Cobb once again showed that he is an explosive player, shredding the defense.  While he a few drops, he was still able to cut into the Bears' defense.  Cobb had six catches for 115 yards on the day, including two catches for over 30.

After being sidelined for a few games, Clay Matthews returned in full force against the Bears.  He had six total tackles on the day, four of them for loss.

Matthews' pass rush was once again felt by Jay Cutler.  After sacking him three-and-a-half times in Week 2, he got him down behind the line twice this week.  The return of Matthews will be big for a defense that has had difficulty sacking the opposing quarterback the past few weeks.

Casey Hayward was in the right place at the right time as Cutler threw a horrible pass, giving him his sixth interception on the year.  Hayward leads all rookies in interceptions and is making a strong case for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

As the Packers prepare to make their playoff push, the Bears are now in serious trouble.  The Bears have now lost five of their last six games and have moved out of a wild card spot.  If the Bears continue to struggle, it is unlikely they will be in the playoffs.

The Packers will play the Tennessee Titans next week, which will likely be another win for the Packers.  If the San Francisco 49ers lose on Sunday night against the New England Patriots, the Packers will have the second seed in the NFC, giving them a potential first-round bye. 

The Packers are heating up for the playoffs, and the rest of the NFL better be worried.