Quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers certainly knows how to excel when he plays against the Chicago Bears. No. 12 is 8-2 versus the Bears in the regular season over five years as the starting quarterback of the Pack, plus he also beat Chicago in the 2010 NFC Championship Game.
Rodgers doesn't just win when he plays the Bears; he also performs at an exceptional level. In those 10 regular-season matchups against the Bears, Rodgers has thrown 19 touchdown passes, compared to just six picks for 2,486 yards. That equates to a 102.7 quarterback rating.
Rodgers knows all about the great rivalry between the Packers and Bears, as he explained via Packers.com:
I always enjoy the competition, I really do. I've seen a lot of them (games) in my time. I think this is number 18 in my time here. It's a special game. The fans obviously really enjoy it. The players, we feel the intensity of the game. The longest running rivalry I believe in the NFL. A lot of history and tradition here. I think the teams of yesteryear maybe hated each other more than these two do, and I'm sure the fans feel the same way.
Yes, the history and the tradition. The two teams have played 184 times in the regular season since 1921, with the Bears holding a 91-87-6 edge over the Packers.
The two teams have split the two games the squads have played in the postseason (1941 and 2010), with Rodgers leading the Packers to a victory in the last one.
The Packers have won the most NFL titles in the history of the league with 13, while the Bears are second with nine.
The Packers have 22 individuals who are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, while the Bears have 27.
It all got started with Curly Lambeau of the Packers and George Halas of the Bears.
When it comes to beating the Bears, the Packers have done a lot of it behind three quarterbacks. They would be Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Rodgers.
Starr, under coach Vince Lombardi, had a record of of 12-3 versus the Bears. In that era, the Packers won five NFL championships in seven years, including the first two Super Bowls. Starr was the MVP of both Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II, as well as the NFL MVP in 1966.
Favre was 22-10 against Chicago in his 16-year career in Green Bay. Favre also led the Packers to a win in Super Bowl XXXI. Favre was the NFL MVP for three straight years from 1995-1997.
Rodgers is 8-2 versus the Bears. He could be 10-0. The two games Rodgers lost were by identical 20-17 scores (2008 and 2010). In both of those games, the Packers had fourth-quarter leads, but saw the Bears come back to win.
After Rodgers and the Packers beat the Bears at Soldier Field in the NFC title game, Rodgers led the Packers to a 31-25 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. Rodgers was also named MVP in that game.
Rodgers was subsequently named the NFL MVP in 2011.
Rodgers has carried on the tradition of both Starr and Favre in terms of beating the Bears. He also has played very well against all NFC North opponents.
Overall, including the postseason, Rodgers is 26-7 against the Bears, Lions and Vikings. He's also thrown 65 touchdown passes versus 17 interceptions. Combined against the three teams, his quarterback rating is 110.5.
The Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010. In 2011 and 2012, the Packers won the NFC North. In 2013, the 5-2 Packers are once again leading the division, as they prepare to play the 4-3 Bears on Monday night.
Rodgers explained why he has had so much success against his divisional opponents:
You can see them twice a year. That helps. I'd like to think on offense that we are pretty meticulous about our preparation. No detail is left behind. We like our guys to be very prepared. I think we have a good plan every time we go in. But when you are playing divisional opponents, it's more about execution than the plan ultimately, because there is such a familiarity there with these teams. I can't put a finger on one thing, but I would say the preparation and the opportunity to play teams twice a year definitely helps.
The Packers are now just four games away from getting even in their series with the Bears that dates back over 90 years. The last time the Packers were ahead in the series was 1932, when the Packers had an 11-10-4 edge over the Bears at the end of the season.
Based on the play of Rodgers over the past five years against the Bears, and the way he has continued to play this season thus far, I would say that the odds of the Packers getting even with the Bears in the series is pretty good in the near future.
Perhaps they'll even gain the advantage in the series behind Rodgers at some point within a few years.
Would you bet against a quarterback like Rodgers who dominates his divisional opponents like the Bears, and is headed for his fifth straight season of having a quarterback rating of over 100?
I know I wouldn't.