Bragging Rights On The Line In NFL's Biggest Rivalry: Packers vs Bears Analysis

Jeremy Alpert@@pyroman1acSenior Analyst IIJanuary 21, 2011

Conference Finals Matchup:  Green Bay Packers (12-6) at Chicago Bears (12-5)

Rankings based on top four QBs, eight RBs, 16 WRs and six TEs

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GAME TIME:  3:00pm ET playing on FOX

LINE:  Packers by 3.5



Green Bay Packers (12-6)


Opponent Final 2010 Defensive Ranks

Chicago Pass Defense – 2010: Yards Allowed/Game 20th (224 Yds/Gm), TDs Allowed 2nd (14)

Chicago Rush Defense – 2010: Yards Allowed/Game 2nd (90.1 Yds/Gm), TDs Allowed T-20th (14)


Green Bay Offensive Cast


Aaron Rodgers (QB Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 1)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 312/475 completions for 3,922 yards, 28 TDs, 11 INTs / 64 carries for 356 yards, 4 TDs

Okay, you’ve got to be kidding me with this stat line:  31 completions in 36 attempts, 366 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs and a 136.8 QB Rating.  Now we all knew the Falcons pass D was their weak link, but to go into the Georgia Dome last weekend and completely demolish a team led by a QB that had lost only two games at home his entire career is downright scary.  What’s even more insane is that in two road playoff games this year, Rodgers now has six TDs, zero INTs, 546 passing yards and a 134.5 QB rating!  Even though he didn’t do nearly as well as that against the Bears this year, it’s hard to go against a guy on a roll like this.


James Starks (RB Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 3)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 29 carries for 101 yards, 0 TDs / 2 receptions for 15 yards, 0 TDs

His second career playoff game wasn’t nearly as good as his first, but he still leads the league in playoff rushing yards (189), attempts (48) and first downs (8) this year.  It’s not going to get any easier for the rookie this weekend as the Bears are one of the best in the league at defending the run and held Seattle to just 34 yards on 12 carries last Sunday.  The Packers will use him quite a bit to set up the pass, but don’t expect too much.


John Kuhn (RB Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 6)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 84 carries for 281 yards, 4 TDs / 15 receptions for 97 yards, 2 TDs

Kuhn’s worth comes mainly along the goal-line as the Packers use either his 6’0”, 250-pound frame to bust in the one-yard TDs or his receiving ability to catch play-action passes in the flat.  Other than that, he’s simply a blocker.


Brandon Jackson (RB Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 8)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 190 carries for 703 yards, 3 TDs / 43 receptions for 342 yards, 1 TD

After receiving just three carries against the Eagles in the Packers first playoff win, Jackson found himself with just one carry on the final stat-sheet against the Falcons.  It’s clear Brandon has been passed on the depth chart by the bigger, more talented Starks, and this time I think it’s for good.  Jackson still might see a few carries and dump-offs on third down, but his chances of putting up fantasy-worthy stats are pretty slim.


Greg Jennings (WR Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 1)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 76 receptions for 1,265 yards, 12 TDs

Jennings looked like the number one WR that he is last weekend against the Falcons, but he’ll have a tough time repeating his 101-yard, eight-catch performance against the Bears D.  In fact, Chicago has had a pretty good bead on Greg throughout his career allowing him an average of just 3.8 catches for 55.6 yards a game.  With Rodgers on the roll he is, I’d have a tough time betting against Jennings having a nice game, but don’t expect a repeat of the Atlanta game.


Donald Driver (WR Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 5)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 51 receptions for 565 yards, 4 TDs

Driver may not have a touchdown in the playoffs yet this year, but he’s leading the team in both catches and yards with 5.5 receptions and 66 yards per game.  His veteran presence seems to be rubbing off on everyone around him right now as the Packer offense is clicking better than it has all year.  He may not put up a bunch of yards, but five or more catches on Sunday is almost a given.


James Jones (WR Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 6)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 50 receptions for 679 yards, 5 TDs

Jones’ size and athleticism always give him a chance to put up some nice numbers, but his lack of concentration is about as frustrating as it gets.  He seems to have no trouble making tough, crazy catches, but throw him the ball with nobody around him and you’re in for a disappointment.   His up-and-down play is hard to predict, so even though he has a TD in each of the first two playoff games, don’t look for a third in a row, especially against this Bears pass D.


Jordy Nelson (WR Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 9)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 45 receptions for 582 yards, 2 TDs

The Packers might actually have the best fourth wide receiver in the league in Jordy Nelson.  Last week, Nelson caught all eight passes thrown his way for 79 yards and a TD, numbers most number one WRs would love to see in their stat-line.  His 6’3”, 217-pound frame makes him a mismatch all over the field and since it looks like Rodgers has a ton of confidence in him, don’t be surprised to see Jordy have another nice game this weekend.


Andrew Quarless (TE Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 4)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 21 receptions for 238 yards, 1 TD

Quarless has been a non-factor in each of Green Bay’s first two playoff games, and since the Bears are pretty darn good at defending tight ends, I don’t expect that trend to change.


Donald Lee (TE Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 5)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 11 receptions for 73 yards, 3 TDs

Lee is a grizzled veteran who will certainly see his fair share of action this Sunday, but his skills are more as a pass-blocker than a receiver.


Chicago Bears (12-5)


Opponent Defensive Ranks

Green Bay Pass Defense – 2010: Yards Allowed/Game 5th (194 Yds/Gm), TDs Allowed 4th (16)

Green Bay Rush Defense – 2010: Yards Allowed/Game 18th (114.9 Yds/Gm), TDs Allowed 3rd (6)


Chicago Offensive Cast


Jay Cutler (QB Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 3)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 261/432 completions for 3,274 yards, 23 TDs, 16 INTs

Cutler proved he can take the pressure of a playoff game last Sunday as he threw for 274 yards, two TDs while rushing for two more in his first ever post-season appearance.  However, his foe this weekend won’t be the defensively-challenged Seahawks again… it’s the hated Packers.  Does he have a chance of putting up a nice game?  Sure, but don’t bet on it.  His career stats as a Bear against the Pack are pretty poor, as not once has he thrown for more TDs in a game than INTs against them (in four games).  OC Mike Martz will do everything he can to put Cutler in a position to succeed, but don’t expect him to do what he did to Seattle last week.


Matt Forte (RB Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 2)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 237 carries for 1,069 yards, 6 TDs / 51 receptions for 547 yards, 3 TDs

Forte had himself another solid game against the Seahawks, putting up 134 total yards with 80 coming on the ground and another 54 yards on three catches.  Mike Martz might be thought of as a passing offensive coordinator, but it’s clear at this point that the Bears offense runs through Matt Forte.  In the final game of the regular season, Matt had 91 yards rushing and eight catches for 60 yards receiving against Green Bay.  I’m not sure the Packers will allow that much this Sunday, but the Bears RB is looking as good as he has in his career right now, so I wouldn’t put it past him.


Chester Taylor (RB Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 7)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 112 carries for 267 yards, 3 TDs / 20 receptions for 139 yards, 0 TDs

Even though Taylor was the one with a touchdown in the final statistics last weekend, Forte is still the man on this team.  Chester will get a few touches here and there in order to give Forte a rest, but it won’t be enough to make a difference.


Johnny Knox (WR Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 7)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 51 receptions for 960 yards, 5 TDs

Knox had a decent game last week catching four balls for 48 yards in the Bears win over Seattle.  He might be able to produce a bit this Sunday as well as his speed can beat even the best secondary deep on occasion.  If the Packers decide to throw Charles Woodson on him, he won’t be much of a factor, but he’ll still be able to stretch the defense and carry Woodson out of the play, so his worth might end up being as a decoy.


Earl Bennett (WR Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 10)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 46 receptions for 561 yards, 3 TDs

Bennett is a nice possession receiver who I’m sure Cutler will try to use this weekend.  He should be able to haul in around four or five passes, but his lack of size (6’0”) doesn’t make him much of a red-zone target, so his fantasy upside is minimal.


Devin Hester (WR Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 13)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 40 receptions for 475 yards, 4 TDs

Hester is still one of the most electrifying, game-changing players in the league and you can bet that with the Packers being in the Bears division, they know this all too well.  If Green Bay decides to kick to him, his punt return duties combined with a few targets on offense will give him a chance to shine this weekend.  If they don’t, then you can’t expect more than maybe a couple of wide receiver screens for minimal yardage.


Devin Aromashodu (WR Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 16)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 10 receptions for 149 yards, 0 TDs

Aromashodu was a huge disappointment this season and the only chance he has of doing anything in this game is if the Bears end up needing his size in the red-zone.


Greg Olsen (TE Playoff Week 3 Ranking: No. 1)

Final 2010 Season Stats: 41 receptions for 404 yards,Great 5 TDs

Last weekend was an awesome time for Olsen to come alive for Mike Martz and Jay Cutler, wouldn’t you say?  Not only did he lead the team with nine targets and 113 yards, but he also kick-started the Bears offense by scoring a touchdown on the Bears first possession of the game.  If the Packers have a weak link on D, it’s guarding a team’s opposing tight end.  Olsen had five catches in each of their meetings during the year, so I’d expect at least that many once again with another possible touchdown coming his way.




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