The Green Bay Packers are the 2012 NFC North Champions.
With all the team has been through this season, winning the division is quite the accomplishment. After the Chicago Bears started the season 7-1 and the Packers limped to a 5-3 start, it seemed like the Packers would have to take the long road to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
Thanks to masterful roster building by general manager Ted Thompson and another brilliant coaching job by head coach Mike McCarthy (as well another epic collapse by the Bears), the Packers have won their second straight NFC North title.
The Packers wrapped up the division with a 21-13 victory over the Bears Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago. After spotting the Bears an early 7-0 lead, the Packers scored 21 unanswered points en route to the victory. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdowns, all to wide receiver James Jones, and the defense once again made life miserable for Jay Cutler.
Here’s who stood out for the Packers in the division-clinching victory as well as those who left some things on the field.
WR James Jones
All Jones does is catch touchdowns.
With injuries beleaguering Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings most of the season, Jones has stepped up to the plate and became the unsung hero of the Packers offense this season. With all the attention paid to Nelson and Jennings plus the emergence of Randall Cobb, not enough attention has been paid to Jones who leads the NFL with 12 touchdown receptions.
Someone on offense usually has a big day against the Bears. In the past it was Jermichael Finley and on Sunday it was Jones. He accounted for all three Packers touchdowns including one beautiful back shoulder catch (which was a wonderful throw by Rodgers too).
Once the Packers get Nelson back, they now have a four headed monster at receiver (Nelson, Jennings, Cobb and Jones). If they can continue to establish the run, the Packers will be a formidable foe in January.
LB Clay Matthews
Everyone knows how important Matthews is to the Packers defense and Sunday just solidified that belief.