Not that past success means anything, but during the Aaron Rodgers era, the Green Bay Packers have fared well in so-called NFC North Championship games.
Of course, last season, Green Bay lost to Minnesota, which was its first loss under Rodgers in a game for the divisional title. In 2013, Rodgers and the Packers pulled off a win in Chicago. That came courtesy of a certain pass to one Randall Cobb.
That season, much like this year, was filled with adversity. Rodgers missed seven games, but a mediocre division kept the Packers in the race long enough for Rodgers and crew to steal the title in Week 17.
In 2014, the Packers and Lions also met for the NFC North title. In that game, there much less on the line, as both teams were already in the playoffs, yet a first-round bye was also at stake.
At Lambeau Field, on a injured calf, Rodgers steered the Packers to victory. On that January day, Rodgers was 17-of-22 for 226 yards. He threw two touchdown passes and ran for another as Green Bay beat Detroit 30-20.
Against Chicago, Rodgers, who was playing in first game back from injury, was 25-of-39 for 318 yards. He threw two touchdowns that helped him overcome a pair of early interceptions.
Last year, against the Vikings, Rodger struggled. His numbers weren’t bad, he threw for 280 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Rodgers wasn’t himself. His impact was limited and a fumble proved costly. In three NFC North title games under Rodgers, the Packers are 2-1. In the two wins, the two-time MVP was stellar. In the loss, he wasn’t.
A number of factors that will determine tonight’s outcome. Jordy Nelson needs to keep making plays. Ty Montgomery needs to get keep the ground game going and the defense needs to pressure Matthew Stafford. A turnover or two would help too.
All those things will decide the outcome. But more than anything, the game and the winner will be determined by Rodgers, who has played better than anyone in the NFL in recent months.
In his last six games, Rodgers has thrown 15 touchdowns and zero interception. He has an average passer rating of 118 and he also has one rushing touchdown. If he can keep it up for one more week, there is little doubt, Green Bay will once again be NFC North champs.
And if that happens, Rodgers should win this third MVP.