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Facing Rodgers presents 'a big-time challenge'


After facing one of the NFL's most explosive offenses last Sunday night, this weekend's task doesn't get any easier for the Bears defense.

The rival Packers are set to visit Soldier Field, led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a two-time NFL MVP. The future Hall of Famer has won 14 of the last 15 games he's started and finished against the Bears, including eight straight victories in Chicago beginning with the 2010 NFC title game.

Rodgers has thrown for 24 touchdowns and one interception in his last eight starts versus the Bears, including 10 TDs and no picks in his last four games.

"He just refuses to lose, he refuses to go down," said linebacker Danny Trevathan. "He refuses to let a play just be a play. He wants to extend it and make it a great play each time he gets the ball. We just have got to be on our Ps and Qs. We know what he likes to do. We know that if we let him get started he can really tear you up. Our defense has to do a good job of just homing in and playing our ball."

In 14 seasons with the Packers, Rodgers has thrown for 42,202 yards with 336 touchdowns, 79 interceptions and a 103.4 passer rating that's the best in NFL history.

"His talent level is extremely high, his experience level is extremely high, and all of his experience has come in the same scheme," said defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. "When you combine talent, NFL experience and scheme experience, that's what you get."

In 13 starts this season, Rodgers has passed for 3,700 yards with 23 touchdowns, just one interception and a 99.6 passer rating. He'll enter Week 15 having thrown an NFL-record 368 consecutive passes without a pick, a mark he set last Sunday in a 34-20 win over the Falcons.

"That's impressive," said coach Matt Nagy. "That's hard to do. He's a guy that's seen a lot of different defenses. He's been in that offense for a long time, so the game has slowed to him, and he's got that extreme talent. He has some of the best arm talent that this game has ever had."

Rodgers is leading the NFL in interception percentage for the third time in his career, and he hasn't thrown more than eight picks in a season since 2010. In 2011, he passed for a career-high 45 TDs and just six interceptions.

"He's done that every year," Fangio said. "He's got the highest quarterback rating in the history of the NFL by a wide margin and that's a big reason why, he's never thrown a lot of picks."

The Bears will counter with an opportunistic defense that leads the NFL with 25 interceptions—six more than any other team. The unit registered four picks while completely shutting down the potent Rams in a 15-6 win last Sunday night. It was the most interceptions by the Bears since they had five picks in a 2012 Monday night win over the Cowboys in Dallas.

Rodgers' only interception this season came Sept. 30 in the Packers' 22-0 win over the Bills when he was victimized by cornerback Jordan Poyer.

"He protects the football, and he has extreme confidence in how he does it—and he's been doing it for a long time," Nagy said. "The No. 1 thing we have to do is try to break that. But there's a reason why it's so hard and why he does that. He has seen a lot of different defenses come at him. He has obviously seen our defensive scheme.

"It'll be a big-time challenge for us. But I think our guys will be up for it coming off of the way they just played against the Rams. Their confidence will be high. But we just have to keep going each week with that."

In the wake of the dominant effort by the Bears defense against the Rams Sunday night, senior writer Larry Mayer ranks the unit's top 10 performances since 2001: