The Bears held the Packers to 63 rushing yards in a 20-17 win on Sept. 27. When they lost to the Bears 10-3 earlier this month, Green Bay had 60 rushing yards on 23 carries.
Everyone agrees that establishing some semblance of a running game against the Bears No. 2 rushing defense could be a key for the Packers.
"One thing we've been able to do throughout the year is make teams one-dimensional," linebacker Lance Briggs said. "They've been running the ball a lot trying to become more balanced and control the clock a lot more, especially in this postseason. [James] Starks has something like 48 carries. That's the one thing they are probably going to try to do. They are going to try to run the ball, or establish the run. It's up to us to stop that and make them one-dimensional and that way put us in situations that we can capitalize on."
If the Bears can stop the run like they did against the Packers in the first two games it should make it easier to defend quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
"It has everything to do with it," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "At least you go into every game trying to do that. Aaron Rodgers is a great player also, and they have a lot of weapons on the offensive side but [James] Starks has really given them a boost with their running game. It's tough on a defense when you're thinking about the run as much as you're thinking about the pass. Lately they're harder to defend because of that, seems like the last couple playoff games they've really gotten that running game going, but for us it would help us a lot if we can force them to go to one of those more so than having to defend both."