PFW executive editor and resident Packers expert Dan Arkush identifies three players or position groups on the rise as well as three players or position groups going in the opposite direction.
QB Aaron Rodgers: Entering the Christmas night bash with the Bears, with Drew Brees all of the sudden breathing down his neck for league MVP honors, Rodgers rebounded from his worst game of the year vs. the Chiefs with a marvelous five-TD performance in prime time that should put some distance between him and the Saints' QB for top-player honors. Rodgers, who was adept both passing and running, enters Week 17 with a 122.5 passer rating, 1.4 points better than the league-record mark set by Colts QB Peyton Manning in 2004.
WR James Jones: After managing only four catches for 46 yards in the previous three games and stumbling out of the gate Sunday night dropping the first two passes thrown his way, Jones convincingly got his act back together with a pair of TD catches among his four receptions for 50 yards.
Offensive line: Operating without normal starting OTs Chad Clifton and Bryan Bulaga, the starting line (from left to right) of OT Marshall Newhouse, OG Evan Dietrich-Smith, C Mike Wells, OG Josh Sitton and OT T.J. Lang did not allow a sack on Sunday evening. Granted, the Bears' D-line didn't seem to have its normal juice, particularly Julius Peppers, but the Packers' patchwork O-line still outdid itself.
Pass rush: A lack of pressure could be a big problem in the postseason. The Packers failed to register a sack for the second straight game and have managed only three in the last five games.
Run defense: Appearing to really miss DE Ryan Pickett (out for the second straight game with a concussion), the Packers allowed the Bears to rush for a whopping 199 yards, the second-highest total they've allowed this season. The Packers had all kinds of problems limiting the cutback scampers of Bears RB Kahlil Bell (23-121 in place of the injured Matt Forté).
RB James Starks: After picking up only 13 yards in six carries after missing the previous two games, Starks left the game in the second half after injuring his ankle for the fourth time this season.