Vincent from Seattle, WA
Who would you give a game ball to on the offense and the defense? One for each unit. ’Tis the season to be jolly.
I’d obviously say Jordy Nelson on offense. He doesn’t concern himself with statistics, but he’s made a good case for comeback player of the year with his performance this season. He’s second in the NFL in touchdown receptions (10) and ranks ninth among receivers in both receptions (69) and receiving yards (872). Those are incredible numbers for any receiver, especially considering Nelson didn’t play last season. There are a lot of worthy candidates on defense, but Julius Peppers’ performance (four tackles and a sack on 58 defensive snaps) was essential with all the injuries at outside linebacker.
JJ from Cape Coral, FL
That was a scare when Aaron was hopping and limping around. Luckily it wasn't his hamstring, but how is his hamstring after this game?
McCarthy didn’t have updates on the Packers’ injury front on Monday, but said Rodgers told him after the game that he “felt pretty good,” echoing what Rodgers said in his postgame news conference. We probably won’t get any more updates until Rodgers meets with the media Wednesday. My takeaway from Sunday’s game is he was more mobile than I expected given the injury and conditions. It didn’t seem like he had any setbacks throughout the course of the game.
Keith from Merrimack, NH
I think it's safe to say Jordy Nelson is 100 percent back from his ACL injury. While he is usually reserved, I loved seeing him get so hyped up after each big catch he made Sunday. Energy like that can power this team to the postseason!
Nelson admits it’s not natural for him to show emotion like he has this season, but he definitely looks like he’s enjoying himself. It sure seems to get his teammates fired up, as well.
Mark from West Bend, WI
Watching all the seemingly mundane drills in training camp, one can only now appreciate the quarterback footwork drill. To watch Aaron Rodgers effortlessly move left in the pocket while stepping over Lane Taylor's leg and keep his eyes down field to hit a wide open Jordy Nelson for a touchdown was a thing of beauty. Overstating the obvious but a very special quarterback!
I loved that play for so many reasons. It starts with Taylor, who keeps his balance despite sliding backward like a figurine on an electric football game. Some quarterbacks wouldn’t have found Nelson in the back corner of the end zone, but Rodgers is so poised and has such a unique sixth sense for where the pressure is coming. It’s one of the top 10 plays of the season in my book.
David from Washington, D.C.
They already have an awesome and legitimate playoff: The FCS. It's where the real national champions are crowned because they're the only ones that have to win to get there. NDSU won five straight. That's a real national champion, not this garbage where a bunch of reporters or a computer algorithm picks who plays in a four-team playoff. It's absurd and illustrates how the whole thing is really just about money. Anyway, keep up the good work!
True story. When I was covering preps at the Green Bay Press-Gazette, we had an area football player who committed to an FCS school. We didn’t have a lot of area kids go Division I in football during my six years covering high schools, so I stopped over at his high school to do a story. When I arrived, I asked him what other schools had shown interest in him and he mentioned a few mid-major programs in the FBS. He then proceeded to give me the greatest quote I never used in publication because I thought it would make him look bad. “I want to win a championship,” he told me. “Why would I want to go to an FBS school and play in some bowl game like the Sugar Bowl. What’s the Sugar Bowl? I’d rather play for a championship.” He won that championship...Five of them to be exact. I wish I would’ve run with it.
Alex from London, England
I'm looking at the NFC standings and we’re only a game out of the sixth seed. 10-6 looks good for a wild-card slot even if Detroit wins the division at 11-5. All I'm saying is there are a few ways we can still sneak into the playoffs, provided of course we run the table. Bring on Seattle!
A lot of things fell the Packers’ way in Week 13 outside of Detroit topping the Saints at the Superdome. Still, none of it matters unless Green Bay keeps winning. Wins are the only currency that matter in the playoff chase.
Dylan from Fairfield, CA
How do you get a read on a team that loses to the Bucs and then blows out the Panthers? Obviously they have a ton of talent, but can we overcome that?
It’s been hard to get a pulse on the Seahawks. They’ve been held under 12 points four times this season, but also own impressive wins over Carolina (40-7) and New England (31-24). The defense isn’t quite as dominant as it’s been in recent years, but it’s still deep and talented even without Earl Thomas. The 20th-ranked rushing offense seems to have found its footing with Thomas Rawls in the backfield, though I’m not sure what his status is after supposedly being in the concussion protocol Sunday night. In a way, this is almost like a division game for the Packers. There’s a lot of history between the two teams over the last five seasons.
Chris from Minneapolis, MN
Very tragic injury for Earl Thomas in a blowout win. How much will our game plan change now that the Legion has been reduced to the Battalion of Boom?
It’s going to be a challenge for Seattle’s defense the rest of the season, not just against Green Bay. Thomas is an elite football player and a true difference-maker. The Seahawks’ defense is going to have to adapt like it did last year during Kam Chancellor’s holdout. Steven Terrell, a former undrafted free agent, replaced Thomas against Carolina. He has only one start in 28 career games, but I’d assume he’s the most likely replacement going forward.
Paul from Cumming, GA
I’m sure people will be talking about Nelson, Rodgers, and Ripkowski, but how about Dean Lowry? Jars on the shelf.
Mike McCarthy said on Monday that Lowry earned the opportunities he received in Sunday’s win over Houston. He made the most of his career-high 18 defensive snaps, recording his first NFL sack and deflecting a pass at the line of scrimmage. Anyone who’s read the column over the past eight months knows how much I like Lowry. He’s the closest thing the Packers have had to a true five-technique end, but he also has the versatility to line up at tackle, as well.
Erick from Charlottesville, VA
Have you ever seen a player acquired midseason go on to make a big impact for a team in the same season?
I can think of Andre Rison during the Packers’ Super Bowl XXXI season, and Erik Walden and Howard Green on the Super Bowl XLV team off the top of my head. I can’t think of as many examples around the league. I mean, as well as Marshawn Lynch played for the Seahawks, he didn’t light the world on fire in his first 12 games in Seattle. Maybe Eric Dickerson to Indianapolis in 1987?
Dean from Pittsburgh, PA
Should we be worried that the Lions will not lose another game before playing the Packers?
There’s one Lions game the Packers need to concern themselves with and it takes place on New Year’s Day. The rest is out of their control. The goal is to get to 10 wins and let the chips fall where they may.
Craig from Temperance, MI
Why don’t we use Cook down the middle more? I thought the reason we brought him in was every tight end we had before who made a living at that is not open or Rodgers is not even looking for it.
Cook was running down the middle when he took the free safety off Jordy Nelson on the most important play of the Packers’ win over Philadelphia two weeks ago. However, nobody talks about that because it was Nelson who caught the 22-yard pass on third-and-12 and not Cook. There’s more than one way to impact a game. Cook has held up his end of the bargain.
Kirkland from Killeen, TX
After watching Sunday’s game, one thing I took away was Ty Montgomery must remain our starting RB. The kid can play, he's tough, and always wants that extra yard. He also can catch the ball and as we've seen is a matchup nightmare at RB.
I appreciate your enthusiasm but I don’t like speaking in absolutes. Montgomery has a great skill set and body type that translates well to the backfield, but it’s going to take all hands on deck to keep this offense rolling. The packages with Montgomery lining up in the backfield provided a boost for the offense against the Texans, but you never know when that spark could come from Christine Michael, James Starks or Aaron Ripkowski, either. I’ve been impressed with how natural Montgomery looks at the position, though.
Greg from Perkasie, PA
All I want to see on Sunday is a victory, but it would be icing on top to see a highly motivated Christine Michael run all over his former team leading the Packers to a victory.
I’m guessing this will be a big storyline this week. Michael had nothing but positive things to say about Seattle when he met with the Green Bay media for the first time two weeks ago. He appreciated the Seahawks giving him a second chance and said he’s good friends with all of their running backs. Only Michael knows how he feels about the matchup. If it were me, I’d have a little extra motivation this week.
Jordan from Janesville, WI
During Sunday’s game I had the pleasure to be sitting in the stands. It was my first regular-season game, and I got the full Green Bay experience with that snow. That being said, I was sitting directly in front of two backseat coaches that couldn't stop saying what McCarthy should call and who should touch the football. It was very irritating after just one game. How do you deal with us every day? Do you ever just want to find the person who sent you a question and shake some sense into them? Thank you for the column, I always enjoy reading it. Go Pack Go!
I appreciate productive discussion and thought. I don’t have much time for ne'er-do-wells who believe their opinion is right and everyone else is stupid. If you have a constructive opinion on something, let’s hear it. That’s what we’re all here for. But if you’re trying to massage some misplaced sense of importance, then you’re usually getting a snippy response from me…assuming you make it out of Inbox purgatory.
Warren from Lutz, FL
Hello, great game to watch. The offensive line has been superb. What did you think of the Janis run? Was it what they call a jet sweep?
I thought the offensive line played really well given Rodgers’ hamstring and the conditions on the field. David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga have been lights-out at the two tackle positions, especially given the different faces they’ve worked next to at guard since the regular season began. I’m curious how long the Packers had been saving Janis’ end-around. It was a genius idea to use his speed on the sweep and the perfect call after Nelson’s big play.
Matthew from Seattle, WA
Vic, what's a bigger priority for the Packers playing the Seahawks on Sunday: stopping Rawls or keeping Wilson in the pocket?
I think it starts with stopping Rawls and the running game. That’s what the Packers did last year at Lambeau Field. While Russell Wilson had 206 passing yards and 78 rushing yards, Marshawn Lynch had only 41 yards on 15 carries. Wilson can throw it from the pocket when he needs to, but keeping him there for 60 minutes will help limit his ability to extend plays with his feet and make things happen downfield. It obviously goes without saying that’s easier said than done.
Luke from Ellendale, ND
How are the Texans currently the fourth seed in the playoff race with a 6-6 record when both Miami and Pittsburgh are 7-5?
The top four seeds in each conference go to the division winners.
Mike from St. Louis, MO
What makes football exciting is its unpredictability. The ball takes funny bounces and so does the season. The only way to know how it ends is to kick back and watch.
It’s a week-to-week league. With a few exceptions, any one team can beat another during any given week. I also think the sense of urgency is what makes the game so special. There is no best-of-five or best-of-seven series. It’s about which team is better during the 60 minutes on the field.
Jim from Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Insiders, After Week 5 the Vikings were 5-0 and the Lions were 2-3. If someone had said to you at that time that we would be chasing the Lions instead of the Vikings would you have believed them?
Nothing surprises me anymore in the NFL.
Justin from Atlanta, GA
Just give us a chance to play with everything on the line in Detroit.
It worked out fairly well in 2013…and 2014.
Paul from Middleton, WI
I still like Riptide. Any chance you can ask Aaron his opinion?
I’ll try to pass it along.
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