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2012 home and away opponents announced


Peter from Toledo, OH

Is the old saw that colder games bring out the importance of the running game now officially been proven a myth? Did that last game stun you as much as it stunned me?

I'm not ready to say it's a myth, but I will say this: Running the ball has never been less important than it is right now, and absolutely without a doubt, football is not first and foremost a running game. It truly saddens me to pen those words because in the lifetime I've spent loving football, I've regarded the running back as one of the symbols of the game. I was raised on the words "get your knees up," and "initiate contact," and "run with reckless abandon." I never hear those words anymore and I feel a sense of loss. "Wheel route" and "skinny post" just don't do it for me.

Cole from Honolulu, HI

Instead of worrying about Flynn's future, shouldn't we be talking about our pass-rush and run-defense? Was there a defender that stood out this past game against the Lions that might make a big impact in the postseason?

We've been talking about it all season; what good has it done? I expected improvement. I was wrong. It is what it is and the Packers defense has to collectively and individually challenge itself to perform at a higher level in the postseason. It's difficult to find positives in a game in which you've allowed 575 yards, but I saw things in Tramon Williams' play I liked. He was a playmaker in the postseason last year and I think his arrow is pointing up heading into the playoffs this year. Our kingdom for one more pass-rusher, huh? That's what this defense needs. One of those outside linebackers opposite Clay Matthews has to emerge as a pass-rusher in the postseason for the defense to improve. We'll see.

Brett from Barrington, IL

Which player do you think is more likely to be franchised, Jermichael Finley or Matt Flynn?

The franchise tag for a tight end is about $5.4 million; for a quarterback it's $14.4 million. Clearly, it makes more sense to franchise Finley for a couple of obvious reasons: 1.) It would be more affordable to do so. 2.) You'd be doing it to keep him, not trade him.

Adam from Stevens Point, WI

So how many first-round draft choices do you think we could get for Aaron Rodgers?

That's a ridiculous question but I'm going to use it to make a point: Rodgers would yield more return in a trade than any player in the league. He would yield more than Tom Brady based on comparable ages, and he would yield more than Drew Brees based on age and superior physical skills. So, if Rodgers would yield more return in a trade than any player in the league, then doesn't that make him the league's most valuable player?

Jeremy, from Oak Creek, WI

Who do the Packers play home and away next year?

Home—Bears, Lions, Vikings, Cardinals, 49ers, Saints, Jaguars, Titans. Away—Bears, Lions, Vikings, Rams, Seahawks, Giants, Texans, Colts.

Morgan from Loveland, CO

I've been relatively faithful to your column this season and I'm loving your wit and wisdom. Watching the Fiesta Bowl, I got to thinking, what's Vic think about Andrew Luck?

He's real good, but I liked him better in his bowl performance a year ago. I thought he looked a little thicker and not as athletic last night. I thought he was more natural-looking last year. I think a big part of my perception of him might be the result of Stanford's scheme. Stanford used a pound and play-action scheme last night that caused Luck to throw a lot of lob-type passes. I didn't see him drive the ball often and I'll assume he still has the arm to do that, but I don't think he's as clearly a first overall pick now as he was at this time last year. Robert Griffin appears to have a livelier arm.

Bruce from Jacksonville, FL

What do you make of the Colts firing the Polians?

It was stunning news. I can't help but believe it involves a clash of views on what the team's direction for the future should be and how Peyton Manning relates to that future.

Jim from Sandy, UT

My wife wants us to go on a weekend cabin retreat the same weekend as the divisional playoffs. The cabin has no television. What should I do?

That's why we have the word no.

David from Racine, WI

I have been around a few blogs lately and the majority consensus is the Saints will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl instead of the Packers. I honestly don't see how the Saints have a legitimate shot to beat the Packers. Excluding their only Super Bowl performance, they are 0-5 in their franchise history in away playoff games.

The Saints shouldn't even be a thought right now. They're the only NFC team playing this weekend the Packers can't meet in the divisional round.

Jake from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Your apparent point of emphasis this week was the play of your namesake, Vic So'oto. So, what were your impressions of him after watching him in an extended playing role?

He has the arms and legs of a pass-rusher. That's what I see, which is to say a guy who's long enough and lean enough to close on the quarterback when he gets within reach of him. Is he far enough along in his development to be a factor? I don't know, but I think we're going to find out.

Chris from Voorhout, The Netherlands

What do you think the chances are of a Packers-Steelers repeat in the Super Bowl?

You look for hot teams heading into the playoffs and the Steelers are not a hot team. They lost their running back, Rashard Mendenhall, with an ACL in the last game. Ben Roethlisberger is better than he was in the Monday night game against the 49ers, but he's still limping around and nothing about his play says hot. The defense is playing well but it might lose Ryan Clark for this weekend's game, because Clark has an illness that might put him at risk in Denver's high altitude; he didn't play the last time the Steelers played there. The AFC only has two hot teams heading into the postseason: Patriots and Ravens. Three of the other four lost on the final day of the season and the Steelers barely won.

Ron from Winter, WI

Why do we have fat defensive linemen when teams like the Giants have long and lean ones that make a lot more plays?

The Giants play a 4-3, the Packers play a 3-4. The difference in those schemes defines the difference in the body types that play them. Linemen in a 4-3 have to be pass-rushers; they play in a penetrate-and-disrupt, gap-control system. Linemen in a 3-4 are two-gappers; they're run-stuffers that tend to be shorter and thicker because those are the body types that are effective in holding the point of attack. In a 3-4, the pass-rush is expected to come from the linebackers.

Cal from Dickinson, ND

It bothers me when we have one yard to go for a first down or touchdown and then we line guys up tightly together and try to run it up the middle against an equal amount or more defensive players. I think you spread it out and give yourself and the runner more options. Your thoughts?

You're opening yourself up to penetration by the defense and the potential for lost yardage or worse. That's why teams wall up in short yardage. It doesn't allow for running room, but it doesn't allow for penetration, either.

Jon from Racine, WI

I wasn't introduced to your article until the fourth week of the season and I love every edition of it. Does it continue to be daily after the Packers season is over? How does your job change for you during the offseason?

"Ask Vic" is daily year-round. In a perfect world, the Packers will win the Super Bowl, "Ask Vic" will spend a couple of weeks celebrating the win and then move on to the combine, and then into free agency, and then into the draft and mini-camp and OTAs before some "Dead Zone" vacation time in late June and July. After that, it's time for training camp and the start of a new season.

Eric from Fort Atkinson, WI

Do you think it would be wise for the Colts to trade their No. 1 draft pick to get additional picks and sign Flynn as a quarterback instead of trying to draft Luck?

I assume you're suggesting they trade Peyton Manning, too. That's an interesting scenario. It would be a way of rebuilding the team real fast. I like that kind of thinking.

Sally from Spokane, WA

The call against Grant was wrong. A snow angel? Give me a break. It's like "The Belt" but on the ground. Sorry, Vic, but you are wrong on that call. Remember, it's winter time in Green Bay. Just win, baby, but let's celebrate, too.

Sally, I came here to cover the Green Bay Packers, not the De Pere Snow Angels. I'm talking about Lombardi's Packers. I'm talking about the "Ice Bowl" Packers. Imagine Ray Nitschke doing a snow angel. What do you think Coach Lombardi's reaction would've been when it was explained to him that his team was being penalized 15 yards because Jim Taylor did a snow angel in the end zone? Here's one: Imagine Bart Starr doing a snow angel. Now that's funny. I don't think anybody should do anything Starr wouldn't do. I don't know why coaches haven't adopted my suggestion: Make a celebration circle in the bench area and require all players wishing to celebrate their triumph to do so in the celebration circle. By doing it that way, you can't get penalized, but television can train a camera on the celebration circle for those fans that wanna see snow angels. The players get the TV time and the fans get the snow angels. I'm fine with that.

Frank from Oak Creek, WI

Aside from the takeaways the Packers had all season long, can you honestly tell me what, if anything over the course of the past 16 weeks, the Packers have done defensively to, as I call it, stop the bleeding, because I do not believe anything at all has been done to our defense all season?

Frank, help is not on the way. The NFL doesn't conduct a midseason draft. You are what you are and the only way to fix what you are is by playing better. They practice. They scheme. They review. There's not much else that can be done.

Richard from Davis, CA

Are you going to be back next season?

That's a question you need to ask my two bosses: the one down the hall and the one upstairs.

Brent from Arlington Heights, IL

How far do you see the Packers going in the playoffs, as long as the offense can keep playing like it is?

I think that's the key. The offense has carried this team all season and that has to continue. If it does, the Packers can go all the way.

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