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Another game is finally here

The NFL's TV ratings will be there in the end


Kary from Sheboygan, WI

In regards to an onside punt, you not only can have an onside punt, but one was successfully accomplished against the Packers just a few years ago by the Lions. I thought someone should make this clear though, as a few comments are leading me to believe people don't realize this is a legit play, just not exactly in the way Taylor described.

You're right, but it was a free kick after a safety. The Lions decided to have their punter try it his way, and the easy solution is a fair catch, which the Packers botched. More to the point, it wasn't on a fourth down. You're not stripping Taylor's HOF credentials that easily.

James from Brooklyn, NY

The 15-1 stuff doesn't make me chuckle as much as it is disheartening that after all these years of Packers' writers attempting to help fans understand the value of staying present, especially in the midst of a season and heading into a Sunday night home matchup with the Giants, a common approach remains to look to the future. We can't wait for the season to start, then it does and we can't wait for the playoffs, then the Super Bowl, and then we wish it were the season again, but we waste the season worrying. Why do we do this to ourselves?

I wish your name were Margo.

Andy from Chengdu, China

The 15-1 hypotheses were amusing for sure but got me thinking. What is the best combined record in a season for in-division rivals in NFL history? I could only find total record for all teams in the division. Obviously division shuffling and number of teams changes the odds and everything, but the best 1-2 in a division ever would be great to know if you can fish it out.

My crack research staff (of one, and you're looking at him) has fished out the 1999 AFC Central, when Jacksonville finished 14-2 and Tennessee was 13-3.

Timothy from New York, NY

It seems like every day I'm reading at least one question about the playoff picture or home-field advantage scenarios. I guess that's what seven consecutive playoff berths will do to a fan base. Are fans forgetting that we lost four of our last six regular-season games last year? I'm just hoping to see adaptation and maturation. The wins will follow.

I entertained some of the playoff scenario questions because the Packers haven't played a game in nearly two weeks. It was better to have fun with speculation and tiebreakers than continue to perseverate on the second half vs. Detroit. Thank goodness another game is finally here.

Braden from Brookfield, WI

Through the first four weeks of the season, prime-time games are down over 10 percent in TV viewership. A few years ago Mark Cuban said within the next decade the NFL will implode because of over-saturation of games. Is this the beginning of that implosion? Or is this an anomaly and trends will reset? I feel it's a few things. More people are going away from cable (MNF viewership), I wonder if the national anthem protest has something to do with it, and also I feel the NFL is really becoming hypocritical. They're banning celebrations, fining players and yet they have a commercial with those celebrations.

Maybe too many fans are focused on the playoffs in the first month of the season. Seriously, though, let's see how this plays out. So far, not one Monday night game has had a close finish, the Thursday night matchups have not been all that compelling since Week 1, and the last two Sunday night games have been blowouts. Before season's end, we'll have Thursday night games featuring Packers-Bears, Cowboys-Vikings, Rams-Seahawks, and Giants-Eagles. This Sunday, the nation gets a choice of Packers-Giants or the presidential debate. If the game is tight in the fourth quarter, the ratings will be there.

David from San Francisco, CA

Mike, except possibly for players who have played for multiple teams. I bet Woodson would have done it in fewer than eight if he had jumped ship to Green Bay quicker than coincidentally eight years.

My bad. I didn't take into account players changing teams, though it would still be tough to do in less than eight seasons, I bet.

Donn from Lomira, WI

What I am seeing is that for the foreseeable future there is going to be a flip-flop of division winners between Green Bay and Minnesota. This rivalry is going to grow as the years go on.

The two teams already have won eight of the last nine NFC North crowns, but I see your point. The Zimmer hire in Minneapolis upped the ante.

Greg from Eau Claire, WI

Guys, so last year we went into the season thinking we were deep at WR, Jordy gets hurt, we found out we weren't. This year we went into the season thinking we were deep in DB, Shields gets hurt and we've been torched each game thus far. What are you looking for, Shields getting back or others stepping up? Neither has happened yet.

I suspect both to happen. Less than 20 percent of the season has been played, yet you're using the word yet.

Kyle from Mukwonago, WI

Hello gentlemen, it seemed like Julius Peppers was trying to keep himself from laughing during his locker room interview yesterday. Any idea what was going on there?

Sometimes teammates are having a little fun behind the cameras to get someone to crack.

Bruce from Cable, WI

Why does it seem like the Packers play Seattle every year? I thought the schedule changed every season based on records, etc.

Streaks like this can occur. The Packers and Seahawks played in 2014 because the year prior they both finished first in their divisions. They played in 2015 because every team in the NFC North played every team in the NFC West. They're playing again this year because last year both teams finished second in their divisions. If they both finish in the same place this year, they'll play again next year, and then Seattle is already on the schedule in 2018 when the North and West are paired again. Maybe it'll become five straight. The scheduling formula wasn't exactly the same, but the Packers and Cowboys played five straight years in the regular season in the '90s (1993-97).

Ben from Denver, CO

I don't want to beat this OBJ thing to death, but if you don't think it's likely that Damarious has said to Ha Ha, "Hey, if I get a chance I'm gonna take a little shot at Odell," I think you are being a little naive. That is not "mind games" and takes nothing away from their weekly preparation. Also, it is a very valid tactic. I don't think it's as black and white as you make it seem. Just my opinion.

Fair enough, but if I were a player, I wouldn't give it a thought. Beat him on the field and the rest takes care of itself. I just think if an opponent is prone to distractions, why potentially distract yourself?

Nick from State College, PA

Hawk is remembered fondly. I believe at one point people asked if we could expect him in the Packers Hall of Fame. I'd like to see him working with the Rock after he hangs up the cleats.

That would be cool.

Ed from Plymouth, WI

What do you think about Jerry Jones telling his players, coaches and field personnel, if they don't stand with their hand over their heart, when the national anthem is played, they will no longer be a Dallas Cowboy. "I will immediately fire you, no matter who you are."

Sounds like a great story, if it were true. Apparently, it's not. Either way, his team, his players, his contracts, his rules, or non-rules.

Pete from Naples, FL

How important to winning is locker room unity?

It's a factor. You can have all the harmony in the world, but if you don't have enough talent, you won't win. All the talent in the world hating each other doesn't work, either, at least not long-term. There's no perfect balance, per se, or everyone would aim for it, but some combination is required. When a coach or GM talks about how a potential draft pick or free agent "fits," scheme is not the only reference there.

Carrie from Carbondale, PA

I come from a family with very diverse NFL fan bases. I am also the youngest and only original Packers fan (my husband is a convert). Do you guys have any advice on how to handle those in my family who root for less successful franchises such as the Eagles? I am consistently being told that I don't know what it is like to cheer for a bad team, which somehow makes me a less-qualified fan.

It sounds like your family is waiting for your allegiance to be tested because they don't think you'll pass. All you can do when that time comes is let them down, if you know what I mean.

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