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Attention: Vikings game is for the division title

Melvin Gordon could fall to some lucky team


Ken from Niagara Falls, NY

Vic, scoring this past week was down considerably. It seems the change in weather could be the cause, yet, the Packers put up 53 points at Lambeau. Are defenses beginning to figure it out, is it the weather, or is there something else you can attribute it to?

I don't think it can be attributed to the weather. Scoring was down in Arizona, San Diego, Miami and two domes. I attribute the swings we're seeing to a game that is struggling to evolve. It's lost its sense of itself due to massive changes that have been forced on it and without time to digest those changes. I think all coaches are looking for a winning style on which they can hang their hopes and fashion their team. Is it attack with the pass, or is it mix run with pass? Is it blitz, blitz, blitz, as we saw the Titans do last night, or is it disguise your coverages and pick your spots to blitz? This is a time of exploration. I think that's what we're seeing.

Bill from Waukesha, WI

Vic, the Packers are playing well since the break and even the RELAX statement from Rodgers. I see the Patriots being the big challenge up to the Lions game at the end of the season. Your thoughts, even though they have to play them all and anything can happen?

TV will bill the Patriots-Packers game as a possible Super Bowl matchup, but that'll be difficult to sell if the Packers don't beat the Vikings. The focus should be on the Vikings game. It's a much bigger game than the Patriots game. The Patriots game will be for the power rankings. The Vikings game is for the division title because division record is the No. 2 tiebreaker. Lose that tiebreaker and you won't even get to common games. Lose to the Vikings and the Lions could come to Green Bay a game ahead and having clinched the division title.

Nick from State College, PA

In reference to Peterson, he is suspended the rest of the season without pay. Does a team get cap space back when a player is suspended without pay?


Noah from Omro, WI

Vic, as a guy whose evaluation of football players I respect and trust, and also as someone who I know loves a good running back as much as I do, what do you think of Melvin Gordon?

Nobody runs for 408 yards in a major college football game without having talent. He will be a top prospect, but I think he'll fall victim to the same kind of prejudice that caused Aaron Rodgers to fall in the draft. Rodgers came out of the Jeff Tedford system, which had produced several busts: Joey Harrington, Akili Smith, Kyle Boller. Gordon is coming out of a program that produces a lot of college rushing leaders, but none that have become rushing leaders in the NFL. Some team might get real lucky.

Joe from Maidstone, UK

A disturbing stat just caught my attention: Except for Jonas Grey's, there were only four rushing touchdowns on Sunday. I know this is a passing league these days, but seriously?

You throw to score, you run to win.

K.J. from Minneapolis, MN

Vic, what kind of exercise and wellness facilities are available to coaches and staff? While it might not be everyone's top priority, staying on top of health, especially during these long winter months, can be crucial to keep the mind and body sharp.

Exercise? Wellness? I have to do that, too?

Todd from Moncton, New Brunswick

Vic, I see the NFL standings in the AFC North list the Bengals at 6-3-1 in first place ahead of the 7-4 Steelers. I always thought most wins would get the nod. What is the determiner here?

Best won-lost-tied percentage is the determiner. The Bengals' record has a slightly better winning percentage than the Steelers'. Ties are not meaningless. They're better than a loss.

Leslie from Santa Maria, CA

Vic, I took the California bar exam for the second time this past July and the results will be released this Friday. I desperately want to pass, and the fear of failing twice had me almost to the point of being physically sick. Then I remembered that I need to have perspective in this part of my life (not just in being a football fan), and I have learned so much about achieving perspective from your column. I feel nervous, but with perspective. I know there will be life after Friday, no matter what happens. Thank you.

Hey, there are lots of ways you could make a living other than being an attorney. You could be a sportswriter. Feel better?

Matthew from Columbus, OH

Do you think the Packers defense will be able to sustain the success they've had the last two games? They'll definitely be tested when the Patriots come to Lambeau.

You people are starting to worry me. I'm glad you're watching, not playing.

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