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December football played at a higher level

Play for the perfect season


Jerry from Wilmington, NC

Vic, what would you do if you were the Carolina Panthers?

I'd play all out to win, until I lost and had homefield advantage clinched. I think the Colts made a terrible mistake in 2009. I'll never forget the sign: "It mattered to us." Never betray your fans.

Jerry from St. Paul, MN

Vic, I am not a Jeff Janis fanatic, but the recent article about how well he beats jams on punt coverage raises the issue whether he may be part of the answer to the problem of receivers not getting off jams. Your thoughts?

I trust the coaches to make the right decisions. I really mean that. How could I possibly know better? I'm not even permitted to watch practice.

Ivan from El Paso, TX

Any possibility of ending the season 12-4?

Sure, but the only possibility that matters right now is ending the weekend 10-4. At this time of the year, that's not coachspeak, it's the truth and coaches don't need to sell it to their players because December does it for them. The remaining games are so few now and their importance is so distinct that players have no difficulty focusing fully on the next game. In my opinion, that's why December football is played at a higher level.

Eric from St. Louis, MO

What can the Packers do to prevent Khalil Mack from repeating his monster performance from last week?

Make him play the run.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, are passing yards overrated?

They're less impactful than rushing yards because there are no garbage rushing yards. If you're running the ball late in the game, it's to kill the clock and clinch the win, and those yards are every bit as valuable as the yards that got you the lead. In too many cases, the passing yards leaders on a given Sunday are quarterbacks that padded their yardage at garbage time.

Andrew from Sacramento, CA

I'm going to the game on Sunday. It's supposed to be pouring rain, windy and cold. Are we in for a gritty, classic, late-season ballgame?

I can see the seagulls now, gathering near the players' feet as they huddle, the air heavy with moisture from the bay and thick with the sound of that haunting song, the Packers' white jerseys bearing an occasional mud stain from the Coliseum turf that always seems to be wet, just as another team's white jersey's bore those mud stains a long time ago. It's the same mud, just different teams playing in it. I guess Al Davis really wasn't watering the field, but I think he enjoyed the accusation he was, and it always made for a good story, which is most important. Everything about that place is dark and heavy and damp, all of which aptly describe the press box of my youth. One more time we'll meet, and then we'll say goodbye.

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