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Get ready for the game of the year

Game in Arizona will give us a feel for the postseason


David from Stockholm, Sweden

After winning a tough away game in bad conditions, you should be delighted. What's happening?

The Packers created a standard for offensive performance in recent years that is now creating frustration. Coach McCarthy expressed disdain yesterday for "style points." I've been doing that for a long time. Let it go. Just win, baby. The Packers did.

Reed from McFarland, WI

I am trying to adopt your "watch and enjoy" mantra, Vic. It has helped this year. I like McCarthy's comments about the negativity and having 10 wins. The question is will this type of football be good enough to make it to February?

I think we're going to get the answer to that question in Arizona. Aaron Rodgers called it a good test. I believe it's a true measuring-stick game. The Cardinals are one of two teams in the NFC by which the others will be judged.

Jeppe from Esbjerg, Denmark

I'm stunned how this team has won 10 games. In my eyes, the Packers have not played as a team that should even get close to 10 wins. Is it a matter of pure luck, or am I missing something?

The Packers do not have the rankings of a 10-win team. Again, what does that say about the job this team's coaching staff has done? It tells me Coach McCarthy and his staff know how to win, and it tells me they've created a habit and a template for winning among the players.

Doug from Lafayette, OH

Vic, do you get a sense the quarterback and the coach have differing opinions on the offense's performance?

They probably share thoughts on the offense, but the coach is the coach of the whole team, not just the offense, so on a day when the defense "scored" two of the Packers' touchdowns and closed out the game with a suffocating fourth-quarter performance, it would be dispiriting for those who don't play offense for the coach to go all poop negative in the press conference because he's disappointed with one phase of his team's play. Mike McCarthy is the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, not the head coach of the Green Bay Packers offense.

Fabian from Munich, Germany

Vic, at some point in yesterday's postgame press conference, it seemed like the reporters were afraid to ask a question, because of Aaron Rodgers' mood. What did you take away from the press conference that was not directly said, but could be read between the lines?

I didn't sense any fear for asking Rodgers questions, nor did I sense anything between the lines. I sensed a wonderful give and take between Rodgers and reporters. They asked, he answered. I sensed truth. It was cleansing, and I appreciate his honesty.

Brent from Columbus AFB, MS

Vic, Aaron Rodgers isn't OK with the offense. Are you?

Yeah, I am. It came as no surprise to me Oakland loaded up against the run and attacked the screen game. I know Jack Del Rio and he is manic about stopping the run. I predicted he would be, just as I predicted he'd be all over those screen passes. Actually, Jack predicted as much in his conference call last week. This one was about defense and precision passing. The Packers defense was sensational, and the Packers' passing attack came to life on that 19-play, 92-yard drive. That drive is what the Packers' passing attack is going to have to be to win in the postseason, in my opinion. It's going to have to be drive-sustaining, because the big play is missing from the Packers' passing attack and opponents are going to continue to load up against the run. I like what I saw in that drive, especially because it was executed at crunch time. Remember this about me: I'm a defensive guy. I'm not a silver-spoon offensive guy. The 2011 Packers weren't my kind of team. I don't have a good feel for that kind of football. I like the way this team plays. It's developing a hard outer shell. I like that.

Gully from Maple, WI

Since the Packers' remaining games are with potential playoff opponents, will the Packers experiment with matchups? Will our opponents do the same?

They're not experiments, they're strategy and they're ongoing. I have continually written about scheming personnel. That's what the Packers did yesterday in that 92-yard drive, and using Randall Cobb as a running back is the signature example of scheming personnel to create favorable matchups. Coach McCarthy was calling plays for the Raiders defense as much as he was calling plays for the Packers offense, but it wasn't about the plays, it was about the players.

David from Menasha, WI

What did you think of Rodgers' press conference? It seemed pretty tense in there. If you could have asked another question to him, what would it have been?

I don't think there was another question to ask. I think we've asked all of the questions and I think we know all of the answers. We're 14 games into this season. It is what it is. I think we know it all.

Ross from Tremont, IL

Vic, I hope the lights were on when our Packers came home last night.

I don't know because my lights went out somewhere over Wyoming. It was a long day. I woke up when the wheels bumped the ground in Green Bay – it always scares me awake when that happens. I returned to my roots in Oakland, and then I returned to the 21st century upon landing in Green Bay. I fully appreciate the sense of urgency the Raiders franchise is experiencing.

Raphael from Paris, France

How good was it to see those back-shoulder connections again? They're getting it, slowly but surely they're getting it. Too late?

I agree, they're getting it, and it's not too late, it's just in time.

David from London, England

This team's identity is that eventually it'll find a way to win.

Whatever it takes. I think that's its motto. I began to get that feeling a few weeks ago.

Jimmy from Wauwatosa, WI

What's the injury status as we move forward?

The Packers are pretty healthy. That's one of the trademarks of a hot December team.

Evan from Green Bay, WI

The arrow's direction?

The Packers are 3-0 in December. Their arrow is pointing straight up, and its direction will get its sternest test next Sunday in Arizona. In my mind, it's the game of the year.

Matt from Minocqua, WI

Vic, two weeks in a row you've led off Aaron Rodgers' presser, and two weeks in a row he wasn't too pleased with the question. Is he just showing frustration in the game and it's exemplified in his responses to you, or are you asking bad questions and Rodgers would ban you if he could?

I didn't know it was a performance. I thought it was an exercise in fact finding. What are you seeking, the truth or comfort?

Dan from South Range, WI

Would Coach Vic have sat his star wide receiver after the first cheap shot, or waited until the third or fourth? Curious to see what the league does.

Odell Beckham was too important to the Giants' game plan and playoff hopes to bench. Be that as it may, when I see a player melt down as Beckham did, I worry.

Jacob from Kewaskum, WI

Do you still do "Ask Vic Halftime"? If so, could you tell me how to find it?

Yesterday was the first time in the history of the world "Ask Vic Halftime" was a no-show. The Wi-Fi in the press box was weak and I was unable to access the questions. Normally, "AVH" can be accessed in the centerpiece just as the first half as ending, or even a little before then. I apologize for yesterday's failure to produce a column. At times on Sunday, I felt as though I was using my old Royal portable. "Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, and stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools."

Red from Murrieta, CA

On the Rodgers interception, why were we throwing in the first place, instead of running more time off the clock with a running play?

When the Packers run, I get complaints they took their foot off the gas. Your question is sensible, but the answer is not: Whatever you do, never fail. It's the only acceptable answer.

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