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Here's what they have to do to beat Dallas

Rodgers, McCarthy hot postseason combination


Michael from Dallas, TX

Did Packers use the cold to their advantage?

I thought the Packers' receivers looked more comfortable playing in the cold than the Giants' receivers.


Matt from Winfield, IL

Vic, tell me how the defense did it.

I think the pass rush got into Eli Manning's head. On one occasion, I saw him turn his head to the left to peek at the rush before he threw a pass. That's a major no-no. When a defensive coordinator sees the quarterback peek, he's going to empty his bag of blitzes on him.

Jonathan from Muenster, Germany

I just want to say what a great play that was by Matthews. We always preach to play until the whistle and Matthews just did that and more. Great player, great play!

A similar play occurred in a game between the Packers and Giants at MetLife Stadium in 2011. You play the game with your ears, too.

Luke from Kenosha, WI

It would appear the team was trying to go out and play their hardest for Jordy Nelson. He was hit illegally and might possibly be out, which would be a heartbreaking end of the season for him after what he's been through the last few years.

I wonder how many fans knew it was illegal for a defender to lead with his head to a defenseless receiver's body. I'm not wild about having Mike Pereira in the broadcast booth. In my opinion, we overly critique officiating. I'd like to see Pereira used only in review situations and rules explanations. Pereira volunteered that commentary on the Nelson play much later in the broadcast. I didn't think it was necessary. Football is a tough game. The players are moving at lightning-like speed. I sensed no intent to injure Nelson.

Scott from Dallas, TX

No complaints about the timeout before halftime.

Why not? Because it worked. The fourth-down go-for-it didn't work, and my inbox is full of complaints. We must remember an aggressive mindset doesn't come with a guarantee of success, but don't try to win with a passive approach. Those days, if they ever existed, are long gone. Bold coaches win championships.

Steve from Lake Stevens, WA

Vic, is this the Packers taking what they want?

When they convert third down with a quick, accurate pass to a receiver on the move, yes, it is. That's Packers offense the Mike McCarthy way, and it's at the core of this team's late-season turnaround. The Packers have a red-hot quarterback and a coach who's pushing the right buttons. That's a tough combination to beat in the postseason.

Jacob from Madison, WI

For my entertainment dollar, there's not been a more entertaining team this season than the Packers. What's the most entertaining team you've covered, top to bottom?

The candidates are: the 1978 Steelers, the 1996 Jaguars and the 2014 Packers.

Jerry from Wilmington, NC

Vic, which of the four TV playoff coverages did you appreciate the most?

All four games were lopsided, so there's nothing dramatic to commit to memory. Buck and Aikman were really on their games yesterday. Buck played the party card well, and Aikman's analysis provided insight that made me smile. I loved his take on Bobby Rainey being in the game on the third-and-short run.

Jake from Grand Marais, MN

Vic, just when the world starts to wonder where Randall Cobb is, he shows up. There are so many playmakers on this team, it's hard for them all to shine at once.

I'm upset by the number of emails in my inbox from fans suggesting it might've been time to replace Cobb. Why, because he missed a couple of games? Shouldn't all those big plays in big games down through the years buy more than two games worth of loyalty? Cobb certainly expressed his loyalty in his last contract.

Eric from Baltimore, MD

What did the coaches see in the Giants defense that enabled Aaron Rodgers to do so much better in the second half?

I think the Giants missed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Troy Aikman explained Rodgers-Cromartie would've been assigned to the Packers' slot receiver. As I said, Aikman was on his game yesterday.

Eric from Goodhue, MN

The more I study players, the more they astonish me. The split-second decisions shown by quarterbacks with their reads is amazing. How do defensive coordinators mix things up enough so they are not constantly gashed by offenses?

Disguising coverages and rush schemes are a defensive coordinator's most important job. Make man look like zone, quarters coverage look like cover two, show blitz and then drop into coverage, etc. Dom Capers' zone-blitz scheme is the ultimate in disguising coverage. You know, I haven't seen the zone-blitz in a while. It might be something good to try against a rookie quarterback.

Tony from Burbank, CA

Vic, I think the Hail Mary at the end of the first half was a big momentum shift. What do you think was the turning point in the game?

I think it was the Packers' touchdown drive following the Giants' fourth-and-1 stop and subsequent long touchdown pass that cut the Packers' lead to 14-13.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Vic, that was one of the strangest games I've ever seen. It felt like the Packers had nothing for the first 27 minutes. The best thing they had going was the Giants receivers dropping the ball. What happened? Who flipped the switch? Can the switch stay on for another week?

Yes, if the Packers stop the run. That's Job 1 against the Cowboys because the best formula for beating a red-hot quarterback is to run the ball and keep him on the bench. That'll be the Cowboys' game plan; I guarantee it.

Jeremy from Oshkosh, WI

It was apparent from the beginning of the game the Giants were able to apply a controlled rush consistently to keep Rodgers in the pocket. What changed in the second half with their pressure and why did it work in the first place?

Remember the old rush four, drop seven scheme for beating Aaron Rodgers? Well, the Giants rushed four and dropped seven but it didn't work because the Packers offensive line gave Rodgers time to throw the ball. Players, not plays.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Who are your favorite Polish football players? Is Chester Marcol, a former Packers kicker, in the running?

I interviewed Chester for "Alumni Spotlight" a few years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with him. My favorite Polish football player, however, is Dick "Little Mo" Modzelewski, and it's because he's from my hometown and was playing for the Giants when I went to see a pro football game for the first time in my life.

Oscar from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, what did you think of Coach McCarthy's decision to go for it on fourth-and-inches? I loved it because it was near midfield and it was very attainable. It seems a lot of fans didn't like it because it failed, yet, if it had succeeded, he would have been lauded for his boldness.

What I didn't like is I didn't have enough time to say three Hail Marys and three Our Fathers. Otherwise, I thought it was a great call.

Jeff from Amarillo, TX

Every Packers fan in the nation is wondering how Jordy is. Why can't our organization recognize these things and post information such as this on the website? Simple!

Because the Packers would be providing information to their opponent. Nelson's status may not be addressed until Wednesday. Game plans will be complete before then.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Vic, Mike McCarthy talked about play-calling using the words rhythm, flow and making big plays. Yesterday's game was the first time we did it for the final three quarters of a big game. What challenges will Dallas pose against our offense?

In my opinion, Sunday's game will be about time of possession. It will be how one disrupts the rhythm, flow and big-play ability of the other. The Cowboys are No. 3 in the league in time of possession; the Packers are No. 4. The Cowboys do it with the run; the Packers do it with their possession passing game. The Cowboys will try to disrupt the rhythm, flow and big-play ability of the Packers offense by running the ball, dominating time of possession and keeping the Packers offense on the bench for long stretches of the game. That's the only way I see a team stopping Aaron Rodgers as he's playing right now. The Packers defense must stop the run. That's the challenge.

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