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Inbox: It truly is the most wonderful time of the year

The Packers held up their end of the bargain on Christmas

CBs Rasul Douglas & Keisean Nixon
CBs Rasul Douglas & Keisean Nixon

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

The playoff hopes just got real. That spark turned to a flame that now becomes a fire to warm all our hearts. Hoping the New Year's celebration can match the joy from our Merry Christmas. Go Colts. Go Browns. And GPG!

Dean brought back the poems and the Packers brought back the dubs. Coincidence? I think not. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Good morning!

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Wes, my grandmother always told me to write my Christmas "thank yous" quickly, so let me do so here. Thank you to the Panthers, 49ers, Vikings and Chiefs. Those were exactly the gifts I had hoped for this year!

The NFL did its thing on Saturday and the Packers held up their end of the bargain on Christmas. As Ha Ha Clinton-Dix once said, "Three in the wagon, two laggin.'"

Jeffery from Brooklyn, WI

Hey guys. 47 degrees? Really? Heck, that's shorts and T-shirt weather in Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, you should have seen Spoff and me fighting the elements in the press box. Having an A/C vent directly above will break the hardiest individual. That's the coldest I've ever been covering an NFL game. No cap.

Craig from Laramie, WY

On Big Dog's TD, there were four tight ends on the field, if I'm not mistaken. It looked like he was Miami's fourth concern, based on how he was almost ignored. That seems like a good goal-to-go scheme, and I wondered how many times GB has used it so far?

The Packers' ability to find ways to scheme Marcedes Lewis open is one of the more underrated parts of Green Bay's performance in the red zone this season. There's plenty of room to improve in that area but "Big Dog" has been a bright spot.

Wayne from Stevens Point, WI

Hello GBP revelers, Devin Hester used to scare the pants off me. Keisean Nixon must be doing the same to our opponents. What is his poorest return so far? Has any other returner ever had so many excellent returns in so few attempts? It seems as though he has three speeds. One is used toward the center of the field drawing defenders in, then a bit faster to the side so defenders reset their angles, and lastly, top speed down the field revealing the bad angles. Giddy-up.

I remember Nixon taking one out early that didn't make it back to the 20. But besides that, Nixon's decision-making has been flawless. His ability to see blocks develop and accelerate through the gaps is second to none. It's the best I've seen in Green Bay. Nixon now leads all kickoff returners by more than a yard (27.0 yards per return). I hope he's somehow able to play this week because the chess match between Nixon and Kene Nwangwu would be must-see special-teams television.

Kevin from Hermansville, MI

Just a comment: How about a shout out to the assistant coaches for keeping the "next man up" ready to go at multiple positions! Secondary, D-line, O-line, wideout…amazing job gentlemen!

As Spoff asked Matt LaFleur about after the game, the contributions came across the board on Christmas. While you expect Darnell Savage, Jarran Reed, Romeo Doubs and other "starters" to step up, I was perhaps most impressed with the snaps Patrick Taylor gave the Packers in the second half. Aaron Jones was hurting. He came into the game with the knee injury and then tweaked the ankle. So, the Packers were being cautious with their star back. That leads to Taylor being on the field in a pivotal third-and-9 situation and he catches a 17-yard pass to set up the touchdown drive.

Craig from Elkhart, IN

Hi Spoff...let's face it, in the end it's all about creating entertainment worthy of generating the kind of global support the Packers enjoy. Kudos to the Packer brass who understand this and keep an eye on talent that all pull in the same direction to produce quality football. Have you ever covered a player more entertaining and FUN to watch than Jaire Alexander?

There is no one quite like Jaire Alexander. He's such an interesting, thoughtful and entertaining fella when he chooses to show that side of his personality. He's also one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. For a few years, the only thing missing on his resume was the takeaways. This year, they're coming in droves, and it's propelled the Packers to some big victories. The other thing about Alexander is he always seems to redeem himself after making a mistake. I think about the Chicago game where he came back and picked off Justin Fields after the deep ball to Equanimeous St. Brown early in the game. On Sunday, he missed the open-field tackle on the Jaylen Waddle touchdown but more than made up for it with how he played in the second half.

Dave from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Joe Barry has received plenty of criticism this season from Packer fans. Right or wrong, not for me to say. But what I will say is he and his staff should receive plenty of kudos for adjustments they obviously made at halftime.

I think Barry and his staff should be commended for how they rallied the troops on defense at halftime. Rasul Douglas and Jaire Alexander both talked about the fire in Jerry Gray's belly after that first-half performance. The Packers made a few schematic adjustments but mainly guys just locked in and kept plays in front of them.

Check out behind-the-scenes photos of the Green Bay Packers' locker room after their victory over the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on Christmas Day.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

Hope you all had a great Christmas! What was your play of the game? I felt like the Raheem Mostert fumble really changed the tone.

I agree Jarran Reed's forced fumble and recovery was critical. Miami not only didn't give Mostert many opportunities after the fumble, but the play also started a run of 16 unanswered Packers points to come back and win the game. As I tweeted Monday, Reed is an understated player. It's easy to forget he now has six forced fumbles and 27 career sacks. Offensively, Marcedes Lewis' 31-yard catch down the sideline provided both an emotional lift and an explosive play on a gotta-have-it series for Green Bay.

Jim from Wausau, WI

After the game Sunday, I was wondering why we didn't use our TE more during the season. Now the Vikings and Lions have to think more of defending our TE. Never hurts to have more weapons on offense.

What's more, the Packers' best red-zone offenses have been those where tight ends have been active inside the 20. It's one more positional weapon to account for.

James from Willand, UK

Hi Wes, could you explain the thinking behind the "deliberate" offside by Miami, please? I can't understand why giving the Packers an extra set of downs would help Miami. Thank you.

I've seen that happen a few times when the clock is stopped and an opponent is facing second-and-short. The Dolphins forfeited the first down with the 5-yard penalty, so they could stop the clock after Green Bay's next play. If Miami doesn't take the penalty and Green Bay runs for a first down on second-and-2, then the Dolphins would've had to burn their second timeout regardless after the Packers just got a fresh set of downs. Instead, Miami saved 40 seconds.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. It looked like Devonte Wyatt was maybe a little slimmer (less hefty) than he was four months ago. True or not, has he earned more playing time after making big contributions in Miami?

I think so. He told us last week he's definitely thinking less and playing more. Wyatt reminds me a lot of Kenny Clark in that he's not the largest defensive tackle to walk into the building but has the makeup to play all three downs. Wyatt played a career-high 24 snaps on Sunday and could be in line for even more work depending on how Dean Lowry comes through with his calf injury.

Evan from Durango, CO

With the benefit of hindsight, I think we should have sat Aaron Rodgers for a few weeks after the London game. Our record wouldn't be any worse, and maybe his thumb heals enough to pick up wins against the Lions and Titans, or Jordan Love gets a win at Washington. At 9-6, we'd be sitting pretty. Ifs, buts, candy, nuts…Just beat the Vikings.

Exactly. And I'm never going to blame a competitor for wanting to compete, especially in a sport with its 100% injury rate.

TK from Grafton, WI

Out of left field, but here goes: Both of you have been covering the team to feel qualified to answer this: How has 12's personality changed/grown etc. in the time you've covered him?

Rodgers has talked openly about how he peels back the curtain more than he did during his early days as a starter, which I greatly appreciate. He has a brilliant football mind and I know I've learned a great deal from covering him the past 10 years. I'd like to think that's made me a better football writer.

Ray from Phoenix, AZ

Warm-weather teams and dome teams are different animals on a cold, blustery day. What is the forecast in GB for next Sunday afternoon?

High of 36, low of 30, and a 40% chance of purple rain.

Scott from Muir Beach, CA

Howdy. The Packers can't rely on four turnovers to beat the Vikings. They'll just have to play better ball. Can they find a way to stop Justin Jefferson because they sure couldn't with the Miami WRs? Happy Holidays fellas.

Hopefully, the Packers figured something out with the secondary in the second half that can help mitigate the over-the-top plays going forward. Doubtless, I expect Green Bay to have a better plan for how it attacks Jefferson than it did in the opener. He's been on one heck of a run as of late, but it's worth pointing out the game will be vastly different at Lambeau Field in January 30-degree weather than it was inside U.S. Bank Stadium in the opener.

Darryl from Glen Carbon, IL

In regard to a question about the Cowboys potentially resting their starters in their final game at Washington, there are a few different ways to look at it: 1. Never, ever, "let" a division foe into the playoffs. Ask the 2010 Bears about that. 2. I would imagine Mike McCarthy and all Cowboys fans, for that matter, would love another chance at playing the Packers again only in Dallas this time. 3. Do they want any part of the Packers again? Bottom line: Just beat the Vikings.

That's all the Packers can worry about right now. Minnesota and Detroit are formidable adversaries and winning these next two won't be easy. More than just the playoff implications for the Packers, I'm curious what decisions Philadelphia and Dallas make in the weeks to come to ready for the postseason. There are so many games now that this question of "How much rest is too much rest?" becomes a real question, especially in Jalen Hurts' case.

Dick from Four Oaks, NC

If anyone dares to go on the secondary market and sell their tickets to a Vikings or Lions fan, they should be blacklisted or something! Let's make sure that Lambeau is filled with nothing but loud and crazy green and gold fans for these next two games!


Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

I know math isn't allowed, but would a 9-8 record have a higher percentage than 8-7-2? I would think so.

In the NFL's eyes, it's the same winning percentage (.563) and the head-to-head tiebreaker becomes a thing again as it relates to Green Bay and Washington/N.Y. Giants.

Steven from Cleveland, OH

Lifelong Packers fan living in Cleveland where the Browns are my "second" favorite team. Understanding we must beat the Vikes and the Lions, if the Browns go to D.C. this weekend and defeat the Commanders, we're the NFC's seventh seed! Right?

That is correct. The Packers would be in pole position for the No. 7 seed with an 8-8 record. Even if Seattle wins out, Green Bay will have a better NFC record (7-5) than the Seahawks (6-6) in such a scenario.

Keith from Truro, Canada

Hey guys. Season's greetings. We got four wonderful Christmas gifts last week. Do you think the Colts and Browns can give us a New Year's to be happy about?

Fortunately, both teams (and their coaches) still have plenty to play for. We'll see whether Jeff Saturday and the Colts can finish the job this time.

Dale from Fenton, MI

Bummer for Nathaniel Hackett. Saw a bit of the game Sunday, he looked like he was aging like a president. What's your take on the situation?

My heart goes out to Hackett and Justin Outten. They're both great dudes. Every coach who collects an NFL paycheck understands the industry's volatility, but these are still human beings with families. I wouldn't blame Hackett at all if he wants to take a break and recombobulate after everything that happened in Denver this year.

Samantha from Marion, IA

Hello! Wondering if you can tell us what that cross-body arm motion meant that Jaire Alexander did in his (amazing) postgame interview! It's obviously a celebration of some sort but was curious about it. Thank you!

It's Alexander putting on his seatbelt. Locked in.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Congratulations to Elgton Jenkins! I'm so happy for him that his knee is back and that he is rightfully being paid what he deserves. It will be a pleasure to watch him in the green and gold trenches for years to come!

The Packers' ability to draft and develop Pro Bowl-caliber offensive linemen never ceases to amaze me.

Craig from Sheboygan, WI

Do you know what AR gave his O-linemen for Christmas?

Scooters…based on Jenkins' Instagram account.

Ann from Whittier, CA

When will the Week 18 schedule be finalized?

My guess is Sunday night. That's when the NFL announced it last year. Two games will be played on Saturday, Jan. 7, and the rest on Sunday, Jan. 8.

John from Jupiter, FL

Morning Wes. Do you ever wish you could respond to a play like Wayne and Larry in the press box? Love hearing those "dagger" calls. Thanks.

Only when Spoff delivers a good zinger.

Allen from Fairhope, AL

"...When what to my wondering eyes did appear,

But a Path to the Playoffs, from Mike with good cheer!"

Packers Nation must have been very good for such a bundle of Christmas presents!

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Have a great Tuesday, citizens of Inbox.

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