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Inbox: Now it's about what they do with it

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

Tracy from Sioux Falls, SD

As for first seed...missed it bye that much. I'm already seeing myself out.

Please do.

Leeroy from Jenkins, KY

So, how did you play your seeding article, due to the down-to-the wire SF-SEA game? Write articles both ways and risk lost time? Or write one and risk being Wilson-ed? Inquiring minds want to know.

I wrote the story at halftime with San Francisco winning, and I was ready to do a total rewrite if Seattle got in the end zone at the finish. We posted it right away and then updated it a few minutes later with Green Bay's divisional weekend time slot. Times like these work is fun that way.

Bryan from Oceanside, CA

Just win baby.

I didn't buy into that line of thought last week, at all, about a blowout, resting starters, wanting to tune up for the playoffs, etc. I didn't expect the win to be that difficult, but I went in thinking any way, anyhow. On a short week after a big, emotional victory, the Packers looked like a team that needs this bye. So it's a good thing they got it. Now it's about what they do with it.

Dustin from Onalaska, WI

What a comeback! I am wondering what the atmosphere in the locker room is like at halftime of a game like that. Any chewing out happening or just all adjustments and positive energy? Something had to happen to result in a team pulling a 180 and getting back on track.

I asked LaFleur postgame what he said at halftime, and his message was to stick with it and focus on the job each play. That's how comebacks happen – with execution – not with fire and brimstone. Good teams and good coaches know that.

Dave from Philadelphia, PA

17 weeks in and the NFL still can't get the officiating right. The non-call on the third down at the end of the Niners-Seahawks was the difference between a potential NFC Championship Game coming to Lambeau or not. Gut feeling, but something huge is going to happen (again) with a missed call and the NFL will be back to square one. I can't remember a season where it's been this controversial all year and the NFL has no one to blame but themselves.

I agree it feels like another playoff fiasco is in the offing. In that situation in Seattle, if the game is not going to be stopped to review the play, the rule is useless. Why even have it? Get rid of it or get rid of the people who aren't competent enough to apply it properly. That said, Seattle hosed itself. Getting a delay of game on the 1-yard line there is totally inexcusable.

Philip from Signal Mountain, TN

Hi team! Wild pair of wins against the Lions. Has any other team in NFL history won two games against the same opponent without leading a single second?

It's only the second time in NFL history, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The only other was 1977, 49ers over Saints twice. As Lori from Costa Rica pointed out, toss in the Hail Mary in '15 and it's three of the Packers' last five wins and nine total meetings vs. Detroit.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

Total points allowed by the Packers' defense against NFC North opponents this year: 84, for an even average of 14 per game. Have to imagine that's some kind of record, or at least way up there...?

I don't have the list in front of me, but if you wanted to pick one number that explains why the Packers are where they are right now, that's a pretty good choice.

Eduardo from Rosemead, CA

Magic. That's the identity of this team. It has to be. It also sounds much better than clutch, or "winning in different ways." No, it's pulchritudinous magic that somehow emanates from different players that step up in each close game. That is a wonder to watch. A win is a darn win. Perhaps their fervent belief in themselves to win every game may just be enough when that critical moment in the game is needed. Inexplicably magical. I'd put that on a shirt. Are you Insiders on-board!?

Wow. Pulchritudinous. I have no response.

Spencer from Rockford, IL

Each week there's a player who steps up to make key plays. This week was the unexpected Blake Martinez. Always making plays, but rarely do you see a pick or sack as timely as the ones he had against the Lions.

Martinez and Za'Darius Smith combined on the sack and combined on the pick. Smith's pressure led to the flush, then the badly underthrown pass.

Mike from Stevens Point, WI

Who would have thought that a pass interference call on Jaire Alexander would be the play of the game?

A smart play and another rather fortunate occurrence, along with others I outlined in my postgame editorial, which I'd encourage everyone to read because I cover a lot of ground in there you're probably looking for here. I ask you to humor me so I don't have to repeat myself a bunch. Thanks for understanding.

Mike from Austin, TX

I know I'm not the first to say it, but "Winning ugly sure beats losing pretty." So, what do we have to worry about in two weeks? Hope those O-line injuries are minor, although Lucas Patrick and Jared Veldheer sure looked fine.

Being down two starters didn't seem to affect anything, which is a credit to the subs. I'm interested to check the film on those guys.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Aaron Rodgers said at his press conference (paraphrasing) he was off today. Can you recall the last time he was sharp for an entire game? Is it knowing the offense, comfort with his protection, confidence and timing with his receivers? What is "off"?

I don't think Rodgers knows. He said after the game the ball felt great coming off his hand, and he was sure some of those throws would be completed, yet they ended up a couple of yards off-target. If he doesn't know, I certainly have no answers.

Jeff from Bismarck, ND

So am I the only one with the song "Age of Za'Darius" running through my head?

Not anymore.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

Signing Lucas Patrick was a smart move and now if they can get Mason Crosby and Bryan Bulaga locked down they will have a year to figure out how to get David Bakhtiari, Corey Linsley, Kenny Clark and Kevin King all signed before 2021. Do you think they can do it or does the "you can't sign everyone" come into effect?

It'll come into effect at some point. It always does.

Brett from Oshkosh, WI

Any chance the NFL can swoop in and posthumously give Davante Adams three receiving yards? Maybe for 2016 too while they're at it?

997 redux. Uncanny.

Kathryn from Racine, WI

Who holds the longest-standing record in any category for the Packers?

As far as major records, it would be Don Hutson's 99 touchdown receptions from 1935-45. There are actually several significant receiving records that have stood the test of time. Hutson's 14 catches in one game (Nov. 22, 1942) was nearly matched by Adams in Minnesota when he had his second career 13-catch game. Billy Howton still owns the team record for most receiving yards in one game with 257 (Oct. 21, 1956). Howton's receiving records for rookies from 1952 also still stand (1,231 yards, 13 TDs).

Paul from West Salem, WI

Which is more concerning, our lack of consistency on offense or our inability to stop the run?

The Packers had done a great job against the run for the last month-plus, but there was obviously a letdown on Sunday. They fixed that once, they can fix it again. The inconsistency on offense is definitely the bigger issue because it's the repeating refrain (how's that for redundancy?), and so many of the struggles are self-inflicted. The Packers aren't going to be able to go entire halves in the playoffs without touchdowns and expect to win. The stretches not finding the end zone are getting too long.

Rob from London, UK

Have Packers had the most names on the "NFL 100 All-Time Team"? If not which team has more?

If my quick tabulations are correct, the Bears and Colts (Baltimore and Indy) have the most with nine individuals each. The Raiders are next with eight, followed by the Packers, Steelers and Cowboys with seven apiece.

Taylor from Story City, IA

Who would you least like to get tackled by on the Packers roster? Also who would you least like to try and tackle?

Nobody, and … let me think … nobody.

Maximilian from Pasadena, CA

The Patriots lost to the Dolphins in the same situation to lose out on a bye. No opponent will just give you a win, especially a rival.

The NFL mandating division games for all in Week 17 was a stroke of scheduling genius.

Matt from Cazenovia, WI

What do you guys think of the AFC? I just have this underlying feeling that the Ravens peaked too early. I see a hyped-up team laying an egg in the divisional round. Is this the year Andy Reid makes it back to the big dance?

I think all football fans outside the northeast would like to see the Ravens and Chiefs meet for the AFC title. Patriots are without a bye for the first time since 2009.

Jeff from Dorr, MI

Is it just me or does Aaron Jones run sideways faster than forward? Maybe he should do a 40 sideways.

Jones is not slow, but his lateral speed is a greater asset than his open-field speed. I still don't know how he snaked through the traffic on that late screen pass. Another piece of film I'm anxiously awaiting.

Brandon from Oshkosh, WI

Hi II, I just saw the Packers restructured Aaron Rodgers contract. Can you explain how that all works? What are the advantages? Is there any downside to it?

The Packers converted some of Rodgers' guaranteed money due in a lump sum soon into a signing bonus so that the amount could be prorated out over a five-year period. It takes what was going to be a large cap charge in 2020 and spreads it out into smaller annual cap hits to create salary space for next season. The smaller amounts spread out shouldn't have too significant an impact on future caps, as the cap has been going up by about $10 million or more annually.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

Watching our pass-rush unit peaking as the playoff lap begins has really been an eye-catcher. When you step back and look long arc at prior years for other teams, having a four-man rush that is just destroying other teams' game plans has been a quintessential hallmark of winning teams. For this team in particular, where that productivity came from is really notable. A GM who was active in the market, a DC who was active in identifying needs and executing with the resources. Coaching and FO in tandem.

Edge rusher was a primary position that needed an overhaul for both the immediate and long term. Accomplishing both in one year is way better than anyone could have hoped for.

Kevin from Holmen, WI

The defense we saw against Minnesota last week can travel anywhere in the playoffs. The national narrative the last few years has been to get Rodgers a defense and he can lead a deep run in the playoffs. My gut tells me this defense and ground game is what will lead this team to a potential championship.

Having a defense and ground game means having the ability to control the line of scrimmage. Yes, that'll travel anywhere. They'll also function in the cold. Rodgers' postgame comments about balance speak to that. The opponents only get tougher, though.

The Green Bay Packers faced off against the Detroit Lions in the 2019 regular-season finale at Ford Field.

Tom from Burlington, WI

Good day gents! Do you see the release of Tony Brown as an open roster spot for Raven Greene, or possibly running back depth given Jamaal Williams' injury? He seemed to have been putting together a solid utility season.

LaFleur hinted a week or so ago that Greene might be able to come back for the postseason. We'll see.

Chuck from Sun Prairie, WI

It would have made no sense for the Packers to lose their identity the last regular-season game. Can they keep it?

It's a tough way to live, but it's what they've got. I sense a team that was grinding every week since the rout in San Francisco, and the emotional/celebratory triumph followed by a short week to end this grind was a bigger obstacle than they bargained for. That's not an excuse, but a circumstance they did not navigate optimally, and it nearly cost them big-time. But none of that matters now. Reset, refocus, recharge. A week from now there will be eight teams playing for a championship, and the Packers are one of them.

Doug from Wausau, WI

Maybe "they need to find another level" will catch up to this team at some point, but it's sure been an entertaining ride so far. Just keep winning. Just keep winning. Just keep winning.

The other level is still out there, but as I've said all along, its existence is no guarantee it'll be reached. As long as there's a game to play, they can play it better.

Steve from Caldwell, ID

Thank you, Mike and Wes. You take a community-owned franchise and expand the community worldwide. It's obvious that life is bigger than football, and yet this forum has the unique ability to bring people together. This is SO refreshing in such a divided world. Thanks.

We try. It's anti-Yoda to say so, but there is a try.

Kirsten from Madison, WI

If my Wikipedia research is correct, the Packers have made the playoffs 20 out of the past 27 seasons, and they've never missed more than two seasons in a row. I'm highly optimistic about this team's chances, and I think our arrow is pointed way up for next year. But before the playoff madness begins, can we just take a moment to be thankful for this team's amazing run? Well done, Packers. Nothing but love from these grateful fans.

Happy Monday.

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