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Inbox: Now they get some home cooking

His really big game is coming


Greg from Belvidere, IL

Great start to December football!

The Packers got the job done in a game they should have won. Nothing flashy, a win with some warts, but success. Now they get some home cooking.

Jim from McLean, VA

It's a good thing that the Packers realized Davante Adams's return from injury messed up our offense and Rodgers decided to not look for him in this game.

Adams was so close to a huge day. Aaron Rodgers made a great sideline throw that the two Giants converged on, and Adams still almost came down with it. Then he dropped that slant over the middle with room to run. His really big game is coming.

Barb from Wilmington, IL

Now that November is over, is Rodgers going to shave?

I don't know and don't care, but as many readers pointed out, I hope he keeps looking for Allen Lazard. I was a week early on him, when I wrote about him coming off the bye and named him my player to watch for San Francisco. That's the kind of production the Packers need from a receiver other than Adams, and Lazard needs to keep delivering.

Neal from Fort Worth, TX

What was your biggest takeaway from this game?

Offensively, other than the Lazard thoughts already expressed, the Packers need to run the ball better. They've taken a step back from where they were at midseason with the ground game. Defensively, the pass rush is pretty steady and if the coverage could hold up for another half second or so, a lot could change. But a half second is no small thing. It's everything in a fast-paced game.

Chad from Tarpon Springs, FL

How do you feel about the Packers getting zero sacks?

I'll take three picks over twice as many sacks any day. The pressure on Jones hurried him into a couple of those bad throws.

Dave from East Burke, VT

It's still cold in Vermont, Mike, but my brain thawed out! Which aspect was most improved: offense, defense, or special teams?

Welcome back, Dave. The offense still looked too disjointed overall for my tastes, but Rodgers helped out with some wizardry. It's hard to tell from the press box how much the conditions are actually affecting the game and potential rhythm. I think the Packers' defense is what it is at this point – it's going to give up plays, and it's going to keep fighting to try to make some plays. When it makes some, the Packers look like a complementary football team. When it doesn't, it almost all falls on Rodgers. The special teams took a step forward, however small. Tremon Smith almost broke one kickoff return (though his fumble on the early punt return fortunately went out of bounds), the coverage units were solid, they're keeping the penalties down, and JK Scott looks to be coming out of it. Progress.

Benjamin from San Mateo, CA

I wasn't really focused on the offensive line throughout the game. How did Bryan Bulaga look after his injury last week?

By all accounts he held up fine. I give Bulaga a lot of credit. No one would have faulted him for resting a week or two with that knee sprain. The offensive line as a whole had a strong day in pass protection, but the Giants' run defense came as advertised.

Eric from Reedsburg, WI

How concerning is the Packers' inability to get a stop on fourth downs? The Giants seemed to have no fear of our defense.

They kept going for it because of the conditions, the field position, and the short yardage. The bigger concern was Preston Smith jumping offside on third-and-6 when the Packers had the stop. That's what kept that drive going and gave the Giants three points. They would have punted on fourth-and-6.

Ron from Riverview, FL

Hey guys, hope you had a pleasant trip back home. We had a much needed win in a beautiful December snow game. AR throwing touchdowns...the defense getting turnovers. How much negativity in the Inbox today?

All I have to do is look at the volume to know what I'm in for. Last week, after finishing my game recap and editorial, I opened the Inbox to start the column on the plane and there were already several hundred submissions. Last night, same sequence, and there were barely more than 50. Look, I get it. But this crowd is so predictable.

Henry from Hoback, WY

Mason Crosby earned a game ball today. I'm sure his heart hurt but he didn't flinch. I hope he knows all of Packer Nation is there should he need anything.

That 47-yarder, in those conditions and under those circumstances, might rank as one of the five or so best kicks of his career. I couldn't have been more impressed.

Paul from Kingston, PA

How gratifying was it to hear those "Go Pack Go" chants from the start of the game all the way to the end of the game where they were even louder? This is a fan base that still believed after last week's loss. P.S – I'm the guy who yelled "We love the Inbox" and said we should get lunchboxes when you guys came out of the tunnel.

We appreciate the greeting! That's the first time I've felt like someone cared when I entered a stadium.

Eric from Mequon, WI

Lamar Jackson is just scary good. What other QB has made such a drastic jump from his rookie year? The group must be counted on one hand.

The Ravens brought him along slowly and effectively last year, but he showed so much then they knew it was time to give him the reins and turn him loose.

Todd from Wauwatosa, WI

If Minnesota loses, can we start talking about playoff scenarios, or will that get my friend I'm asking for banned?

Ha. I've engaged in it this much this early only because there's such a clear divide record-wise with the top five teams in the NFC right now.

The Green Bay Packers faced the New York Giants in a Week 13 matchup on Sunday, Dec. 1.

Dan from Toledo, OH

What is the lowest seed to host a playoff game? Has a No. 5 seed ever done it?

I don't think so. To my knowledge, the lowest seed to host a conference championship is the No. 4, when Arizona hosted No. 6 Philly in the 2008 NFC title game (Jan. 2009).

Daniel from Los Angeles, CA

Could you clarify a seeding question: If the Packers, Seahawks, and 49ers have the same record but GB wins their division and San Fran doesn't, who would get the No. 1 seed, Seattle or Green Bay? Would San Fran have to come to our place for the playoffs if they were to face off despite them beating us?

In that scenario, if the Seahawks and Packers are both division champions with equal records, the team with the better record in conference games would get the higher seed. Regardless, if the Packers are division champs and the 49ers are a wild card, a playoff meeting would be at Lambeau.

Ian from Sherman Oaks, CA

With the Saints becoming the first team this season to officially secure a playoff spot, it got me wondering...when is the earliest the Packers could officially secure a berth as well?

If enough goes right over the next two weeks – two wins plus some help – the Packers could clinch a trip to the postseason with two games left.

Wesley from Kingsland, GA

Mike, just know that I am anxiously awaiting your "Path to the Playoffs" article. Hopefully, we're getting there soon!

I'll talk to the boss.

Adrian from High Point, NC

We have got to get the playoffs through Lambeau, man. Was that a beautiful game setting or what?

Gotta love it. Lotta teams that will be in the NFC playoffs don't play in that.

Curt from Manitowoc, WI

I have been hearing a lot of critics wondering about Blake Martinez's play but I'm more concerned about Kevin King. He always seems to be near the receiver when a big play occurs. Is he having a hard time or is it just what we see on the TV broadcast?

Alexander is the tougher cover guy right now so teams are going after King more often. It's the life of a corner. I saw a player Sunday who was in decent position, but he was slowing down when he turned his head to look back for the ball and was giving up separation that way.

Chris from Cedar Rapids, IA

I don't have any stats in front of me, but it doesn't seem like teams are throwing much against Jaire Alexander anymore. Am I seeing that right? If that's the case it can't be overstated how impactful that will be for our defense, now and in the future, having a corner tip the field like that.

Teams aren't going to stay away from Alexander when they have a true No. 1 star receiver. He's going to get a good test from Washington's speedy Ohio State rookie, Terry McLaurin, next week.

Jim from Prairie du Chien, WI

Apparently P.J. Fleck didn't get the memo that boats don't row on snow.

It's good to see the Axe was just on a one-year rental.

Sue from Three Lakes, WI

I agree with your list of hostile environments, but wouldn't you put Minnesota on the list? I keep wanting to take in a game there but have heard bad things about SKOL fans towards us. Maybe it's just GB they're ugly towards, same in Chicago? Philly and Oakland, nasty to all visitors.

Dallas would be in my top three.

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

My son and I attended today's game. One moment we found particularly striking was how happy Rodgers appeared to be on his TD toss to Marcedes Lewis.

I think he'd been wanting to get the "Big Dog" into the end zone for a while. Rodgers really appreciates the veteran leadership Lewis brings to the locker room.

Lea from Boston, MA

I read Matt Schneidman's great article last week where Aaron tried to name all 37 players to whom he'd thrown touchdowns (and succeeded). He mentioned how badly he wanted to get one to Lewis. I heard him call "Big Dog" at the line and knew he was calling his shot. So much fun to see him add to his list and celebrate Marcedes' first TD.

Guess he'll have to change his nickname now, at least at the line of scrimmage.

Luke from Fort Worth, TX

How come King or Za'Darius Smith didn't get credit for a sack when Jones kneeled down after their confusion on offense?

Because that goes down as an aborted play, not a pass play.

Jake from East Lansing, MI

When is the last time Alabama and the Patriots lost in the same weekend?

Great question. I'll let the Inbox research it and get back to us.

Rob from Spring Lake, NJ

Who knew? There really was an offensive tackle tree out back!

A strange circumstance and definitely the exception not the rule. Hopefully the Packers don't need Jared Veldheer, but that's a heck of an insurance policy to find at Thanksgiving.

Eric from St. Paul, MN

If we start submitting our pictures with our questions, would we have to "kiss hello" as well?

During the team's trip to New York no less.

Ken from New York, NY

That Packers performance took the edge off of the cold, wet misery. That, and using my knish as a hand warmer.

There's probably a Seinfeld joke in there somewhere, too.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Has there been an explanation on the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Martinez? Phantom call?

He dumped a receiver running a crossing route over the middle within the 5-yard contact zone. If that's a penalty, defenses have no chance. Just keep playing, just keep playing.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Nice bounce-back win! I continue to be impressed by Za'Darius Smith's approach to attacking the QB. He consistently gets into the QB's midsection with great form. Here leaves no chance of a hit to the head or a knee shot. I hope he is used as an example in training film!

He'll get a flag for doing nothing wrong at some point, too. Hit the QB enough and it's unavoidable.

Cameron from Brevard, NC

Joke's on us! Turns out, it was Williams the Packers have been resting the whole time, waiting to unleash him in these wintry elements. I, of course, am joking. Nonetheless, Williams reminded people why he deserves to get his share of the workload.

He's a tough dude and the Packers are going to need him down the stretch.

Paul from Los Angeles, CA

Is the Jason Garrett situation starting to feel more and more like the Mike McCarthy situation last year? Is he losing his team's support?

Isn't it obvious? Based on Jerry Jones' comments, I think he'd have moved on from Garrett by now if a division title weren't still right there for the taking.

Eric from Reedsburg, WI

So I guess the Dolphins are not tanking this season?

I think Brian Flores is proving he can coach, and the Eagles are in one heck of a rut.

Taylor from Hull, IA

At what point in the season did expectations change? We went from trying to temper expectations with a new coach to now having ESPN postgame stories about how we didn't put the Giants away early enough. I know winning creates expectations, but I feel like everyone should just enjoy the ride after the last few years we have had.

It's natural for that to happen when you start a season 7-1 and you beat the Vikings, Cowboys and Chiefs along the way, two of those on the road. The Packers gave up a few too many big plays again, and the offense sputtered at the end of the first half and opening drive of the second (as far as not putting the Giants away early enough). But otherwise I thought they put together the type of performance they needed to end a stretch of four on the road in five games. The Packers get to come back home now. It's always harder to cure your ills on the road. They get two weeks to straighten some things out now, just like they did early in the season with the home-heavy slate.

Jim from Dawsonville, GA

Go Seahawks!

Happy Monday.