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Inbox: One plays off the other

It’s the perfect weekend for a primetime matchup

LB Za'Darius Smith and CB Jaire Alexander

Mutt from Blaine, MN

Good morning Mike/Wes. Should we still start with "Good morning" even if writing in the evening with the understanding that you don't read submissions until the morning? Or is it better form to just assume the time of day you're writing is the proper greeting? Or maybe just a "Happy Festivus!" is OK this time of year?

I had a good laugh about this Friday morning. As an expert in this field, I must say, when in doubt, always say, "Good morning!" Both in Inbox and in life. Good morning!

Richard from Laramie, WY

That question by Mutt from Blaine, MN, made me laugh. I am an AFROTC instructor at UWYO and I have cadets that ask questions like that all the time. I guess after 22 years in the AF you get used to silly questions. :) I really love reading the II every day at lunch while I sit at my desk and think about the next cadet's issue that comes through my door. Keep fighting the good fight!

Too funny. You, as well, my friend.

Aaron from Black River Falls, WI

I feel like last year having Kevin King, Jaire Alexander and Chandon Sullivan on the field made the opposing QBs hold the ball longer, thus allowing our rush to get there. Do you anticipate the pressure and sack number to go up once all the DBs are back? Hopefully as soon as this Sunday.

A strong secondary is the perfect complement to a stellar pass rush, and vice versa. One plays off the other. Sunday will mark the first time since Week 4 Alexander and King have been on the field together, and there's no question the unit is better when both are out there. This is huge for the defense – and the pass rush.

Dan from Stoughton, WI

In Week 3, the Packers struggled mightily to contain Alvin Kamara in the passing game. Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins both are sounds pass catchers and shifty runners with the ball in their respective hands. What improvements have the Packers made to more appropriately cover RBs out of the backfield, specifically considering Rivers likes to get the ball out quick and dink and dunk to his backfield teammates?

I feel like the Packers' run defense matches up with the Colts' ground game quite well. The bigger issue is making sure they keep a hat on Hines and Jonathan Taylor when they leak out of the backfield for a pass. Those two have combined for 55 receptions for Rivers through nine games.

Chuck from Gold Canyon, AZ

Good Sunday-eve morning. The Colts' run game has not been as productive as most teams the Pack has played this year averaging only 3.8 per carry. I find this surprising with the capital they have placed in their OL. They do a good job in pass protection. Do you think this is due to their style of play or having lost Mack? Taylor and Hines have had their moments, especially Hines as a pass catcher, but don't reach the caliber of many other teams.

Mack was a big loss for them. He opened a lot of eyes last year in a featured role. The Colts have invested a lot of resources into their offensive line and Quenton Nelson is one of the best guards in the business. So I'm as puzzled as you are about why it hasn't translated on the ground this year.

Otto from Gaithersburg, MD

The Packers seem to struggle more versus teams who rely on great defense rather than great offense. I can't think of a recent game we were just plain outscored, but the number of games being shut down by defenses are well documented. For that reason, I think this Colts team is more of a challenge for us than teams like Seattle or KC. Defenders get paid too, but at some point the Packers need to do what NO did against the Bucs. Here's hoping it's this week!

That's why this is such a great test for the offense, especially if Allen Lazard is available. I can think of no bigger statement the Packers could make for being the class of the NFC than moving the ball against this Colts front.

Seth from Superior, WI

Good morning Wes/Mike. The Colts have a vision defense. Does that mean the pre-snap motion and misdirection plays may work well against them? Also, does another premier inside linebacker mitigate all that?

The two possible problems in this matchup are Tyler Ervin's rib injury and the presence of another fast and savvy middle linebacker who can close quickly to the ball. That's not to say the Packers can't do it – I'm just not sure it'll be to their advantage like it's been for most of the season.

Dave from Germantown, TN

It seems to me the Packers have had success against Xavier Rhodes when he was with the Vikings. Do you think part of the game plan will be to attack him?

There's been give and take over the years between Rhodes and the Packers. It wasn't like Aaron Rodgers picked on him twice a year or anything. Rhodes has been healthy and playing well for the Colts this year. He has a couple picks and appears to still have a lot of good football ahead of him. Sometimes a change in scenery is all that's needed to bring it out of a player. I expect another competitive battle between Rhodes and Davante Adams.

Jim from Woodbury, MN

The NFC is truly up for grabs, isn't it?

You betcha and the Packers are leading by a nose heading into the weekend. They gotta keep it out there Sunday.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

There is no such thing as "clear sailing" in the NFL but the Seahawks' win Thursday night puts them in a good position considering the rest of their schedule, wouldn't you say?

That'd be fair to say, having survived that November gauntlet with a 2-2 record. Philadelphia and Washington are no pushovers, though. And closing against the Rams and 49ers won't be a walk in the park, either, but Seattle got that win back against Arizona. That's a feather in its cap.

Steve from Neenah, WI

Is AJ Dillon cleared to play again?

Not yet. Krys Barnes has been back at practice as an observer but both remain on reserve/COVID-19.

Aaron from Scottsdale, AZ

I know it's early to really be seriously discussing playoff positioning, but I can't help but notice that with six or seven games left per team, the NFC has nobody more than three games out of a playoff spot, thanks in large part to the futility of the NFC East, but also due to so many teams notching six or seven wins and no one clearly separating themselves. 2020 has been anything but normal.

I agree. And it only gets even more complicated in the AFC, where Cleveland and Tennessee are on the outside looking in with 6-3 records.

Eddie from La Crosse, WI

With the Inbox's permission, I would like to educate Sam from San Francisco on the basics of football. No receiver should ever get credit for yards gained during a defensive pass interference penalty. There is no guarantee that he would have caught the ball. Assuming that a receiver "would have" caught the ball is foolish. Real life football is neither a video game nor a fantasy football TV show, Sam.

I appreciate Sam's sentiment but it has to happen on the grass for it to be measured in any meaningful way. It's kind of like pass rushers drawing holding penalties. It certainly has a bearing on the game but it's tough to track it objectively. Not everyone has to get a trophy. Sometimes a tap on the helmet or the backside for a job well done will do.

Ryan from Noblesville, IN

Taysom Hill will be starting this week instead of Jameis Winston. I think that's a smart move on their part since he's been in the system for several years and is a talented player. If it were you, who would you start?

I'd start Taysom, too. I've always liked the idea of introducing a little chaos when a team is down a starting QB. Hill is most definitely that. Plus, this gives the Saints a clean look at whether he can be "the man."

Eduardo from Queretaro, Mexico

Good morning Mike/Wes, just a comment to Bill from Somers about Terry Bradshaw. On the Thursday night game on the week that the Saints beat the Bucs by a landslide Bradshaw was criticizing Aaron Rodgers saying Brady wouldn´t have lost the game (talking about Packers-Vikings) because he is a true leader and he would have had his team back on track to win the game. Next thing you know the Bucs take Brady´s worst beating. Like Mike and Wes say, "It's a week-to-week league." GO PACK GO!

Again, for those in the back, we write our stories in pen. What we write, or say, matters. My advice will forever be not to make declarative statements unless you want to be proven wrong in public fashion.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

I just wanted to acknowledge and say thank you to Mr. Christl for having the integrity (definition: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness) to say, "I was wrong." If only we had more of that from our leaders and the world in general.

I've been doing this professionally for almost 15 years now and I have to say Cliff Christl has the most integrity of any journalist I've ever met. His commitment to historical accuracy is something every reporter should strive for. The Packers are incredibly lucky to have him as their historian.

Scott from Albertville, MN

What Packer player has played the most games in a Green Bay Packer uniform?

Some ham-and-egger named Favre.

Josh from Denver, CO

A Thanksgiving without football just wouldn't have felt right to me. What is your favorite Thanksgiving football memory?

It has to be Brett Favre's jersey retirement ceremony with Bart Starr in 2015. That was an "I was there"-type moment.

Simon from Arden Hills, MN

I was ready to believe Scott from Issaquah's assertion that Seattle is the least illuminated city in the NFL, but thanks to Mike for prodding me to be more skeptical. According to Wikipedia's "List of cities by sunshine duration," Seattle receives fewer hours of sunshine than any other NFL city over the sum of the football season (September to January). However, several NFL cities (including Green Bay) receive less sunshine during September. Over a whole year, Seattle comes in second to Pittsburgh.

Only in the Insider Inbox, man.

The Green Bay Packers practiced in the Don Hutson Center on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020.

Dan from Cromwell, CT

Wes, I asked Mike this question in his weekly chat and now I want to ask you. I'm about to welcome my first child, a baby boy and a brand new Packers fan, into this world any day now. As a newer father, what's your best piece of advice?

Savor all the little moments – those late nights with little sleep, holding him/her in your arms and rocking them to sleep. All the best to both of you. You'll walk into that delivery room very soon and leave different people…in a good way. Parenthood is an amazing, beautiful ride. Enjoy every second of it, buddy.

Mark from Ocala, WI

Good morning Mike/Wes. Looking forward to a great game this Sunday. Go Pack Go! Happy Thanksgiving II.

So am I, Mark. So. Am. I.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

A time to give thanks,

Cloudy with a chance of dome,

Let Dean cook below!

You know what time it is – DEAN'S TIME!

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

I acquiesce to you Weston. In the words of Admiral Farragot (maybe), "Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead."

Journey South to unfamiliar territory defended by a fierce foe ready to defend their ground

A chance to show your worthiness to wear the crown

Only your best will triumph in this battle Men of the Bay

Find the path to glory or face defeat

Though few will witness, many will see

The time is at hand brave warriors

It's the perfect weekend for a primetime matchup. Enjoy the game everyone.