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Inbox: Only they'll know

Their mental toughness matters as well

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QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Davante Adams

Simon from Kilgore, TX

Can the Packers go the rest of the season without another loss?

Can they? Sure. Will they? Who knows. Do they plan to? Absolutely.

Andrew from Simi Valley, CA

What are you looking forward to most over this stretch run?

Three home games over the next four weeks. It'll be nice for the press box to actually feel like home for a while.

Conor from Lake Mary, FL

How much of a benefit can the late bye week have on this team?

We're going to find out, right? Given the team's health, it should only help and not hurt anything. Even without all the injuries, if you had told me the Packers were going to get to this point at 9-3, I'd have signed up in an instant. Should they not get the No. 1 seed and playoff bye, I'll certainly feel better about their chances in January having had a week off in December.

Brian from Sussex, WI

As the regular season winds down, how would Coach Spoff handle playing of injured players with regard to balancing positioning for playoff seed vs. maximizing health for the playoffs?

Well, since I believe it's highly likely the Packers will need to win out to get the No. 1 seed, I'd have those guys out there as soon as the medical staff says they're good to go and the players feel good about it. But due to the lengthy absences, I'd also want to build them up to 60-70 snaps per game, not ask them to handle a full game right off the bat.

Lori from Brookfield, OH

Mike, would the Green Bay defense prefer to play against Justin Fields or Andy Dalton?

Chicago's offense isn't much different, but Fields certainly brings the mobility element that forces pass rushers to stay more disciplined. As I said on "Unscripted," the Packers don't care who it is. The important thing is to have a proper plan for each one.

Matty from Troy, MO

How much of a factor is the "I own you" thing going to be in this week's game? I personally loved it, but I just wonder about the possibility of a payback cheap shot occurring? There is history of things like that in this rivalry after all.

A popular question this week. I would hope no one's thinking cheap shots. I expect it to be a storyline in the media this week, but how much of one it'll actually be in the Bears' locker room, only they'll know.

Hem from Shakopee, MN

Are the Packers being stripped of an opportunity to further evaluate Jordan Love after his placement on COVID-19 reserve?

We don't yet know how much Aaron Rodgers is going to practice this week, if at all, but any reps Love doesn't get are missed opportunities. It's less about evaluation, though, than development. The Packers want to develop Love and these last few weeks have been valuable in that regard. They want him to get as far as he can, and then the evaluation will happen in due time.

Chris from Gridley, CA

Proud of Aaron Jones and what he has done to get a Walter Payton Man of the Year nomination, but also want to shout out Corey Linsley getting nominated by the Chargers. Packer players (current and former) continue to be great in the community in a way that transcends football.

I'm really pulling for Jones to get to the finalist stage, as it's been seven years now (Aaron Rodgers, 2014) since a Packers player came close to winning it. But seeing Linsley's name on the list of league nominees was entirely unsurprising. It's great to see him continue elsewhere the community work he did here.

Walt from Skandia, MI

Since the teams that played last week wore their cleats for a cause, will the Packers get to wear theirs this weekend?

Another popular query. Yes, the Packers will be participating this week.

Bob from Oshkosh, WI

Need a clarification and you guys are the best at doing it. The radio broadcast this past weekend kept calling the Bears and Cardinals the oldest rivalry in football. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the oldest rivalry hitting the field Sunday night?

The Racine Cardinals and Decatur Staleys first met in 1920, while the Packers and Staleys first met in 1921. So if someone wants to call the other the oldest, fine I guess, but the multiple franchise relocations of the Cardinals change the feel for me. The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, names and locations as is, have been meeting since 1923.

Scotty from Lombard, IL

Can a practice-squad player be traded to another team?

No. Practice-squad players are free agents.

Jake from Decatur, GA

Y'all are the source for basically 99% of my football news, so I'll just ask you – is Mac Jones really the frontrunner for rookie of the year right now? Who else would you say is a contender?

The current favorites would be Jones for Offensive Rookie of the Year and Dallas LB Micah Parsons for Defensive ROY.

Peter from Orland Park, IL

Hi guys, longtime reader, enjoy your humor and knowledge. Can you please explain the time clock runoff the last 1:50 of the Monday night game? The Bills look to have lost an opportunity to have one last gasp. Why after the second down and the clock at 1:40 did the official reset the game clock to 1:22 and the play clock to 40 seconds?

I was watching the Manning cast, so I'm not sure what was explained on the sister channel. But looking at the league's official play-by-play, it appears Buffalo was granted a fourth timeout due to an injury inside two minutes. When the dust settled from that stoppage, they put 40 seconds back on the play clock and restarted everything, costing Buffalo an extra 20 seconds in the exchange. I thought on the reset they might just put 25 on the play clock, but that's not how it went down, and the Bills lost an opportunity to force a punt and maybe try a Hail Mary, which would have been an adventure into that wind.

Tristan from Durham, NC

I appreciated seeing Micah Hyde tearing into a reporter for asking a pointless and disrespectful question. I liked him when he was in Green Bay, and I hope he continues to have a fruitful career.

To say he tore into him dismisses how respectful Hyde kept a rather clear and forceful retort, which was totally justified. For any reporter to ask a professional athlete whether he's "embarrassed" by a performance is embarrassing to the profession. If they feel that way, they'll tell you. Trying to put words in their mouth is childish. After a highly charged, emotional game, the worst way for a reporter to go into an interview setting is with the mindset, "This is the story I want." I've always found the more professional and fruitful approach is to say, "Let's see what story I get," and frame questions appropriately.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Did you see the Pitt QB fake slide and then take it to the house? This seems against the spirit of the game. He is taking advantage of a rule that is there for his own safety. Especially because the defender knows that one wrong move and he's ejected.

I hated seeing that. The officials should be allowed to blow the play dead.

Andy from Columbus, TX

After watching Monday night's game, and feeling that Buffalo let the weather rule them (they had evidently made a comment about not throwing in the middle of the field...yet that's how they moved the ball on their last drive), I got to thinking: Has there ever been a better bad-weather QB than Aaron Rodgers? I don't necessarily need stats, just your opinion.

For my money, no one in his prime was better in bad weather than Favre. The two '96 playoff games (slop vs. SF, freeze vs. Carolina), the '94 Halloween monsoon in Chicago, the '02 bitter wind vs. Buffalo, and the list goes on. He won a ton of games in brutal conditions. Later in his career, not so much, but in his heyday, he was remarkable.

Shawn from Stratford, WI

Spoff, it is my understanding when players contract Covid-19 and then clear NFL protocols, they are subject to a "90-day window" where they don't have to be tested, quarantined, or quoned. If that is true, then QB1 is in the clear for missing more time this season due to this macabre disease, right? (Tried to squeeze "quone" into the II, as I have never seen that Seinfeld reference yet!)

Nicely done. Yes, once players who tested positive have returned from the reserve/COVID-19 list, they are exempt from testing for 90 days. Rodgers' exemption expires in early February.

George from North Mankato, MN

Any chance another Michigan defender wins the Heisman Trophy this year?

Wouldn't that be something? Hutchinson is a finalist and going to New York, which is a worthy achievement on its own. I'm sure Charles is rooting for him (and maybe voting for him, too), but Woodson had offensive and return-game stats to go with his defensive prowess when he won it. Hutchinson doesn't have that, so the odds are strongly against him.

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2022 Pro Bowl Vote

It's time to cast your votes for the 2022 Pro Bowl!

Justin from Ivins, UT

As we continue to hope to get some big names back from injury, how do players like Jaire Alexander, who suffered such a bad injury from what looked like a good tackle, overcome fear of reinjury? Is it normal for them to be hesitant to tackle hard after an injury like that?

It can't be or they can't be out there, and they know that. These guys are as physically tough as they come, but their mental toughness matters as well.

Dan from Edgerton, WI

Was losing to the Lions the straw that broke the camel's back for Zimmer and Spielman?

A lot of folks asking about the leadership futures in Minnesota (and Chicago, too). I have a ton of respect for that Vikings regime and the competitive teams they've fielded, but their path is a stark reminder of how hard it is to win consistently in this league. Call me crazy, but I still think the Vikings can sneak into a wild-card spot and make some noise. If they get in and have that offensive trio of Jefferson, Thielen and Cook healthy, they're capable of outscoring anybody. That said, they often have not responded well to injuries and that stands out as an issue to examine.

Jay from Boston, MA

Sorry, Spoff, but Mr. Elway and Mr. Davis would like a word with your crack research department. TD-30 is a go-to trivia question of mine for the last MVP to hoist the Lombardi in the same season.

Yeah, I missed the Elway-Davis duo because Davis' MVP season of '98 was Elway's last, so they never actually played together as crowned MVPs, if you get my drift. But point taken. Your go-to trivia answer was outdated after only one year, though. In 1999, Kurt Warner won the MVP and the Rams won it all.

Evan from Middleton, WI

My first thought when reading Brooklyn (Park) Bill's question on WFT's remaining schedule was the Atlanta Falcons' schedule in 2019. They played all six of their division games within the last eight weeks of the season, including five in a row from Weeks 10-14. I guess I would prefer that over a division-heavy start to the season. Has anything similar ever happened with the Packers' schedule?

In my tenure here, the Packers have finished with three straight division games three times ('06, '16, '19). The only occurrence of an even heavier division finish was in 2012, when four of the last five, and five of the last seven, were against the NFC North, which became five of six and six of eight when the Packers faced the Vikings in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Back in 2000, in the old NFC Central, the Packers finished with four straight division games, playing the Bears, Lions, Vikings and Buccaneers all in December.

George from Manchester Township, NJ

II, when will we know if any of the injured are coming back? Would it be at a Wednesday practice?

It could start today for one or more of them, and we'll be eagerly waiting to see, but that won't automatically mean anyone is playing Sunday.

Eric from Roscoe, IL

My 8-year-old daughter lies in an ICU bed in Chicago for a rare and often missed or misdiagnosed brain disease called autoimmune encephalopathy. We have been everywhere and it took going behind enemy lines to find our answer. She starts treatment today and will have a long road of treatment and recovery. I dedicate this game to her, the world's greatest little Packer fan! How sweet will victory be as she lays in a Chicago hospital clutching her Packer blanket. Just beat the Bears.

Packer Nation and the II community is behind your daughter and clutching their blankets for her, Eric. All the best and God bless. Happy Wednesday.

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