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Inbox: Packers have an interesting call to make

That says it all

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Packers offensive line

John from Boca Raton, FL

The Lions won their Super Bowl. Let's hope the lessons learned lead the Packers to their 14th.

It's all there for the taking, and the Packers are getting healthier.

Ron from Sun Lakes, AZ

Did you love David Bakhtiari's hype video? The man is a funny guy and he is a heck of a left tackle. No major injuries. On to the playoffs.

That was an epic hype video, and it was great to see Bakhtiari out there. I'm eager to take a closer look at his outing on film. Good to see Josh Myers back in action, too. The Packers have an interesting call to make on their starting five up front for the playoffs. Fingers crossed Jaire Alexander and Randall Cobb stay on the road to return, and hopefully Sunday's injuries to Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Chandon Sullivan aren't a big deal.

Darren from Wakefield, MI

Hi Mike. Concerns? Accolades? Thanks.

Congrats to Davante Adams on the single-season record. What a year for him. I liked the way the Packers ran the ball in this game, both AJ Dillon and Patrick Taylor. That type of power running will play anytime. The defense was tough to watch, though. It looked to me like Detroit's first trick-play TD put the Packers on their heels in the secondary for most of the rest of the game.

Brian from Grand Rapids, MI

Mike, I'm curious if there's any analytics on "trick" plays. Is a triple reverse or reverse flea-flicker actually more risky than a more conventional "deep shot" sort of play? Do you think Dan Campbell's game plan will open the way for other similar trick plays against Green Bay?

Teams that like trick plays go into pretty much every game with at least one on the call sheet. Sunday's display might make an opponent more likely to make the call, even as unusual as trick plays are in the postseason.

Craig from West Bend, WI

Packers defense really concerns me. Since they blanked the Seahawks in Week 10 we've given up an average of 28 points per game. I was hoping to see some urgency against the Lions. I have noticed we've been having issues with misdirection plays the past several weeks with over-pursuit and what looks like people vacating their responsibility. Obviously the Lions took note employing their trickery Sunday. Can this be fixed in the next two weeks?

LaFleur said it best after the game when he harped on discipline. The Packers haven't played disciplined defense much lately. Last week against the Vikings was fine, but that was against a backup QB who had never thrown an NFL TD pass. The first half against the Bears after the bye, followed by the Ravens, Browns and now Lions games, have shown a lack of discipline that leads to explosive plays. "We need all 11 doing their damn job," was LaFleur's quote, and that says it all. He was clearly frustrated with the defense.

Curt from Tampa, FL

It's hard to know what to take from a game like that. The team, particularly the defense, doesn't look ready for the playoffs. Fair, or are conclusions not really possible?

LaFleur has plenty to keep the team's attention during these upcoming bye week practices. He'll make the most of them before they start game-planning for a specific opponent. The only thing I was really disappointed in with the first-team offense was the backwards three-and-out without even a field-goal attempt after Detroit's failed fake punt.

Scott from Wasilla, AK

The Steelers made the playoffs, and all I want to do is say to Vic, "I told you so."

I can't ever recall a win-to-get-in game that appeared as lopsided on paper as Colts-Jaguars and the team fighting for its playoff life getting handled like that. An absolute stunner. That'll make for a really long offseason in Indy. And congrats to Big Ben, getting a road win over Pittsburgh's biggest rival to earn at least one more game in a Steelers uniform. Amazing turn of events. I can't imagine being a Steelers fan and watching that last game in Vegas almost end in a tie. Mercy.

Rich from Manitou Springs, CO

Please tell us what the coaches see in Love. As many of us have observed there are a lot of questions in his performance. He's been working out with the ones for quite some time now with Rodgers' toe and all. Preseason, all four games. A start against KC. Yet I fail to see any progress or potential of any sort. Can you enlighten us as to what the future holds for him being the heir apparent in line at QB?

First, let's get our facts straight. Love played two preseason games out of three. He also was out there Sunday without Aaron Jones, Adams, Allen Lazard, Cobb or MVS, and the fumble by Juwann Winfree was not his fault. That said, he showed he's still very much a work in progress, obviously. I thought when the offense was run-pass balanced, he was rather effective, leading drives for a field goal and TD before the tight end screen to Josiah Deguara ruptured to go the distance. In two-minute when it was all pass, the results were disappointing. The first interception was just tough luck, in my opinion. After the first deflection, Amari Rodgers still could've caught the ball and unfortunately re-deflected it back up in the air. The second INT was a bad throw. No two ways about it, and you can't miss your target that badly, especially in that situation.

Guys, how much will YOU guys miss the comment section?

Never read it.

Larry from Golden, CO

Spoff's column Road to the Super Bowl features a great header graphic. It perfectly visualizes that, for the NFC, navigating that road will require snow tires. We have 'em. So, who else has got 'em?

I take no credit for the graphic, but I imagine your Rorschach test results would be interesting.

Dan from Toledo, OH

The most interesting thing to watch going forward with the 17-game season/seven-team playoff, which struck me during the Eagles game, is the wild-card teams that will treat Week 18 as a bye. Of course that will depend on many other factors, but going forward we could see the 6 and 7 seeds with a de facto bye going up against a 2 or 3 seed that fought for those extra home playoff games.

We might see it next weekend with the Eagles playing the Bucs.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

The league/networks haven't announced it yet, but I would think both NFC Divisional games would have to be a week from Sunday, and the two AFC games Saturday, right? Otherwise the winner of Rams-Cardinals on Monday would have to play on an extra-short week.

That would be my anticipation as well. I can't imagine the league making a team play Monday-Saturday in the postseason.

Richard from Ocean Beach, CA

Good morning gentlemen. I appreciate all the work you do, and the content you provide. I recall back in the '97 playoff game against the 49ers, the crowd chanting "We want Dallas!" after they won. Do you think the fans this year, are as hungry for Tampa, as those fans were for Dallas?

Apples and oranges.

Karl from Valparaiso, IN

Regarding your comment yesterday about Kenny Clark being our best nose tackle, how about B.J. Raji in the Super Bowl year? Played every game, 6.5 sacks, 29 solo tackles and 10 TFL.

It's hard to make a direct comparison, because back then the Packers played more pure 3-4 base, and Raji shifted around a lot between the nose and defensive end, with Ryan Pickett and Howard Green also in that mix. But point taken.

Jeff from Oceanside, CA

Wes, in your reply to Joe of River Falls, you asked if Lombardi era fans could name a GB DT from then who could rush the passer as well as Kenny Clark. There was one – HOFer Henry Jordan. Though undersized, Jordan was also strong (runner-up in the 1957 college wrestling tournament in the heavyweight division). His quickness made him the best pass-rushing interior lineman of the era. Jordan was a seven-time All-Pro.

Six-time All-Pro (five first-team, one second-team, as far as the AP honor). You weren't the only reader to mention Jordan. Pro Football Reference's film research credits Jordan with at least 52 sacks for the '60s Packers. That's a monster number for an interior lineman.

Keith from Bakersfield, CA

Insiders, please tell Boomer Esiason that text I sent him was meant as a joke...

Good one, and that's the extent of the coverage such ridiculousness deserves.

Mike from Appleton, WI

With so many variances in the length of the NFL seasons over the years, doesn't it make sense for the record books to also reflect a per-game average?

A common query, but don't bet on it. Because then, don't you have to get into how many games the player actually played for the per-game average to be accurate? It'll ultimately get too messy. A season is a season, no matter how many games a player plays. Fair or not, that's how it's always been.

Brian from Charlottesville, VA

"Do boring better." Maurice Drayton just gave me my goal for the year I'm going to tell my boss in my upcoming annual review.

I like that line.

Luke from Fargo, ND

Here's a fun (weird) scheduling quirk. Playing the Lions in Week 2 and Week 18 would be the same as opening and closing the season against the same team in the normal 16-game schedule. To your knowledge, has that ever happened to the Packers? Or any team(s) for that matter?

In McCarthy's first season, 2006, the Packers opened and closed with the Bears. In Holmgren's first season, 1992, it was the Vikings on both ends.

Andy from Prosser, WA

If and when Jaire comes back would we see him play that slot/superman position that we see Ramsey play and keep Eric Stokes and Rasul Douglas on the outsides, or would Jaire return to the outside and have either Stokes or Douglas to the bench and keep Sullivan in the slot?

I think Alexander in the slot is a distinct possibility, but I don't know and I can't wait to find out.

Emma from Winter Garden, FL

What is your favorite wild-card game in each conference? I'm excited to watch Mac Jones and Joe Burrow in the AFC because they are both young, up-and-coming players that we may see in the playoffs for many years to come. The 49ers-Cowboys game in the NFC might be better than a lot of people anticipate.

49ers-Cowboys will be the game of the weekend for me. That should be a doozy. I'm also looking forward to seeing the Bills and Patriots go it for a third time. I hope there's a blizzard in Buffalo.

Michael from Milwaukee, WI

"[COY is] not the slam dunk the MVP vote should be, in my opinion." Can you please expand on why you think Rodgers as MVP is a slam dunk? I'd think between him and Brady, it'll be a close race, so I'd really like to know your reasoning behind calling it a slam dunk.

I dove into it on "Unscripted" last week. The shortest answer is the Packers suffered more major injuries to top-flight players than any contender (three All-Pros, plus a fourth Pro Bowler) and Rodgers kept them on top all season. To dig deeper, statistically, Brady threw for 1,200 more yards and six more TDs, but he did so with 188 more pass attempts – which is like an extra four games with 45-plus attempts each – and had triple the interceptions. With Rodgers playing the (full) game, the Packers lost once after Week 1, and Rodgers threw 37 TD passes and two INTs in that time. Lastly, with the No. 1 seed still in play in December, Brady got shut out at home in a game he only needed to put up 10 points to win. That's the outline of my case for Rodgers.

Gary from Davenport, IA

What would Aaron Rodgers' quarterback rating have been with the opening loss against the Saints taken out?

Since Week 1, his rating is 116.1. They all count, but … yeah.

Patsi from Riverside, CA

After that game how could anyone not be a Justin Herbert fan?

What an incredible comeback by the Chargers, surviving six fourth downs in crunch time to stay alive. Just an unreal game. It looked like the Raiders were willing to take the tie at the end, handing off three straight times, but the Chargers couldn't stop the run. Unprecedented situation from all angles.

Patrick from Valrico, FL

Looks like it all worked out well in the end. Tampa and Dallas were the two teams I would least like to face first in the playoffs. Would you say the final lineup worked out in our favor as well?

I don't know. My gut says it's not a bad thing the Packers don't have to beat both the Bucs and Cowboys to get to the Super Bowl. But as far as the next game, the bottom line is in two weeks the Packers will be facing a team coming off its biggest victory of the season. Nature of the beast.

Mike from Cottage Grove, MN

Why all the angst of who the Packers will face in the playoffs? Why would anyone not want to meet any certain team? Like LaFleur said, one has to go grab the opportunity. If you are going to be the best you have win over the best. Packers can deal with whoever comes to Lambeau.

With no control over it, why look at it any other way? Happy Monday.

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