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Inbox: The objective is clear

Something’s gotta give tonight at U.S. Bank Stadium

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Frank from Beaverdam, VA

Winning ugly? Sure. But I've always heard that good teams win close games and bad teams lose them. I'll take winning ugly all week long and twice on Sunday. Or Monday night, in this case. Just beat the Vikings.

The objective is clear. Win. Beat the Vikings in their stadium and win the North. Win handily. Win ugly. Just win. Good morning!

Matt from Merrill, WI

Arizona comes up big for the Packers (again, the north remembers 2003) with a win over Seattle! The path to the playoffs article now tells me that Seattle must beat the 49ers for the No. 1 seed for the Pack! How much fuel does this add to the fire for the win on Monday Night Football?

Now, you see what I've been saying about just win. There are potholes everywhere through the course of an NFL season. I don't care what the record says or who the quarterback is. The stakes just keep getting higher.

John from Fairbanks, AK

If I'm following things correctly it looks as if I'll have to hold my nose and root for the Seahawks next week after the Packers beat the Vikings. Neither will be easy. Go Packers!

Correct. It's nuts how Green Bay could be going into this game as the top seed in the NFC if the Rams could've just held off San Francisco.

Eric from Reedsburg, WI

With Dalvin Cook not playing, how does the Packers' coaching staff prepare for the Vikings' replacement?

It's interesting because Alexander Mattison (ankle) is also questionable. With Minnesota clinching a playoff berth with the Rams' loss, I wonder if the Vikings play it smart and roll with Mike Boone instead. Either way, the Packers' run defense needs to keep this thing rolling.

Tom from Phoenix, AZ

This will only be the second indoor game for the Packers this season (at Dallas, Week 5). Our two biggest unknowns might be how well JK Scott can punt indoors on turf and how well "Swervin' Ervin" runs on turf. Although the Pack is 0-3 in US Bank Stadium, Kirk Cousins is also 0-8 on MNF and Aaron Rodgers is 5-0 over his last 5 MNF games. Is Mason Crosby going to be the "X" factor?

I could definitely see this game coming down to the forgotten phase with how even these two teams are on offense and defense. As you point out, there are a lot of thought-provoking stats in this matchup, as well. Some are worth paying attention to. Others, like Cousins' MNF record, I believe are rather pointless. No matter what side of the fence you stand on, though, something's gotta give tonight at U.S Bank.

Duane from Oak Creek, WI

Who do you think will be the Packer with the biggest performance on Monday night?

Aaron Rodgers.

Shel from New York, NY

Just some comments. The Packers better be ready for another Viking tight end (Irv Smith). And of course, Adam Thielen, he always seems to make his presence felt. Kevin King seems to be inconsistent and gives up some big plays. I hope that fact doesn't sink the Packers in this game. The matchup of the Viking DEs against Packer OTs is going to be really fun to watch.

Smith is supremely talented. He's going to be a factor in this division for years to come. As important as it is to contain him and Kyle Rudolph, I still think this game comes down to how the Packers handle Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Green Bay has worked hard the last eight months to put itself in a position to win a division title again.

Richard from Racine, WI

What is the most important improvement the Packers must make in order to advance through the playoffs to hopefully have an opportunity for making the Super Bowl?

Limit explosive plays on defense. When Mike Pettine's unit does that, it's tough to beat.

George from Olympia, WA

Who would be our best opponents in the playoffs for us to have the best success of going to the Super Bowl?

Whomever the Packers are playing at Lambeau.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Wes? There was an article last week on potential playoff teams and their kryptonite and the team they absolutely don't want to play in the playoffs. For GB that team is SF and I definitely agree, especially in SF. My question is how do you think the Packers would match up with Seattle and the Saints either at home or on the road? Can't help but think a SB berth would necessitate beating two of the big three this year.

I don't see any scenario where the Packers advance to the Super Bowl without having to beat San Francisco or Seattle. That's why you want as many games as possible at home.

Jay from Sheboygan, WI

Boy, we got a great player and person in Billy Turner. Love the fact he gets so excited to be able to help those in need. He seems like a truly awesome person.

It was a really awesome gesture by Turner. I'm also incredibly proud of our intern, Ana, for the story she wrote about the event with the Salvation Army.

Packers G/T Billy Turner donated 350 coats to children at his coat giveaway Friday afternoon.

James from Easton, MD

Wes, as you are keenly aware, Packers beat writers and bloggers have piled on in criticizing the front office for the lack of talent in the WR group beyond Davante Adams. Yet the offense thrived when he was out injured. It's encouraging to see that Allen Lazard and Jake Kumerow will be seeing more snaps and targets and ESB's injury shortened season surely affected offensive output. The three WRs mentioned, in addition to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, is that not a respectable group?

This may not be the most well-known receiving corps the Packers have ever fielded, but there are plenty of playmakers. Green Bay isn't 11-3 right now without Lazard or Kumerow. Offensively, the Packers just need to be more consistent. Is it possible the Packers use a high pick on a receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft? It's been six years since they last did, so it's entirely possible. But that doesn't mean the Packers can't win a championship with this group.

David from San Antonio, TX

I'd rather have home field advantage than not, especially against Seattle, New Orleans, and Minnesota. That said, is the frigid weather as hard on our guys as theirs? Is it a psychological advantage? Cold is cold.

By this point, yes. Ninety-nine percent of this roster has been practicing in the cold for more than a month now. You can put up crowd noise in practice. You can't make it 20 degrees in San Jose. Therein lies the advantage.

Evan from Durango, CO

Man, this game day feels exciting. Can't wait to see these teams throw down on MNF. I always wondered what might have happened if Julius Peppers had tried to be a dual sport pro athlete since he was a very good basketball player at UNC. The NFL grind of OTAs and camps probably makes playing both sports impossible.

Peppers was a super-athlete. If anyone could have done it, it would've been him. Much like Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson, though, that individual would have to work a heavily prorated NBA season.

Ben from Spokane, WA

How long will Jameis Winston have to play to take that interception record from No. 4?

Winston has 86 interceptions in 71 games (69 starts). He'd need to play roughly 18 more seasons and keep his pace (1.211 interceptions per game) to surpass Brett Favre's 336.

Chuck from Santa Ana, CA

Speaking of two sport athletes, I remember Gene Conley who played for the Milwaukee Braves when they won the pennant in 1957, also played for the Celtics. I think he was about 6-6. He won a NBA championship as well, I believe. That said, I think Bo was the greatest two sport athlete I have ever seen. He was just dominant in both. I remember taking my son to the MLB All Star game in Anaheim and Bo hit a 440' home run. Made it look so easy. Memories do make us rich!

That they do.

Jim from Tucson, AZ

Love the signing of John Leglue. I have no idea if he will be great, average, or poor, that's not the point. Here we are in the middle of a playoff run, and the staff is not satisfied, but looking to upgrade the roster. We are in good hands.

Sure, but the Packers also lost Yosh Nijman to injured reserve. So a corresponding move must be made. Brian Gutekunst and his scouts weren't caught sleeping, though. They obviously had their eye on Leglue.

Kevin from San Francisco, CA

The Packers can still designate one more player to return from injured reserve. Is there any chance we see Lane Taylor or Raven Greene back on the field this season?

No word on Taylor but Matt LaFleur is keeping the door open for Greene to potentially return this postseason. He's still around the team and in meetings. That would be a major boost to the depth on both defense and special teams if he plays again in 2019…or '20, I guess.

Drew from Dubuque, IA

Weston, with the banter between Rodgers and Mike Zimmer about how the division isn't big enough for both of them, this game sets up perfectly as a "Loser leaves town" match. Make Brett Favre the special guest referee and it has all the makings of a pay-per-view main event. My question is this: When Favre removes his zebra jersey at the end, what color is he wearing underneath, green or purple?

He better be wearing green. I don't think I have another "Summer of Favre" in me.

Robert from Cortez, CO

Out of touch for a year. Are we still talking about tanking for a higher draft pick?

Oy vey. That was a fun time.

Greg from Rio, WI

Does the coaching staff have any plans on resting some of the starters depending obviously on where they are seeded for the playoffs?

Not unless they win tonight and blow the Lions out of the water in the first half next week. There's too much at stake in both games.

Geoff from Beaver Dam, WI

Who makes the decision on cleats before a game? Does the HC tell the equipment guys he wants speed over control or do the players decide what they want to wear?

The equipment staff will make recommendations but it's ultimately up to the player what he chooses to wear. A lot is based on comfort and feel.

KD from Neptune City, NJ

The NFL 100 all-time team is a disaster. They just released the wide receivers. While I agree with a few historical references who helped make the game what it is today, I just can't help but think of guys like Calvin Johnson, Terrell Owens, and Michael Irvin who were incredible athletes that created a game within a game. Skill position athleticism has continued to surpass itself year after year. Don't you think that should be acknowledged?

OK. Sorry, I've paid zero attention to it. As humans, we love ranking people and things, best to worst. Maybe that makes me a bad beat writer, but frankly I'd rather just cover the playoff team in front of me at the moment.

Mario from Kettleman City, CA

Have you ever posted two questions, from the same person, on the same day?

Only by mistake or if it's a slow day in the offseason.

Norbert from Bensheim, Germany

"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." Absolutely classic, Wes! What punches a beat journalist for the Packers in the mouth most painfully?

Transcription.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

Pretty satisfied that Mom approved brats for Christmas dinner.

Next thing you'll tell me is they're pumpkin spice.

Tony from River Falls, WI

What is your favorite holiday food? Least favorite?

I buy my mom and me a box of chocolate for Christmas every year. It's obvious which one it is under the tree because it's always wrapped the same. Still, it wouldn't be Christmas without it.

Markus from Aurora, CO

Insiders, I truly appreciate all the hard work you guys put in to give us a balanced perspective (a.k.a. view) of the team and the organization. What is your most cherished blessing this year? What you like to be given a "re-do" for?

My son is absolutely my most cherished blessing. Kids really do change your biology and I cannot wait to spend the holidays with him and my family. I wouldn't re-do anything. Live and learn. No ragrets (sic).

Mike from Austin, TX

Would Spoff have stripped the ball from John Kuhn if he visualized it as Wes's lunch?

If Kuhn was holding taco dip, he would've been in all kinds of trouble.

Chas from Phoenix, AZ

I too, suffered from working Holidays for many years while in the military, so I feel your pain. With that in mind, please accept my heartfelt prayers for a most blessed holiday greetings.

Chas, I'm blessed to go home every night and see my family. That's thanks to you and all of our veterans for making the real sacrifice. With that in mind, please accept my heartfelt gratitude. I wish you the happiest of holidays.

Justin from Sonora, CA

As we all look forward to the Monday matchup that could decide the North, how sweet would it be to celebrate this Division title not only with our first win US bank, but to also get a measure of revenge by getting a 'Go Pack Go' chant in response to having to hear that horrible Skol chant two years ago at Lambeau!

It's time to turn the tables. The veterans in that locker room understand that. It's time. Enjoy the game, folks!

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