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Inbox: There are no apologies in this league

All they can do is keep playing

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TE Marcedes Lewis

Rob from Panama City Beach, FL

So anything interesting or exciting happen yesterday? Asking for a friend.

Spoken like a true beachgoer.

Travis from St. Johns, FL

So the only other thing we could have hoped for was a Giants victory over Dallas. And maybe a less dramatic victory over Baltimore. Either way I will take all the early Christmas presents.

Suddenly the Cowboys are the biggest threat to the Packers getting the No. 1 seed. As of now, they're the only team requiring Green Bay to win its last three to stay on top. Dallas has just one NFC loss, so the Cowboys can steal the top seed if they win out and the Packers lose a game.

Jeff from Cedarburg, WI

Insiders, great Packers win, but unrelated question – the standings show Dallas at No. 2 and the Buccaneers at No. 3. Normal tiebreaking rules would show that head-to-head always comes first, but Dallas lost to Tampa in Week 1. Are the procedures for establishing seeding different than say two teams tied for the last wild-card spot?

Dallas, Tampa Bay and Arizona are all tied with the second-best record at 10-4, so that Week 1 head-to-head doesn't apply, conference record does. And Dallas has the edge there at 8-1, with Tampa Bay and Arizona both 6-4.

Brian from Grand Rapids, MI

What was more surprising this weekend, the Cardinals' loss in Detroit or the Bucs getting shut out at home against the Saints? It sure is hard to win in this league, isn't it?

That's why you can't ever take it for granted, and there are no apologies in this league, which was pretty much the gist of my postgame editorial. As much as the Packers could have, and should have, made it much easier on themselves, they got the job done while other teams didn't in games they appeared to have as big an edge as the Packers did against the banged-up Ravens.

Mike from Algoma, WI

May I respectfully submit a word for the day? PERSPECTIVE. For any of us complaining about a one point win – consider how Arizona or Tampa Bay would feel about a one point win today.

Exactly.

Gardner from Circle Pines, MN

Another gut-check win and another NFC North title! Then the whipped cream and the cherry on top with the Cards and Bucs both losing! But the big question is, given the way the season has gone, did the Pack get through the game without any further injuries?

I'm not aware of any starters going down in Baltimore (knocking on wood). Some other guys did get nicked up.

Kirsten from Madison, WI

There's "gutsy" and then there's "dumb." Just outsmart the Ravens.

I totally understood the decision to go for two and expected it, though you could argue the last nine minutes of the game the Ravens were getting the better of the Packers on both sides of the ball. I didn't get passing up the early field goal. To come away empty on a 14-play drive, when it's not fourth-and-1, is a risk I just wouldn't take.

Mark from Dayton, OH

Another gutsy solid team performance by the whole defense, but just like the Minnesota game, without Kenny Clark and Rashan Gary both on the field the defense just seems to have a totally different character. A real testament to the coaching staff and fine line Coach Barry is walking.

I thought Green Bay's edge rushers really paid for their inability to contain Huntley, without having Clark pressuring on the inside to help compensate. Those last two drives, they had to make Huntley throw the ball, not try so hard to sack him, and they didn't have the discipline to execute that way.

Joe from Rapid City, SD

With the Browns game being moved, does this mean the Christmas Day game could also be moved?

There's been no indication of that. It makes for a very short week for Cleveland, but a Monday-to-Saturday turnaround is still one day longer than Sunday-to-Thursday, which every team has to deal with at least once.

Colin from Milwaukee, WI

What was Aaron Rodgers telling his teammates in the huddle before that first kneel-down? I guess I always assumed that the victory formation huddle was pretty plain, but it looked like a lot more was being said besides "knee" in that huddle.

He said after the game he was telling his teammates how proud he was of them, and that you have to savor and celebrate accomplishments like division titles, even though the focus starting today is on everything else out in front of them.

Van from Newmarket, Canada

Great final play by Darnell Savage after he had a rough night.

Players know all they can do is keep playing. There's no shortchanging the mental toughness that has to accompany the physical toughness to succeed in this league.

Douglas from Bemidji, MN

The Ravens kept trying to get Brown a quick throw and make one man miss, but that man was Eric Stokes who made the tackle every time! His performance and sure tackling cannot be underappreciated!

Baltimore's fastest receiver, Brown had just 43 yards on 10 catches. I loved the game Stokes played.

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Andy from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Hey Mike, I remember this offseason when Mo Drayton took over the special-teams unit there was excitement but also angst for promoting from within a less than spectacular unit. I'm not one to "fire everybody" but ST have been a disaster this year. Is it Mo? Is it players or plays? Or is it something else?

All I know is it's not good enough. In situations like these, there's usually plenty of blame to go around. If it were one thing, anybody could fix it. Like last year, I'm back to holding my breath on every special-teams play, and I hate that feeling. At least Mason Crosby seems in a good place now.

H.R. from Las Vegas, NV

With all due respect to Aaron Rodgers, something is terribly wrong if Jonathan Taylor doesn't win MVP. Everybody knows he's getting the ball, and they can't stop him. Heck, they can't even contain him.

He's making a whale of an argument, approaching 300 carries and averaging 5.6 on the year. That's nuts. As far as I'm concerned, it's between Rodgers and Taylor now. That performance Sunday night dropped Brady out of the conversation in my book.

Patsi from Riverside, CA

Well, if there had been any question before, no doubt Arians will bring back Antonio Brown after this game.

True that.

Jim from Tempe, AZ

And yes, I know a win is a win is a win. But the inability to put away an inferior opponent is a clear sign of a team not capable of winning a championship. I worked in professional sports for over 20 years and was fortunate to enjoy six championships. This team is not of championship caliber. I would love for them to prove me wrong. This will be another bitter disappointment when all is said and done. If anyone wants to bet against it, send them my way.

We have no idea how this is going to turn out, but I have to ask you, based on your criteria through 14 games this season, what team in the NFL is championship-caliber? Only one team in the AFC has four losses and it needed overtime the other night to avoid a fifth loss; everybody else in that conference has at least five. We just saw what happened to the Bucs and Cards. Dallas nearly blew a 24-0 lead at Washington last week. The Rams coughed up an onside kick with the game on the line last Monday night. Nobody in the NFL is screaming "team to beat" right now, and that does not surprise me in the slightest. It's the way of this league.

Davy from Watertown, WI

Congrats to the NFC North Champs! It's crazy that (with four games left to play in Week 15) the Packers are not only the first team to clinch a division crown, they're also the only team to have clinched a playoff berth at all. And only four teams have been mathematically eliminated. Parity achieved.

There you go.

Christian from Plymouth, MN

Is Justin Herbert the real deal?

He absolutely is, but with a first down on his own 44-yard line with 43 seconds left in regulation and multiple timeouts remaining, he's got to get his team into position to win that game. There's no whining allowed (not saying he did, but a lot of fans have) about not getting the ball in overtime when you waste an opportunity like that.

Ron from Long Beach, CA

Is it OK to put a HUGE shout out to Kelly Sheffield and the UW women's volleyball team? What an extraordinary group of athletes these ladies are to finally get over the hump and bring a championship to Madison. Congratulations all!

Outstanding achievement. What an incredible pair of Final Four matches to cap a dynamite season and the amazing careers of several star players who came back for one last go-round.

James from Farmington, NM

Good morning, I was wondering why the two of you are prohibited from viewing practices during the regular season, but the announcers for the upcoming game don't face such a restriction? Often times, you'll hear them say, "Oh, we saw team X practice that play or player X really stood out when we saw them on Friday." When did the league create this rule and for what purpose? Does it make it more challenging to create content? Just curious and thanks in advance for the consideration.

The network broadcast team often watches the Friday practice of the home team when it gets into town prior to the Sunday game. The announcers aren't allowed to talk about anything they see until the broadcast, but that's been part of network access/procedure forever, just like the production meetings with both coaches, QBs, etc. The networks pay billions of dollars to broadcast the games, so they get special consideration. Part of the deal.

The Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens faced off in America's Game of the Week on Dec. 19, 2021.

Larry from Cumming, GA

Wes, is having your confusion confused akin to seeing what condition your condition was in?

This really made me laugh. I'll never forget how my grandpa used to always tell me, "You're in pretty good shape considering the shape you're in."

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

Mike, in your response about college coaches' success in the NFL, you included Nick Saban as a "massive failure." That seems like a harsh assessment given he went 15-17. He left at the end of the season that the Dolphin medical staff failed Drew Brees on his physical. How might Saban's fortune in the NFL been different had he gotten his wish to sign Brees? I guess we'll never know.

That's fair. I probably should have included him in the "OK" category. Until prompted by your submission to look it up, I had forgotten his less-than-desirable QB situation for those two years – Gus Frerotte and Joey Harrington. Woof.

Ben from Fort Worth, TX

Mike, you failed to mention Pete Carroll. Was that because he went from the NFL back to college and then back to the NFL? Or maybe because his USC days were a bit tainted? As far as I know, he and Jimmy Johnson are the only two head coaches to win both a college championship and a Super Bowl.

Jimmy Johnson was just a different era, and I almost consider Pete Carroll a unicorn of sorts given his back-and-forth career path, as you mentioned. I take nothing away from his success at both levels, but he's almost the exception to the exception to the rule.

Mark from Lansing, MI

The extra-point success rate in the NFL is 92.5% this year. So the analytics say two field goals are as good as a touchdown 7.5% of the time.

Ha, good one.

David from Cable, WI

We survived not having Kenny Clark. Will the extra rest help him down the stretch?

I'm not sure how much rest is achieved when shaking off this virus, but hopefully Clark can get healthy for the final push. The Packers need him.

Joe from Swansea, IL

Wow! In a season of heart-stopping wins (49ers, Bengals, Cardinals, Rams), where does this one rank? Especially on a day that the Cardinals and Bucs lost …

Aside from the Rams game, which I thought the Packers controlled pretty well down the stretch, the other four are hard to separate for me. The Bengals and Cardinals felt like the most improbable, but I think this one would have been the most heartbreaking to lose given the two-touchdown lead.

DB from Wausau, WI

When Big Dog gets that touchdown, it will be well deserved. He was close to three of them tonight. Never stopped fighting … he was right there!

Sorta seems like the stage is set for him to get the record-breaker, no?

Frank from Cedar Falls, IA

An "indubitably" tweet from Big Dog! Has the Inbox come full circle?

A lot of things Sunday made my night. That really made my night. Happy Monday.

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