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Inbox: This opportunity is all the Packers could ask for

It felt like the whole team fed off that

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Team celebration

Matt from Keswick, VA

So is that what a complete game looks like? I rather like it!

Let's have that become the start of a new type of streak, eh?

Lee from Kingman, AZ

Well, it took 17 weeks but I believe we are officially recombobulated. Can we keep it up?

To see 41 points on the board and think the offense was just kind of "meh" in this game feels like a good thing.

Dan from Toledo, OH

It turns out we just might all be OK with that seventh playoff team being added after all.

The NFL got what it wanted with the addition, which was as much about keeping more teams in the hunt to the end as the extra playoff games themselves. Hopefully the topic of discussion next week is trying to become the first No. 7 seed to advance.

Nikhil from Highland Park, IL

I am simply dumbfounded this team is somehow in this position – 100% in control of its own playoff destiny – given the arc of this season. Glad the players never gave up, because at 4-8, I sure did. Wow!

As I mentioned in a couple of forums last week, you could see this team not giving up in tough road games at Buffalo and Philly with a lot going against them. They fought in those games to the end. Even as awful as that first Detroit game was, they kept battling and were in the red zone with a chance to win at the end. Never giving up in any games became never giving up on the season, either.

Matt from Havana, IL

I love every second of Jaire Alexander trash-talking Justin Jefferson. Calling out the top receiver in the NFL and crushing him the entire game is surreal. Has/is Jaire taken over as the heart and soul of Packers' D?

I think the entire secondary has, honestly. Alexander, Rasul Douglas and Adrian Amos are all playing their best ball right now, and Savage has bounced back from his benching to settle in again. Nine interceptions in the last four games, with De'Vondre Campbell's in Miami the only one not from a DB. They're ballin' out and they don't look bothered when the other team does make a play. They line back up and dare 'em to do it again.

Jacob from Eagle, WI

In hindsight, Dallin Leavitt jumping on the ball on the 1-yard line worked out great because the defense held them to a field goal. But if he would have surrendered a safety I think that would have been a heads-up play. Would you agree or do you always make the offense try for that one yard?

Finding a way to take a safety would've been the ideal play. But that goal-line stand was phenomenal. Green Bay's defense showed from the jump that it came to play, and it felt like the whole team fed off that.

Patrick from Lakewood, IL

Mike, I bought a single ticket and did my 1/78,000th part to help the team. I think the crowd really brought a lot of energy even though there was a lot of purple in the stands. How did that energy feel to you in the press box?

I felt the crowd really bringing it during the goal-line stand, and then it felt like bedlam when Nixon and Savage were in the open field. The crowd got into it and stayed into it, for sure.

Jered from Denham Springs, LA

Just wanted to give à shout-out for the job Rich Bisaccia has done this season as special teams coach. What he's brought to the table this season is pretty unparalleled. He's brought back a winning mentality to the players on hand that had been sorely lacking from previous regimes. Instilled a fiery mentality along with some good ole discipline mixed together with love for the players he coaches. He has somehow made the job he was given to turn around our special teams play look easy. It wasn't.

Getting a punt blocked out of the gate and not letting it devolve into a bad day for your unit says something about how that group is coached. I guarantee you Bisaccia spent last night stewing over the punt block rather than celebrating Keisean Nixon's TD return.

Chili from Pacific Beach, CA

Tell Keisean he needs to wake up feeling like a Porsche next week. I don't want this to be "Ford vs. Ferrari" when we're playing Detroit.

Duly noted.

Joseph from Vermillion, SD

Second most impressive play? I'm assuming the 105-yard return is No. 1. I'll go with Kenny's strip/sack/recovery three-for-one!

What I loved most is that turned out to be Minnesota's only possession of the third quarter. If the Vikings score there, it's 27-10 with a quarter and a half to go. Instead, it was 34-3 the next time they touched the ball and only 14 minutes remained.

Michael from Novato, CA

Morning, II. Regarding the possible turning points comment Friday, if we don't make the playoffs, I'd point to the Tennessee game as the turning point (Dallas if we do). After struggling with offense and defense the first half of the year, we finally overcome a poor first half performance to beat Dallas, only to come out and lay an absolute egg against a depleted TN team, at home, on a short week. To me, that was the least understandable game of the year.

That's fair, but if they come up short now, the lasting memory going into the offseason will be Week 18. After everything that's happened, this opportunity is all the Packers could ask for.

Ben from Hammond, WI

That was so satisfying.

Now it's time for the Packers to turn the tables on the other division rival that beat them earlier in the season, too.

Steve from Salem, OR

The postgame interviews were full of reflection. The questions asked and responses returned were centered around emotions and state of mind. It felt as if winning this game against the Vikings was their Super Bowl. A different vibe than I got after beating the Dolphins where the press conferences were more energizing. What does this team need to do to refuel mentally to compete at the same level against a quality Lions team?

Film study this week will get their attention. They'll watch how Detroit destroyed Chicago on Sunday, and how the Lions have won seven of their last nine. They lost at the wire to Buffalo on Thanksgiving and had a major defensive letdown at Carolina last week. Those are their only blemishes since the calendar turned to November. The Packers know they're going to get everything the Lions have, and then some.

Mike from Lapel, IN

As much a statement as a question. Marcedes Lewis, 17 years at arguably one of the most physical positions on the field. No whining, no prima donna posturing, 100% football player. Just wondering if you guys know if he is the longest-tenured player at the TE position of all time, and if not, who was. How did their stats compare? Thanks guys and Happy New Year!

Among tight ends, Lewis is tied with Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten for the most seasons all time at 17 apiece. No. 2 among active tight ends is Kyle Rudolph at 12 years.

Mark from West Des Moines, IA

What part of the Lions game do the Packers need to spend the most time preparing for?

Goff's efficiency. They have to disrupt him. He's posted passer ratings of 110 or higher in four of the last five games. I know the Lions rushed for a bunch of yards against the Bears, but about 200 of those on the ground came in the second half with a sizable lead. Goff started that game 16-for-20 with three TDs in the first half. He's the biggest reason the Lions turned their season around.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

What do the Packers need to do this week versus Detroit to reverse the outcome compared with the game at their place?

Finish drives and protect the ball. The two picks at the goal line in Detroit decided that game.

Duane from Oak Creek, WI

Frank Winters should be the guest server at the Perks Donut House. Amiright?!

Indubitably.

Michael from Portland, OR

So what's involved when a former player "retires" for a certain team. Is it strictly symbolical? Is there a criteria that has to be met? Can't imagine a player wanting to retire from a team and the team saying no thanks!

It's a symbolic gesture.

Michael from Champaign, IL

Are you surprised the Vikings didn't try putting Jefferson in motion more to prevent the jams? Ja brutalized him all game, from the replays I saw.

The Vikings had been very creative all season with how they deployed Jefferson and schemed him up. I think they got caught off-guard by the physical approach at the line of scrimmage. If there's another meeting this month, both teams will adjust and counter.

Dave from Edina, MN

One catch for 15 yards and nine carries for 27 yards from the two Viking studs. Wow. Well done boys!

Dalvin Cook gained more than 4 yards on only two of his nine carries. That's a huge win by the guys up front against a Minnesota line that lost two starters early and never established anything.

Joshua from Milwaukee, WI

Was that the Packers' best defensive performance of the season?

The one against Tampa Bay way back in Week 3 is right up there, too, but considering the opponent and the fact that the defense scored in this one, yeah.

Ray from Clark, NJ

I don't expect SNF next week. Seattle has tiebreaker over Lions for head-to-head win. Lions could be playing for nothing by Sunday night. So Packers will most likely play 3:25 CT same time as Seahawks-Rams. Agree?

My thoughts exactly. If the league follows the pattern of recent years when Week 18 games are tied together, they'll be at the same time. But I guess we'll have to wait until tonight to find out for sure.

Jesus from El Paso, TX

How many times in Packers history has every phase of the team scored in the first half? That was incredible.

I'm not sure on that, but according to Elias, no one in the entire league had scored on a kickoff return and interception return in the first quarter of a game since 2007 when Tampa Bay did. Ronde Barber had the pick-six, and the kick-return TD was by Micheal Spurlock, who's a current Packers special teams assistant. You can't make this stuff up.

Al from Green Bay, WI

56-yard field goal, Lambeau Field, in January! Has it ever happened before?

I believe so. It's the third-longest ever at Lambeau, but the 58-yarder by Seattle's Josh Brown was in October ('03) and the 63-yarder by San Fran's David Akers was in September ('12). The only one I could find that comes close is Chris Jacke's 51-yarder in the '94 playoffs vs. Detroit, and that game was on Dec. 31.

Donna from Darien, WI

Can we please have a Lego version of Nixon's kickoff return?

I'm trying to wish it into existence here.

Adam from Great Meadows, NJ

Been a Packers fan for nearly 30 years. If GB slips into the playoffs this year, it might eclipse the 2003 McCown-to-Poole miracle finish. That was insane, but the Packers finishing 5-0 and getting every favorable result for five weeks would be incredible. That said, if GB does slip into the playoffs, they would enter as one of the league's hottest teams. This run doesn't seem fluky at all.

Nothing will ever be as miraculous as McCown-to-Poole. No way. Fourth-and-25 from the 28 on the final play of the game, after back-to-back sacks (including a recovered fumble on the second one with no timeouts and the clock running), after a recovered onside kick, after scoring on fourth down at the two-minute warning to climb within five points just to get to the onside kick? (Yes, I looked it all up.) C'mon now.

Jared from Detroit, MI

The Packers are looking scary all of a sudden. What's the weather report for next Sunday?

Looks like around 10-15 degrees chillier than yesterday. Maybe more depending on kickoff time.

Mike from Cottage Grove, MN

I assume that Mike enjoyed the live blog of this game. The only AC vent was from nature.

There's no press box seat more comfortable than mine at Lambeau, for a lot of reasons. One more chance to watch from there this season. Let's make it count.

Steve from Ely, MN

Han Solo said it best: "Never tell me the odds."

Happy Monday.

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