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Inbox: Those big legs are fresh

When the Packers are running the ball well, defenses have few answers

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RB AJ Dillon

David from Kennewick, WA

Remember that complete game everyone was looking for? It was under the Christmas tree at Lambeau all along. What a statement game! Go Pack Go! Onto da Bears!

A great ending to a wonderful week.

Tony from San Juan Capistrano, CA

Hey guys, it was so good to see a 60-minute game, which tells me the Pack is approaching peak performance at exactly the right time. A humorous side note though was that it appeared that Adams wasn't wearing socks. Did either of you catch that? In that weather?! He's definitely one of a kind! On to Chicago.

Whatever works, man. While the idea of peaking is a popular sentiment in the Inbox, and it was a dominant performance against a very good team, it was still one game. That'll be a tough standard to meet, but it's there now for the Packers to strive for from here on out.

Erick from Portland, OR

After watching his performance on the Frozen Tundra last night, AJ Dillon's new nickname should be the Snowplow. How fun was that to see? Very happy for him! We should expect his Lambeau Leaps to improve with more practice (and less snow, perhaps).

I couldn't care less whether he can clear the top of the wall or not. If he can run with that kind of authority between the tackles the rest of the way, defenses have another weapon to worry about. Those big legs are fresh.

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

The biggest takeaway for me was that a physical running game could make this offense unstoppable. What is your biggest takeaway?

It's been evident this year when the Packers are running the ball well, no matter who's running it, defenses have few answers.

Aumed from Moorhead, MN

WOW! What a performance by the defense. Props to Mike Pettine and the rest of the crew for an outstanding game plan. The five- and six-man fronts were really effective. Do you see them using this package more from now on instead of the six defensive backs?

It's all matchup based. The focus was Henry, so the Packers played a lot of base front, which is three down linemen with two edge defenders. Pettine threw in some wrinkles too. Guys got off blocks and made tackles. Without its usual running game, Tennessee's play-action didn't do much, and that's not a straight drop-back passing offense, at least not in those conditions.

Daniel/Jacalynn from Townsend, WI

How many extra-point kicks have been missed this season?

I don't have those stats in front of me, but the number does seem abnormally high this year.

Richard from Canton, GA

So with the benefit of hindsight, the Packers' D did not actually do badly against Kamara did they?

When Mike Zimmer goes on the record saying, "This is a bad defense. Worst one I've ever had," that's all you need to know.

Rick from Sterling, CO

Did anyone else notice how, after Aaron Jones' long run (when he stepped out), the entire offense hustled down to run a play before Tennessee could toss the challenge flag? I'm assuming ML got into Aaron Rodgers' ear to let him know what was up. Great heads-up play! Also, that Dillon kid may be a keeper.

The Packers certainly played it smart to get another snap off quickly, but honestly, how does an official standing five yards in front of Jones, right on the sideline, miss that call? That was inexcusable. I know it benefited the Packers, but I can't stand just flat-out awful officiating on obvious, non-judgment calls.

Rick from Shawano, WI

I wanted the complete game win against the Titans in the worst way. But now everyone seems to be overlooking duh Bears. Will the Pack also? Are we in for a big letdown?

If the Packers think they've peaked, maybe. If they think they haven't, then no.

Patsi from Riverside, CA

Atlanta knows more ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory than any other team this season.

It's incredible how close the Falcons were to being a playoff team, and they might finish 4-12.

Alan from Mount Auburn, IL

The Ryan Fitzpatrick pass Saturday while having his head almost torn off should be nominated for the pass play of the year.

Just when you think you've seen it all in this league.

Jenn from Peoria, IL

Other than Rodgers' rare turnover, I saw a lot to be encouraged about against the Titans. The most interesting stats to me (according to the score app) is that the Packers had no penalties and never had to punt. Is that accurate?

Correct. I didn't even realize the no-penalty part until you mentioned it. That TD passes vs. punts stat is back in play again, too. Tied up at 44.

Brandon from Jackson, WI

When the question was posed regarding holding Henry to under 100 yards, I laughed thinking we'd be lucky to keep him under 150. What an impressive defensive performance. Was this the first complete game from the Pack?

The kicking game left a bit to be desired, if we're being fussy. But for only five of Henry's 23 carries to go for more than five yards – and three of those five coming when the score was 33-14 – is tone-setting run defense.

Ryan from Colfax, WI

Kudos for the job that the defense did to contain Derrick Henry. However, it appears that the best way to stop Henry is to have your offense score a boatload of points.

It helps the cause. It's a team game.

Nic from London, UK

If say Trubisky were to get hot and lead his team to the NFC Championship, do you think the Bears should keep him? I think years of evidence should not be overturned by one hot stretch, but I can imagine it would be a tough decision for a GM.

The Bears aren't even in the playoffs yet and you've already got them winning at least two playoff games. Slow down.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Still some cleaning up to do, but that was the most consistent performance of the season so far. If three or four calls change (offsides on blocked FG, hands to the face, Jones out of bounds) this could have been a different game.

Agreed. The Packers made two of those breaks really count.

Paul from Lincoln, NE

With Krys Barnes in the traditional ILB role, Christian Kirksey seemed to have his best game this season.

I noticed last week Kirksey seemed to be more impactful playing fewer total snaps, and that held true again.

Jeremiah from Madison, WI

Question: Regarding your favourite Christmas songs, one of you said "Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24" and the other said Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Carol of the Bells." Aren't those the same song?

Indubitably.

Ross from Hudson, WI

Scary Ninja has to go on the plaque with Yellow Weasel and New York Bozo. Where do these audible names come from? Who comes up with the names?

There's a suggestion box outside LaFleur's office. Or not. I have no idea.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Third-and-10 with 4:02 left in the game. That one play should solidify Rodgers as MVP and Davante Adams as Offensive Player of the Year.

It's worth considering, though I could see Henry rushing for 200 next week vs. Houston to clinch a division title and win OPOY in the process. I do think Rodgers locked down the MVP last night.

Melissa from Germantown, WI

How can we win the No. 1 seed?

Just beat the Bears, or have the 49ers beat the Seahawks.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Could the same defensive strategy work against the Bears? Put the game in Trubisky's hands?

The root of Chicago's late-season offensive surge is the running game, particularly Montgomery. The defensive game plan starts there.

Daniel from Los Angeles, CA

During the halftime show, the presenter said if we tied with a 12-4 record with Seattle and the Saints, the Saints will get the No. 1 seed. But we would get the No. 1 seed if we only tied with the Saints at 12-4. This made absolutely zero sense to me...care to elaborate?

In a two-way tie with New Orleans, Green Bay's head-to-head win is the tiebreaker. In a three-way tie with New Orleans and Seattle, head-to-head doesn't apply and the Saints would get the top seed with the best conference record of the three. To fend off the next question, in a two-way tie with Seattle, the Seahawks get it due to the common-games tiebreaker.

Patrick from Ashland, WI

If your brains aren't drained, please explain the NFC East playoff picture.

Ha. It's actually not that difficult. If Washington wins, it's the division champ. If Washington loses, the Cowboys-Giants winner takes the division. I correctly predicted late Sunday afternoon the Washington-Philly game would be next Sunday's prime-timer, because it became the only one with a win-to-get-in scenario (albeit for only one team) regardless of any other results.

Lambeau Field hosted a Week 16 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020.

Gordon from Newport Beach, CA

Have we ever had this many 11-win teams in the playoffs before?

I don't know, but there's a possibility (I believe) of an 11-win team in the AFC missing the playoffs in a year with an extra spot, no less.

Andrew from Blair, WI

Rock, paper, scissor, lizard, Spock? I know the II has people a lot smarter than myself...so who wins in rock, paper, scissor, Lazard, Spoff?

Has to be Allen Lazard. Nothin' beats a Cyclone.

Susan from Santa Cruz, CA

Hi Mike, who, if anyone, shoveled the seats for the fans today?

They were on their own.

Blake form Wayzata, MN

On one of the flashback video clips, Cris and Al showed a view from directly behind, as Aaron put BOTH hands behind him and basically pointed AJ on which way to run, based on his play-call adjustments at the line. I don't recall ever seeing that before? Have you?

Rodgers actually does that rather frequently.

Marin from West Lawn, PA

How much impact do you believe Jerry Gray has had on Jaire Alexander's play this season?

I think Alexander was headed for this level eventually. He may have just gotten there a tad sooner with Gray.

David from San Antonio, TX

Great job by Mike Pettine. And his players. Is this a turning point?

In an offense-driven league, to have only one snap that qualifies as a damaging defensive breakdown will go a long way.

Ryan from Ripon, WI

With the NFL looking at a 17-game season, how will they determine who gets the extra home game? Won't that give an unfair advantage in some years?

The 17th game is going to be an AFC-NFC matchup with every team in one conference getting a ninth home game the first year, and then the extra home game switching to the other conference the next year, to keep it equitable.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers S Will Redmond through the years.