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It's Bears week senior writer Mike Spofford took reader questions in his weekly chat.


Hi everybody. Thanks for logging in. Plenty to talk about I'm sure. Let's get started.

Comment From KK

Mike, It seems reasonable to think that Detroit will probably lose one of the games to either Dallas or New York. If that's the case, then the Packers control their own destiny if they win out. Do you think that's the way the team thinks about it?

I think they're just going to count on getting in at 10-6 as long as they win out, whether it's the wild card or division title. It's the best way to look at it, and if it doesn't work out, you still know you laid it all on the line.

Comment From Eric

Seattle win was nice and somewhat surprising, but it's over and time to look forward to the Bears. Other than scroe more poitns give me one key for the Packers to walk away with a W.

I think Jordan Howard is the best offensive player the Bears have right now, and you can't let him control the game. For as close as Chicago came to beating Detroit, the Bears' offense only scored 10 points.

Comment From Linda P

Mike, What a change in the recent play of the Packers!! What is the number one thing that has transpired for the team to have made such a huge jump in production on both sides of the ball?

I think on offense this was coming for a while. Things really started clicking in Washington, but the defense couldn't hold up. Getting the CBs healthy on defense, Randall and Rollins in particular, has made a huge difference. It took them a few games after coming back to really be back, but now it appears they are.

Comment From Guest

How bad is Stafford's finger and do you think it will be a problem?

Really hard to say until their next game. I'm sure the Lions won't be talking about it much. If it's bad, they certainly won't reveal that.

Comment From Rodney

Mike, just read Cobb's comments on Lane's hit on the last kneel down. Do you think the seahawks are dirty or just poor losers?

They're overly aggressive and they certainly crossed the line a few times on Sunday. I can't speak to any of their other games because I don't watch them that closely, but that was some ugly stuff on Sunday.

Comment From Jon

Hey Mike, what's your sense on the state of the fans? I live in MA and try to stay in tune with Twitter, etc. It feels like cautiously optimistic from here.

No doubt, as it should be with the big win over Seattle. Would have been nice to get some more help in the playoff picture Sunday, but the prospects look good. Just have to keep winning.

Comment From Patrick

The game in Chicago this week should be good. The Bears are playing for their jobs and the fans in Chicago would love nothing more than to see the Packers season get spoiled by a downtrodden Bears team. I don't expect a friendly atmosphere. Love the edge.

The Bears are not going to roll over. This is the NFL. Everyone is putting film out there for their futures, whether with their current team or elsewhere.

Comment From Marin

How close is Blake Martinez to returning?

I'm guessing close. He seemed to do more in practice last week than the week before. If that progression continues, I think he's a decent bet to be active on Sunday.

Comment From Mike

Assuming the Packers win the division (a big if) and the Seahawks do (almost certain). Green Bay will play them at Lambeau in 2017.Then the Packers play the NFC West in 2018. This rivalry isn't going anywhere.

Not a chance.

Comment From Chase

What does Christian Michael's contract look like? Same with Starks. Just trying to figure out what the backfield is going to look like in the future.

Starks has one year left on his deal. Michael has an expiring contract (his original rookie deal when he was drafted).

Comment From Evan

The biggest difference between early season Davante Adams and late season Davante seems to be his ability to get off the jam at the line. It allowed him to get by Lane with ease, and beat Shead who is a slow corner (4.58 40 yd dash) but has success by getting his hands on WRs. How did Adams "get better" at this mid season? Is it confidence? Technique? I'm excited that we might have a #1 WR with deep threat ability on this team.

That's what practice and development can do, and also Adams is getting all those reps healthy now, as opposed to when he wasn't healthy for most of last year. His quick twitch at the line, the stutter-steps and stuff, impressive.

Comment From Ryan

Can Barkley really lead the Bears to a victory, is he really ready to be a starter in the NFL?

He's looked far more effective the last two weeks than he did when he got thrown in unexpectedly against the Packers back in October.

Comment From Mike

I think you couldn't be more wrong on the Bears, Mike. A heartbreaking loss, below-zero temperatures, December game with nothing substantive to play for? I think Chicago is goign to come out flat.

Hey, the Packers wouldn't mind, but I just don't see it that way, and neither does McCarthy and this team.

Comment From Ray

Any update on Jared Cook?

Haven't heard anything. We'll see if he's back at practice tomorrow.

Comment From Kyle

Mike, I'm worried that the Inbox seemed to be chortling this morning. Three big games left. Nothing is decided. We need balance!

I was trying to temper that a bit. Victories like that can be enjoyed for a day or so, but the Packers didn't win anything but one more game, and three more lie ahead.

Comment From Rodney

speaking of injuries, is there an update on Perry?

Again, nothing yet. McCarthy said last week Perry would be re-evaluated this week, presumably to see if he can play with his hand clubbed up. Again, it's wait and see on that.

Comment From Eric

After the cheap shot Sherman took on Davante, it was poetic justice when Adams pushed Sherman all over on the Janis end around!

Lots of folks have commented on that.

Comment From Tom

Mike, Dean Lowry has made significant plays two games in a row now. Is he ahead of schedule in terms of development or did the Packers know he would contribute if given the chance this year?

You don't plan on a fourth-round pick riding the bench all season. This is what you hope for. I remember back in 2012, this was about the time Mike Daniels started making some plays, too, as a rookie.

Comment From Joe

Thanks for the chat, as always, Mike! From all the years you saw training camp battles between Josh Sitton and the Packers' DL still on this year's roster, what do you expect to see as they face each other in opposing uniforms on Sunday?

A ton of respect and some good ol' fashioned battling in the trenches. If you're wondering about extra-curriculars, I doubt it, other than maybe some jawing back and forth. That goes on all the time.

Comment From Evan

To Mike: Chicago is going to ride their rookie back, Howard, as far as he'll take them. Plus, Chicago's defense has been playing well and they get Alshon Jeffery back. Don't count them out, I agree with Spoff's assessment in the Insider Inbox today.

Jeffery coming back could be big for Barkley, too.

Comment From RJ

Do the Packers stay in the burbs in Chicago or a downtown hotel?

We've normally stayed downtown.

Comment From Bruce

Montgomery looks like he has genuine running back instincts. From his first game in the backfield to Sunday's game it seems like he has already made a big leap.

His ability to get yards after contact is improving. That's what I've seen.

Comment From Kyle

Mike, I'm not a fantasy player, but who do you think is in line to have a big game come Sunday? My money is on Cobb. He's been awfully quiet this season. It's time.

I picked Cobb last week as my player to watch in Final Thoughts. I agree he's due. Leaving briefly last week with the ankle injury was unfortunate. Hopefully it won't affect him much going forward.

Comment From Eric

Could we see the Ringo rush blitz be added to the defensive playbook? He sure did get a good push and disrupted the pocket.

I haven't heard a press box explode with laughter quite like that in a long time.

Comment From Evan

Has Joe Thomas become an every-down linebacker, or was that just part of the game plan to spy Wilson for 71 snaps Sunday?

With Martinez out, Matthews and Ryan limited, and Burnett playing in the box against Graham, Thomas took on a bigger role and responded. None of Wilson's scrambles really hurt the Packers.

Comment From Dan

The Packers can tie the all-time series against the Bears this week. Do you think McCarthy uses that at all? He doesn't really need to.

He doesn't need to but I'll be curious if he mentions it or if any players in the locker room are aware of it. They'll be asked I'm sure.

Comment From Tom

It seems like Burnett has been playing in the box a lot lately which has helped stuff the run & put pressure on the QB when blitzing. Will we continue to see him in the box as often when Ryan & Martinez are both healthy or will he drop back into a more traditional two-deep look? Maybe it depends more on our cornerback's ability to cover one-on-one?

It depends on that, the opposing team's running game, if Burnett is matching up against a particular offensive player. It's going to vary.

Comment From Andrew

Does the team fly down to Chicago or do they drive? Also do you ride/fly with the team to away games?

The team flies, and yes, Wes and I travel on the team charter.

Comment From matt

I was at Lambeau field sunday and what a great game to go to, I hope you have just as much fun as I did. my question is what is the biggest problem the bears can exploit on us, thanks mike have a great holliday

The cold-weather troubles the Texans and Seahawks had won't be an issue for the Bears. Both teams know how to protect the football in these kind of conditions, so the Packers can't lapse in that department.

Comment From Tim

The top 3 guys in the MVP race are Stafford, Brady and Ryan. If Rodgers wins the division making good on his "run the table" comment, is he in the conversation?

Absolutely. I suggested in Inbox this morning that maybe Week 17 will decide the division title and the MVP. Wouldn't that be something?

Comment From Joe

How well do you think the Packers' defense controlled Rawls and the Seahawks' running game on Sunday? At what point in the game did you see Seattle "move away" from running the ball to try to get on the scoreboard and catch up?

I thought Rawls was having a pretty good game, actually, and the Packers' run defense wasn't at its best there, but after the INT to start the third quarter, the Seahawks couldn't really stick with the run.

Comment From Valerie

I know there's a bit of a "cone of silence" regarding IR players. But how is my man Eddie doing? Do you see him around the building

I've seen him around. He's attending meetings, doing his rehab. He hasn't talked with reporters, though.

Comment From Mick

Mike at this point obviously we are still aiming for a division championship. Do you think we are more likely to get into the playoffs as a division winner or wild card?

The division is the simpler path, but the wild-card is not out of the question if the Lions beat both the Giants and Cowboys.

Comment From Blaine

Lions lose to the Giants or the Cowboys?

Hard to say. The Giants are coming off a huge home win. Can they keep it going or are they due for a letdown? It's a week-to-week league. You just never know.

Comment From Daniel

I can't believe how quickly everyone flips from trade Rodgers and fire everyone to now calling him MVP and praising MM. Am I the only one going crazy from this constant hypocracy?

Everyone has to have a hot take. That's the world we live in. If your take isn't hot, no one will listen, supposedly. I try to keep it reasonable on here and appreciate whatever audience I can draw.

Comment From Linda P

Mike, How is Aaron??

We really don't know. He always speaks with the media on Wednesdays after practice, so we'll have a story on the site right after that with whatever he says about his health.

Comment From Eric

Do you suspect the packers will utilize the pistol look more often both for protection from edge rushers like Floyd, and to limit the usage of Rodger's legs?

The pistol has been the main solution to Rodgers' leg woes, so I would imagine it will be employed plenty.

Comment From Joe

I hate to say I was surprised Gunther's excellent coverage on Rollins' deflection INT in the (south?) endzone was not called for pass interference. Personally, I've always argued that all players have the equal right to go for the ball in the air and exist in their space on the field (since many PI calls are the result of a WR "running thru" a DB :( ). The Seahawks WR was instantly lobbying for Pass Interference on that play. How surprised was the press box on the no-call?

I think Gunter turning his head around back toward the ball was the key. If he doesn't turn around, the ref probably throws the flag.

Comment From Tim J (MN)

Did the Packers have any say in the possible move of the 12.24 game against the Vikings going to a later start time? I assumed the Packers wanted to keep it as is?

I think everyone here, me included, wanted to keep it at noon. Whether the Packers had any influence over the league's decision, I don't know.

Comment From Matt

The Giants are putting together their typical scary good end to the season, the Lions will have their hands full.

No question. That Giants defense really rose to the occasion on Sunday night.

Comment From Ray

Hi Mike, Greatly enjoy the chat. Is there a concern Rodgers calf injury can be more a problem this week than it was during the game he injured it in? Unlike 2014 this is his right calf. How much of a difference can that make?

The right calf is the plant leg on throws, so I would imagine that would make things tougher. But he made plenty of throws Sunday after the injury that were all arm strength, and his accuracy didn't suffer.

Comment From Stephen

Rodgers' potential lack of mobility could be an issue. Who on the Bears presents the greatest threat to pressure Rodgers?

I haven't watched the Bears much prior to last week's game, but the return of Floyd on defense from his injury seems to have made a difference with that unit.

Comment From Cody

Mike, while Seattle had to scrap their run game a little bit to compensate for falling behind, it was fairly successful. I would expect the Bears to run the ball a lot more. Do you expect our run defense to return to early season form? By the way, the game was a blast to be at!

As I said earlier, I think Jordan Howard will be the key to Chicago's offense on Sunday. I've seem a lot of headlines from down there questioning why he wasn't used more in Detroit.

Comment From Ray

How much will MetLife affect the Lions on their first true cold weather game? The Giants D is really looking strong.

A team's first cold-weather game is always its toughest. The Lions are a resilient bunch, though. They've been down in a lot of fourth quarters this year and have pulled out a lot of clutch wins.

Comment From Dave

Hi Mike, I think the biggest difference in Sunday was the ability of 4 D lineman to put consistent pressure on Wilson while staying in their lanes. He result was a bunch of turnovers. Do you think we can keep this up? I loved it, but the Seahawks O line has been terrible this year. If we can, I say watch out league!!

That was a huge factor. The Packers got pressure without blitzing, and the pressure contained Wilson and didn't give him huge running lanes. Their O-line has been their Achilles' heel, though, you're right.

Comment From Tim J (MN)

Does the punt loss in Tenn really keep Davis off the filed or is there something more that doesn't allow him to make the field? I really like his speed and was hoping to see more of him mixed in with the other top 3. I understand he has good size hands.

He's behind Allison on the depth chart at WR, and with Cobb now returning punts (and Hyde also healthy enough to do it again), Davis has been the odd man out lately.

Comment From Wyatt

Offensive and defensive MVP so far?

Rodgers and Daniels, with Perry also right there if not for the injury.

Comment From Jim

Mike, I somehow lost track of Chris Banjo. I thought he was on IR but then I thought I heard he was on another team? If so how could that be?

The Packers reached an injury settlement with him, and when the settlement time expired, he signed with the Saints, I believe.

Comment From Matt

The defense looks remarkably better when Jake Ryan is on the field. Do you have any insight as to why that seems to be the case?

Ryan has been a heck of a run defender this year. Most of the issues that have cropped up with the run defense have been when Ryan has been out, in my opinion.

Comment From Joe

Have you seen the "A Football Life" program on Charles Woodson? Did you have much contact with him while he was a Packer?

I did watch that and enjoyed it. Well put together. I really liked Charles when he was here. Great interview, always thoughtful. I've never seen a more instinctive defensive player.

Comment From JordyFan

You don't exactly hear a lot about comeback player of the year conversation - besides Jordy, who else is making a case?

Can't say I've looked at it, but Nelson will definitely be under serious consideration.

Comment From Jacob

I love the way Montgomery runs out of the backfield. I have a feeling through these cold months he is going to start playing a bigger role and with the limited snaps to this point he should be just as fresh as any back in the league!

His runs between the tackles are getting better, no doubt. He's been most impressive when he gets to the edge. He seems like a slippery runner when he turns the corner.

Comment From Guest

Mike, as a resident of Seattle, I had the pleasure of enjoying the game amongst Seahawks fan friends. I tried telling them before the game that our o-line was legit, but their performance really hammered my comments home. I think this narrative is missed when pundits see that Rodgers is playing injured and the team will significantly suffer because of it. These guys can pass-pro with the best of em!

What this offensive line has done in pass protection has been really impressive. Can't say enough about it.

Comment From JordyFan

Rumor is Peterson is eyeing a return for Dec. 24...

Very possible. I wonder if the Vikings lose to Indy this week, though, if he'll come back. 7-7 would put a real damper on their playoff hopes, depending on other results.

Comment From KD

I know this has been talked about in weeks past, but every time I see Christine Michael get a carry I am extremely impressed with his initial speed.

Me, too. He just can't have the mental errors like the one he went the wrong way. That's why it's hard to just throw guys in right away.

Comment From Chris

Mike, TJ Lang said that learning how Montgomery runs has taken some time, but it will improve as they practice with him more. What does he mean? Is he hitting holes differently or it just how quickly he gets to the line?

I think it's mostly a timing thing.

OK, my hour is almost up. Thanks for all the questions today. I'll take a couple more.

Comment From Jon

If we happened to get to, and go deep in the playoffs, is there any chance anyone on IR could come back?

The Packers have already returned Dorleant from IR, so that option is gone.

Comment From ER

After the blown 3rd down play, it felt like Christine Michael rode the pine for what felt like forever despite looking alright with his other opportunities. Will that play carryover to his workload this week?

Not if he gets it straightened out in practice.

Comment From Mitchell

What are you looking forward to most about the Chicago game?

Not the press box. It's one of the worst views we get anywhere, but so it goes.

Comment From Ray L

Here's to staying focused on next game only. One slip and it is all over. McCarthy's mission, stay focused.

That's a good last word for today. Thanks everyone. Have a good week and take care. --Mike

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