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It's not just about Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers

What about Bill Belichick vs. Mike McCarthy?


Seth from Des Moines, IA

Vic, we didn't play our best ball and were still able to capture a win on the road vs. a division rival. To me, that speaks more about this team than the blowouts.

I would agree the Packers didn't play their best football, but yesterday's game was played in postseason style and I needed to know the Packers could play that kind of football. Leading 17-13 to start the fourth quarter, the Packers marched 87 yards in 11 plays and bled 6:18 off the clock to take a 24-13 lead. The defense didn't get a stop, but it forced a long march by the Vikings that took another 5:11 off the clock, which left only 3:23 to kill and that's exactly what the offense did. That kind of football impresses me because that's how you need to play in the postseason. Forget about those Bears and Eagles games. They don't happen in the postseason. I worry that those two games might be poisoning us. The Packers did what they had to do to win in Minnesota. I was impressed.

Trent from Orlando, FL

One of the things I have grown to love about the Packers is their patience. They never panic no matter what situation they find themselves in. I noticed that same kind of poise from the Vikings yesterday. I think they are a young team with a good coach and their arrow is pointing north. They are a team we are going to have to watch out for in the next couple of years. Your thoughts?

Mike Zimmer knows defense and has an impressive calm about him. I like a calm sideline. I watched the Vikings' sideline and it was calm and focused. If Teddy Bridgewater is "The Man," the Vikings' arrow is absolutely pointing straight up. I like their secondary a lot. It moved up from No. 8 against the pass to No. 7. What team improves its pass-defense ranking in a game against the Packers?

Jason from Wausau, WI

Vic, it was great to see Green Bay rely on the run game yesterday, which I believe bolsters the confidence of the offensive line. I realized Minnesota altered their coverage to protect against big pass plays, but do you think it's possible the Packers used a vanilla game plan to forgo giving the Patriots much for scouting purposes?

The Packers didn't go vanilla. They went power. Just because you lean on the run doesn't mean you're vanilla. There's nothing vanilla about Eddie Lacy sticking his foot down your throat. The Patriots know all they need to know about the Packers, and now they have confirmation that if they don't get enough guys up into the box, Lacy's going to snowplow them.

Brian from Trinity, FL

The "Tampa Two" defense with two safeties high has been around for over 20 years. Most of the league, including the Packers, has figured out how to beat it. Now, suddenly, the defense seems to be the Packers' Kryptonite. Against the Vikings, they won by running against it. Against good teams, that won't be enough. It seems our problems against this defense started with the loss of Finley. What's your take?

First of all, the "Tampa Two" involves a little linebacker wrinkle Tony Dungy put into "Cover Two," which Bud Carson invented 40 years ago. Dungy was a safety in Carson's "Cover Two." So, it's been around a long time and it is every team's Kryptonite if it doesn't have a running game to drag one of those safeties up into the box. The Packers didn't have a back that could do that until Lacy came along. If you're going to play "Cover Two," you better have a lot of talent up front that can stop the run undermanned. The Patriots are No. 14 against the run and No. 17 against the pass. That's pretty good balance and I think it also demands a balanced offensive approach. If Bill Belichick can load up to stop something, you're dead.

Greg from Bassano Del Grappa, Italy

All this talk about rivalry in the NFC North last week made me think of the geography of the division. Each team belongs to a state, more than any particular city. Just like the Vikings are the Minnesota Vikings, I think the Packers could easily be called the Wisconsin Packers. In the middle of that is Wisconsin, which borders all of the other states with teams in the division. All of those states only have one NFL team. In that sense, Vic, do you feel the NFC North has something special the other divisions don't have?

Yeah, there's a state identity with teams in the NFC North that doesn't exist in other divisions. I never sensed a Pennsylvania identity growing up in Pittsburgh. Packers-Vikings has a college feel to it, and I like that. I think that's why it's my favorite rivalry in the NFC North. Weather also makes the NFC North special. This is a division for hearty souls. I wish the Vikings weren't building a dome. I loved yesterday's venue.

Steve from Three Lakes, WI

I find it interesting how the Patriots are using Revis. He is shutting down the second-best WR himself and then they are doubling the No. 1 WR with safety help. This allows them to put an extra man in the box. What is the best way to attack them?

I wasn't aware they were doing that, but it sure sounds creative. The best way to attack the Patriots is to pull Belichick's hoodie down over his eyes so he can't see what's going on. He's a defensive genius. He can look at you on tape and say, "We'll do this, this and this." This game on Sunday is about more than Brady vs. Rodgers. It's also Belichick, the defensive genius, vs. McCarthy, one of the most underrated offensive minds in the game.

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