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Low scoring, hard hitting, down to the wire

Broncos have impressive defensive rankings


Alex from Necedah, WI

Thus far this season, the Packers defense is allowing the least amount of points per game. Why can't we forget about yards for a moment and appreciate solid defensive play?

Because yards are fantasy points.

Jonas from Minneapolis, MN

The concept of "America's Team" doesn't work for me. It also doesn't work for the fans of 31 teams. Thoughts?

It works for the Cowboys. They're masters of marketing and there's no telling to what degree the "America's Team" tag helped build their brand and fan base. It was created in the 1970s, when the NFC was woeful and lacking in star-quality players and teams that drove TV ratings. CBS had the NFC rights back then and it put the Cowboys on TV every weekend because they were the only team in the NFC fans wanted to see play. That's the origin of "America's Team." Then the Cowboys put the blue and red lines on the 20-yard lines, and the tag caught on. You can hate 'em all you want, but their ability to drive their product and create new revenue streams is sensational.

Brian from Albertville, AL

I know the coaches' mantra of one game at a time, but is it possible they were holding some defensive schemes back vs. Rivers, saving them for the next two weeks? (and please, no monk allegories in your answer).

It saddens me to read your question. I fear you'll never fully understand or appreciate this great game.

Craig from Eagle River, WI

Vic, I know you've explained it before, but can you please explain to the masses why the Vikings are to be taken seriously?

They're No. 7 in total defense and No. 6 in rushing. That's big boy football.

Dusty from Marengo, WI

Vic, have you ever been further north in Wisconsin than Green Bay? Have you ever seen Lake Superior?

I've been to Door County; it's very scenic. My parents rented a little trailer to take on a trip to Lake Superior. That was back in the mid-'60s. They brought it home. The kitchen table folded down so you could sleep on it. Someone's feet were going to be inches from someone else's head. I refused to go.

Nick from Evergreen, CO

I'll tell you how I feel! I'm still bitter about the non-calls on that final drive and I want the Packers to destroy the Broncos because we lost. Maybe I should let it go, but why? It gets me hyped for the game and I'll enjoy it more, win or lose. Perspective? I want intensity! Just win, baby!

Have a good time.

Lee from Niland, CA

Many coaches retire and go into broadcasting. What is the second career for a sportswriter? Do sportswriters just hang in there until age sets in?

That's my plan. I know this: I'm not going to sit in front of a TV being angry about a game I covered 40 years ago.

Matt from Grand Rapids, MI

Vic, the Packers are built for long-term success, always relying on the young players to make plays and rarely looking outside the organization for quick fixes. The Packers have been good because of it for a long time. My question, to exaggerate it a bit, is it better to make the playoffs 20 years in a row or to win the Super Bowl three times in four years and spend 15 years trying to just return to playoffs?

Where do you sign up for that program? Do you call the NFL and agree to not be a playoff contender for 15 years if the NFL will give you three Super Bowl titles? The goal of every season is to make it into the postseason. I don't ever want to give away a season to non-contention. Put me down for the 20 years in a row. I'll take my chances.

Bob from Germantown, WI

Vic, if you're Denver and win the coin toss, do you receive the kick and try to drive Green Bay's defense into the thin air, or do you defer and let your defense try to exert your will against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense?

I defer.

Jimm from Huntsville, AL

Vic, how would you attack Denver's defense?

It's No. 1 overall, No. 4 against the run and No. 1 against the pass. Do you see an invitation in there anywhere? You do what you can and you pick your spots. This one might be a field-position game.

Stephen from Chicago, IL

I have a feeling Rollins and Randle will be mentioned in tandem for as long as they are both Packers. Have you covered past draft pairings in which one was rarely mentioned without the other?

Swann and Stallworth.

Harry from Waupaca, WI

Vic, what kind of game are you expecting on Sunday? I think the Packers are in for another grinder.

I agree. I'm expecting a low-scoring, hard-hitting game in which the winning points will be scored in the final two minutes of the game. That's what I've come to expect from good teams, and these are very good teams.

Kirsten from Madison, WI

Should teams take a draft-and-develop attitude toward coaches, too? Or should coaches be considered veterans who should make an immediate impact?

I'm in awe of how Mike McCarthy has built and developed his coaching staff. Continuity is No. 1 when it comes to coaching staffs, and the Packers have the most stable coaching staff in the league. Why is continuity so important? Because you don't want former position coaches all over the league providing information on your personnel and on how to beat you.

Earl from Taylorsville, KY

Vic, if a team has to win the one-on-ones to win the game, who is "The Man" matched up against?

He has to outperform the other quarterback.

Jay from Sheboygan, WI

Vic, I have a feeling this game won't be close at all. The offense gets on track and we win 42-10. What do you think of that?

I had that feeling for the Chargers game.


Would you purposefully take a safety if you were up by six points inside the two-minute warning, the other team out of timeouts and fourth-and-11 on your own 2-yard line?

Of course I would. Either way, the opponent has to score a touchdown. Taking a safety could be a difference of 30 yards. Coach Noll didn't do it – but there was much less than two minutes left in the game. I asked him why he didn't do it and he said he couldn't force himself to score points for the other team. What we must understand is it's not always about strategy, it's about the attitude you want your football team to possess. Stubbornness, toughness, resilience are virtues at crunch time. Playing the percentages can soften a team; they can make your team just another team.

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