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Packers playing best football in the NFC

Seattle experiencing ebb and flow of season


Tony from Santa Ana, CA

Vic, any thoughts on the record Peyton Manning broke?

The longevity required to establish that kind of a milestone is amazing. Manning's greatest achievement is his ability to have played at such a high regular-season level without injury for as long as he has.

Anthony from Baraboo, WI

Vic, after seven games last year, the Packers were at 5-2 with a revitalized defense and a roaring offense. Then Rodgers went down and the offense fell apart and it became obvious they had been playing defense with their offense. How do we know that isn't the case this year?

I don't think that's the case this year; they certainly played defense without their offense in Detroit, and on several other occasions my eyes have told me the Packers are winning the one-on-ones. Morgan Burnett is playing the best football of his life. Why? The same can be said of several players. Nick Perry immediately comes to mind. Again, why? Maybe patience is the answer.

Brendan from Chicago, IL

Vic, Randall Cobb is back to his old self, Rodgers is on fire and our defense is playing great. I see a Super Bowl caliber team. What do you think?

I think the Packers are playing the best brand of football in the NFC right now, but the postseason doesn't begin until January, and the way the Packers are playing now won't mean a thing in the postseason. I think you should resist connecting the dots to the Super Bowl. I think it's a formula for disappointment along the way. A season is about ebbs and flows. Seattle is experiencing them and the Packers almost certainly will, too. Late in the season, the ebbs and flows must end and teams aspiring to a championship must play at a consistently high level. We've got a long way to go.

Ryan from Lake Saint Louis, MO

The defense looked dynamite, but even on the rare throws when Cam had time, he just seemed to be off. How much of that was great assignment football, and how much of it was getting a guy on an off day?

He had no one open. His receivers were engaged all over the field. The Panthers couldn't even achieve separation with a flea-flicker play. Why? Because there was no reason for the defensive backs to respect the threat of run. The Packers box players were so dominant against the run that the defensive backs could ignore the run.

John from Minneapolis, MN

Do you think the Seahawks' loss almost guarantees the Super Bowl will not go through Seattle? I cannot see Wilson and Co. going 10-0 or even 9-1 the rest of the way.

I absolutely guarantee the Seahawks' loss in St. Louis doesn't guarantee the Super Bowl will not go through Seattle. Fans love proclamations. They love to decide the issue before it's decided. I think they love to set themselves up for disappointment. I'm not a psychologist, but I think there's some kind of twisted psyche involved in the question you're asking. Hey, it's Week 7. Think back to Week 1 and what you were saying about the Seahawks then. One injury can change an entire season. One upset can make a huge difference. The Browns were flying high following their win over the Steelers a week ago. They were the hot-new team in the AFC. What are they today?

Koigi from Lynchburg, VA

Vic, what did you see in Carolina that made you predict a big day for the Packers? I expected a tougher game.

I saw a No. 27 run defense that was actually playing at a level beneath its ranking. Not stopping the run creates a multitude of problems. If you can't stop the run, your opponent can do anything it wants. The Packers' revival on defense began by stopping the run.

Aimi from Minneapolis, MN

During the Sunday evening game, the broadcasters kept showing the speed of Colin Kaepernick's passes. I have never seen this statistic discussed before. Is this new? And how is that information valuable? Is faster better?

A strong and quick arm helps a quarterback fit passes into tight windows. Maybe TV should've shown the speed at which Kaepernick's receivers were dropping his passes. What's happened to Vernon Davis?

Tony from Saint Paul, MN

Vic, what do you think of Dom Capers' NASCAR package? I like it. I think he deserves all the credit for that formation.

Players, not plays.

Brett from Neenah, WI

Vic, we have seen a great progression with the play of the Packers since the beginning of the season. I believe we are witnessing a team growing and developing. Do you agree or do you believe we are witnessing a team peaking too early?

Growth isn't steady. The Packers are hitting a midseason peak, but I suspect there will be lower points in what's left of the season, followed by another move upward. The key is having a healthy team whose arrow is pointing up in December. That's the traditional formula for postseason success.

Larry from Ventura, CA

Vic, during the Panthers game, John Lynch said Green Bay was "building a top-flight defense." I can see the improvement every week. I am going to enjoy the ride, but I am a little curious about next year. Will this unit remain intact to continue growth toward top-flight?

Forget about next year. This is a game of replacement, not maintenance.

C.J. from Edinboro, PA

Vic, though it's only halfway through the season, what does it tell you about McCarthy that another big-letters promise might be coming to fruition?

It tells me that when this coach focuses his attention on a problem, he fixes it. The process of fixing the defense began immediately following last year's playoff loss to the 49ers. Coach McCarthy led an evaluation of the defense and laid a course for correction. I think the first thing the Packers saw is they weren't as bad as everyone was saying they were. The Packers have been in the process of accumulating young speed for a few years. They needed to continue the development of those players – Sam Shields, Nick Perry, Davon House, Casey Hayward, Mike Daniels, etc. – and add players where more talent was needed. Julius Peppers represents a gutsy and difference-making decision that went against the grain of Packers philosophy. What it says is this team is not rigid. It will do what it takes to win, provided it doesn't compromise the team's future.

Jon from Alexandria, VA

I turned off SF-Denver after the first score. It was all I needed to see. From the "All 22," you can see Emmanuel Sanders blatantly uses the umpire to set a screen. Peyton Manning has made a career of these garbage throws, as has Wes Welker. Why does the league do nothing to address it, such as move the umpire? It's absurdly unfair to the defense.

The umpire has been moved. What you saw is finesse offense at its best. It's how scheme teams play, and Manning's offenses have always been scheme heavy: rub-offs, clear-outs, misdirection plays, line of scrimmage gyrations. Can you win championships with that kind of offense? Even in today's scheme-heavy game, I think it's a valid question.

Matt from Round Rock, TX

Vic, I have heard a couple of different TV announcers say rushing attempts matter more than rushing yardage in setting up play action. Is that accurate?

It's an age-old belief, but I've never completely bought into it. If your running game is no threat, why would a defensive back bite on a run fake? Score has something to do with that, of course; the Packers defensive backs didn't have to concern themselves with run support yesterday. Be that as it may, I still think you have to gain yards with your running game for it to sell play action.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, have you ever seen a quarterback play any better than Aaron Rodgers is playing right now?

Manning and Brady played at all-time high levels in their record-setting seasons, but Rodgers is playing at the highest level of any quarterback I have covered.

Alex from Kaukauna, WI

Vic, Ted Thompson has to get a lot of the credit for the way this team is progressing. What would this team look like without Letroy Guion, James Starks, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Davante Adams, Sam Shields? Seems like he pushed all of the right buttons last offseason.

Corey Linsley? Richard Rodgers? Julius Peppers? I think Dom Capers also deserves some credit for the Peppers acquisition. Let's dig a little deeper. How many teams have found their franchise left tackle in the fourth round? All of you fire-everyone people, think about your football team today.

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