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Right now is what matters for Packers

Weather conditions can boost the impact of special teams


Ryan from Santee, CA

Sleeves or no sleeves? That is the question.

I'll have multiple sleeves on, but the question is whether I dare to even walk down the tunnel to the field when I get off the bus Sunday morning.

Stephen from Chicago, IL

Mike, I heard more than one player in interviews use the line about believing what you see on tape and not the record when it comes to evaluating the Bears. Yet, I have also heard in the past something to the effect that you are what your record says you are (and I think I've seen that written here, too). So which is it? Are the Bears a playoff-caliber team, or are they a team worthy of a top-five draft pick?

In the big picture, you are what your record says you are. That's the NFL. In preparing for one contest, teams look at film primarily from an opponent's most recent games, and it's clear the Bears are not playing like a 3-10 team right now, and right now is what matters for the Packers.

Jason from Wausau, WI

I've noticed numerous pass plays this season where the defensive back doesn't get his head turned around when defending the pass, and no penalty was called. That used to be an infraction. Did the rule change?

Not exactly, but each one is a judgment call. It depends how much contact the defender makes with the receiver. If he doesn't contact him, there's no penalty for "face-guarding" in the NFL (like there is in college, I believe). He can stick a hand right in front of the receiver's facemask and block his vision if he wants, as long as he doesn't touch him, but that's tough to do, of course. How much contact is too much is up to the official, but usually if a defender gets his head turned around and shows he's playing the ball, some contact will be allowed. Rarely is visible contact not flagged if the defender never turns his head.

Patrick from Ashland, WI

Seattle's uniforms were heinous like a crime. End the color rush please.

My only suggestion is if you don't like it, don't watch. The league will pay attention to the ratings. I think people care about this color stuff way too much. Seinfeld was right. It's all about the laundry.

Alex from Bartlett, IL

I see Adams only has 13 more receptions than last year but 414 more yards. Is it due to the yards after catch or deep thrown balls his way?

Both. Adams' longest catch last season was 40 yards, and that came on a meaningless first-half Hail Mary at Carolina. This year he has four receptions of 40-plus, all in the last six games. I can remember deep balls against Philly and Seattle, and a great catch-and-run at Tennessee. We're watching him become a complete receiver.

Craig from Cedarburg, WI

Regarding the Prescott/Romo situation, I don't think it's far off to suggest Dallas plugging Romo back into the lineup. Denver made a similar move to Manning and they won the Super Bowl. Does Jerry consider that?

Osweiler was 5-2 in games he started in Manning's place and posted a 100-plus passer rating twice. Manning was out two months and came back for the playoffs. Prescott is 11-2 with a 100-plus passer rating 10 times. The guy had one off night in bad weather. Romo hasn't played a real game in 12 months. To me, the situations just don't compare.

Joe from DeForest, WI

I was wondering if you had the all-time win-loss record between the Packers and the Bears at the beginning of 1992. The year Brett took over for us. I would like to know how the Bears have fared against us in the Favre/Rodgers eras. Thanks!

I included some of that data in my**“One Last Look” column**posted Friday. With Favre and Rodgers at QB, the Packers are 36-14 against the Bears, a .720 winning percentage, and that includes the game Rodgers broke his collarbone in the first quarter in 2013.

Mike from Kalamazoo, MI

Alright Spoff. Can my WMU Broncos give your Badgers a game in the Cotton Bowl? I gave you grief earlier this year when we beat Northwestern. I'd love to be able to give you the business again. Prediction?

To be honest, I know nothing about Western Michigan except its record. This is a huge opportunity the Broncos have clearly earned. I just wish they were playing someone else, frankly.

Chase from Fort Huachuca, AZ

Is there any chance the New Year's game gets flexed? I hope not, because I'll end up missing it due to travel if it does.

If it's a win-or-go-home game for both the Packers and Lions, I could see the NFL putting it in prime time. Several other games on the slate could have big implications for both teams as well, though. Giants-Redskins, Texans-Titans, Raiders-Broncos. The league might have a lot to choose from. We'll just have to see how it sorts out.

Courtney from Butte, MT

If I recall correctly, with about 2:22 left in the half, Ty Montgomery caught a pass and went out of bounds but I was shocked the clock didn't stop. Can you reiterate the rule why? That one doesn't make sense!

People get confused by this all the time, so I'll spell it out. Generally speaking, when a player goes out of bounds, the clock stops until the ball is reset by the officials, and then the clock resumes running. It only stays stopped until the next snap in the last two minutes of the second quarter, or in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter. Hope that clears it up.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

The Packers have not returned a kickoff for a TD since Randall Cobb's season-opener TD against the Saints in 2011. There has never been a better time to break a dry spell than over the next three weeks.

Works for me. I doubt many kickoffs will be flying through the end zones on Sunday. The Cobb return you reference broke a Green Bay drought of 11 years without a kickoff-return TD. The weather conditions can increase the impact of special teams.

Brandon from Byron, IL

Does the NFL have a limit to how cold it has to get to cancel or delay a game?

Not really. The Ice Bowl didn't lead to any regulations, and the 1981 AFC Title game in Cincinnati was played at minus-9 with minus-59 wind chill, the latter number even colder than the Ice Bowl. Last year's Seahawks-Vikings playoff game in Minneapolis was played at minus-6/minus-25.

Bob from Hartland, WI

Any interesting stories where the internet or your computer acted up and you couldn't get out a story? As a reader, I can frustrated with technology on certain days.

In the '13 opener at San Francisco, my keyboard went absolutely haywire to the point it was dysfunctional, and I had to write my stories on the bus and plane with a co-worker's computer (not Vic's). We've also had instances on road trips where the Wi-Fi on the airplane doesn't work and we have to wait to land before posting our stories. But those troubles are nothing compared to when the old phone line transmissions wouldn't work from remote locations 20 years ago. I once dictated five stories from the state wrestling championships over the phone to my editor to beat a Saturday night deadline.

Matt from Minocqua, WI

Spoff, would love to hear a couple quick bits on your days covering prep wrestling. Great heritage of grappling in the Badger State.

No doubt, and I had no idea until I started working the beat. I never covered a high school sporting event with more intensity and emotion than the state finals. Nothing else came close. Elation and heartbreak of that magnitude are what sports writers live for, and I wrote about plenty of both. As a reporter, what I loved about the sport in general is it didn't matter whether a kid was from a big school or a small one. If he was good enough, he could beat anybody. Probably my favorite story out of many was the lone wrestler from a local, native American school I covered who had no one to practice against. A heavyweight, he worked out daily against his coach, who had at least 100 pounds on him. His senior year, as a solo rep for an entire tribe, he became an undefeated state champion. You never forget stories like that.

Eric from Reedsburg, WI

Any idea of which referee crew is officiating the game? I hope it is not Jeff Triplette's crew for the sake of my sanity.

I believe it's Ron Torbert's crew on Sunday in Chicago. Triplette getting the Bears for a second week in a row would have been highly unusual. He did Chicago-Detroit last week.

Tom from Minneapolis, MN

I found this interesting...three of the last four games of the season, each one of the team's first really cold game will be played against the Packers, while the Pack have been playing in the cold all December. The other teams have been in domes, South, or in decent weather. I wonder how that factors in.

We saw it factor against the Texans and Seahawks, and it could again next week vs. the Vikings. It's no advantage this week, though. The Bears played their best game of the season in the snow and cold two weeks ago.

Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

For at least a handful of snaps on Sunday, we should see Mike Daniels going one-on-one against Josh Sitton. Insiders, are you looking forward to that clash of the titans as much as I am?

Most definitely. I won't be able to see much of it from the bad press box view in Chicago, but I will be checking it out on the game film Monday.

Jon from Omaha, NE

We are going to huddle four different generations of Packer fans around the television this Sunday. I look forward to a gritty game.

Give the eldest first pick on where to sit.

Mike from Batavia, IL

Yesterday, Wes commented how he had never met Craig Sager and didn't have any stories. My daughters attend the high school he graduated from and wanted to share a couple of stories. When Craig was a freshman in high school he played on the basketball team with Dan Issel (NBA Hall of Famer) and Kenny Anderson (NFL quarterback). During that time the team won 58 consecutive conference games. They were dominant! Craig got his fashion sense started at his senior prom. They were supposed to wear black tuxedos, but Craig rebelled and wore a flamboyant, colorful tuxedo knowing there were no repercussions. It all stemmed from that night! Our community is proud of the man he was and the character he possessed.

I thought I was one lucky, 25-year-old reporter getting to watch Favre and Elway go head-to-head in a Super Bowl. I can't imagine what it must have felt like to be 22 years old and standing near home plate when Hank Aaron completed round trip No. 715.

Brian from Superior, WI

"The Show Must Go On," but seriously, playing a game with the extremely cold weather predicted for Sunday in Chicago not only greatly negatively affects the performance of the players but is dangerous from a health/safety standpoint. Why has the league not put policy in place to reschedule games when extreme weather conditions exist?

Because it's a tough game for tough guys.

Jack from Watertown, SD

What is your favorite "Vic" quote?

Do I have to say it again?

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