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Saints still likely to win their division

Packers midseason MVP candidates abound


Ryan from Chicago, IL

Vic, excluding Rodgers, who do you believe is the midseason Packers MVP?

I think Julius Peppers gets votes for the change he's helped create in the defense. Sam Shields has certainly played at an MVP level. Morgan Burnett deserves consideration. Corey Linsley is midseason rookie of the year. David Bakhtiari wins the most underrated player award. My midseason MVP is Jordy Nelson. He's been the constant. He's the guy to whom Aaron Rodgers has turned when the Packers have needed to make a play.

Jered from Baton Rouge, LA

Vic, are we currently witnessing the pinnacle years of Rodgers' career in the NFL?

He's in the prime of his career and I see it lasting for several more years.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Vic, there are no football gods. Just to prove it, I'm going to chortle away and say we're going to destroy the Saints just like we did the Panthers.

Was that thunder I just heard?

Jack from Corrales, NM

Vic, what's your prediction for Sunday night?

I don't do predictions. Here's why: If I pick the Packers to win, I'm a homer; if I pick the Packers to lose, I'm a traitor. I can't win, so why try? I'll tell you I think the Packers are heading into an ambush on Sunday night. I think all of the Gulf Coast will be focused on beating the Packers. I also think the Packers know as much and will be up to the challenge. I think it's going to be a fantastic game, as were the previous two Packers-Saints games I covered.

Pablo from Oak Creek, WI

Vic, I think we're going to get another taste of look out this Sunday. I like Mike McCarthy's style. Something tells me he's only given us a taste of his arsenal. Just a thought. Yours?

I think the Packers are playing at a look-out level. I think they might be playing the best overall football in the four years I've covered them, and I think they're playing the best football in the NFC. I also think they have a higher gear to hit. I hope they hit that gear in December.

Randy from Des Moines, IA

Does your job get more pleasant when the Packers are winning?

It gets more pleasant but it loses some excitement. There aren't many issues this week. That's what happens when a team is playing as well as the Packers are, and it makes my inbox a kinder, gentler place, but I like the edge and the edge is gone. It'll come back. You can always count on that.

Mike from Orange Park, FL

Are fans overlooking the Saints? Their record is 2-4, but they are 2-0 at home. Of their four road losses, three have been by a combined six points. I think the Packers can win this game, but it won't be easy.

Here's what I think we're overlooking about the Saints: They're still the favorite to win that division. Carolina holds a slim lead over the Saints right now, but based on what I saw last Sunday, that lead isn't going to hold up. I expect the Saints to win the NFC South, and they could do it with an 8-8 record. If they win their division and get hot in December, look out. That's what I like about the division system. I like the quirkiness. I like the drama and the unpredictability.

Alan from Albuquerque, NM

Vic, didn't Jim Kelly/Marv Levy run an up-tempo, no-huddle that had defensive players faking injuries to stop play and make substitutions?

The "K-Gun" might be the most prolific offense I've ever seen. When it was hitting on all cylinders, it was unstoppable. Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed; the Bills could run and pass with equal effectiveness. They moved down the field with ease. I covered games in which the "K-Gun" left the Steelers embarrassed. How about the playoff comeback against Houston, and the Bills did that with Frank Reich at quarterback? Those Bills teams might be the best to never win a Super Bowl.

Jason from Fairfax, VA

Vic, I don't think Green Bay's defense is getting enough credit. These stats need to be known: interceptions (second), combination tackles (sixth), total tackles (fourth), points per game (ninth), yards per offensive play (ninth), passing touchdowns (sixth), net yards gained per pass attempt (fourth), yards per play from scrimmage (eighth), interception yards (first), receiving yards per game (fourth), 20-plus yards passing (sixth), 40-plus yards passing (second).

I'm not going to attempt to fact-check all of those stats; I'll assume you're right or at least close. If that's the case, then you've just confirmed this defense is, in fact, playing at a top-10 level.

Adam from Wausau, WI

Could our offense be our best run defense?

I get it; good point. Against the Vikings and Panthers, the Packers offense made the opponent one-dimensional. Yes, you can play defense with your offense. I'll also tell you the Packers defense bought the offense time in Miami, and the Packers defense wasn't rewarded by the offense in Detroit.

Bill from Staten Island, NY

So, let's take a look at the Packers draft this year.

Ha Ha, Davante Adams, Richard Rodgers and Corey Linsley are major contributors. That's a four-rookie contribution and that ranks this draft near the top of the league, especially when you consider the Packers were picking near the bottom, again.

David from Whitefish, MT

Vic, these next three games represent probably the most difficult stretch of the season: in New Orleans for a must-win game for the Saints, then after the bye playing a difficult division game, and then hosting the Eagles. What are your expectations/hopes for the team during this stretch?

I have a realistic hope for the Packers to win them all, but I won't despair if they don't. By now, I think the people who read this column understand my mindset: Just get to December healthy and ready to roll. That's what wins when it counts. I'm not even big on homefield advantage in the playoffs anymore because I believe the Packers are a good road team and capable of winning anywhere. I think they've proven it. We have a long way to go, folks.

Seth from Des Moines, IA

Vic, I want to agree with you but I can't. You want the Packers to lean harder on the run game. As long as Aaron Rodgers is under center, this team does not need to lean any harder on the run. It isn't and shouldn't be their identity. We can control time of possession with pass completions, if TOP is your concern.

If you want to keep your quarterback healthy, run the ball. That's always the No. 1 concern. I don't want those big guys with the quick twitch teeing off on "The Man."

Curt from Locust Grove, GA

Do you enjoy reading the different fan questions and giving answers every day, or do you have days where you're like, I wish I could hand this off to Spofford today?

There are days when I could use a break, but I love fielding the fans' questions. The fans teach me; they inform me. Counting "Ask Vic Halftime" but not counting "Ask Vic Postgame Chat," I do 12 columns a week during the regular season. By my quick calculations, I answer about 2,100 questions in a regular season. That's a lot of questions. Think of how many I read and don't answer. You bet I love this forum. I don't think I could do it if I didn't love it.

Suzy-Jane from Lick Skillet, TN

Jermaine Gresham to the Packers for a conditional fourth-round pick. Discuss.

Forget about Gresham, let's talk about Lick Skillet. I looked it up. You might be the only person that lives there.

Al from Arvada, CO

Do you think it takes more energy to rush the passer or to block the rushers?

Rush the passer.

Eli from Boston, MA

Do bad teams hurt themselves further by drafting quarterbacks too early? Of the last 15 quarterbacks to start a Super Bowl, only seven were drafted in the first round.

Quarterback is an overdrafted position. The teams at the top of the draft are often there because they don't have a quarterback, so they're looking for a franchise quarterback and they often have to spend a high pick and overdraft one. That's just the way it is. High picks can be a trap, or a way out of the trap you're in.

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