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Scheme at the forefront of the hype for this game

Time to relax and enjoy Thanksgiving


Buster from Dothan, AL

Vic, if a 6-10 division winner got hot and won the Super Bowl, they would end up champions at 10-10. What would you think about that?

I'd think the best team in January won the Super Bowl. Isn't that what it's all about?

Tim from Carson City, CO

Vic, what do you think the x-factor is going to be? For the Packers, I'm thinking it could be homefield advantage at Lambeau.

I'm not thinking about an x-factor. I feel pretty good about this one.

Terry from Hershey, PA

Vic, what is your most memorable Thanksgiving Day game?

Nebraska-Oklahoma, 1971.

Peter from Cairo, Egypt

There are some articles saying Ed Hochuli will be officiating Sunday. What effect would this have on the individual matchups?

Are we possibly looking too deep? Would we be asking this question if this was just another game?

Bob from Melbourne, Australia

Questions such as the one about the lack of aggression against the Seahawks reveal the magnitude of the symbolism in people's eyes of avoiding Richard Sherman. I think you missed the story in this. I'm glad it's been rectified to an extent, but it will never disappear from discussion.

That's deep, man.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Vic, what's the history with the Lions and the Cowboys always hosting a Thanksgiving Day game?

It's tradition in Detroit, and the Cowboys saw an opportunity to advance their brand by playing a game in the late-afternoon slot. When I was a kid, the Detroit game was the only NFL game played on Thursday. Most teams don't want to host a game on Thanksgiving. Their season ticket holders don't like having to leave their families on Thanksgiving; complaints would be many. The Cowboys have always been brand conscious. They get it. They understand it's not just about winning games, it's about selling yourself to the casual fans. At that, the Cowboys are the best in the business.

John from Port Edwards, WI

Have you ever checked for wet carpets at your house over the holidays?

I don't know, Margo.

Chase from Morton, IL

If you had to pick only one stat as to what makes a quarterback an all-time great, what would it be? Rating, yards, rings?

I'm big on crunch time. I don't know where you find the kind of crunch-time stat I'd want, but I revere quarterbacks that play their best football when the games and the moments are the biggest.

Noah from Brisbane, Australia

Vic, who do you think will be more effective in the passing game, Nelson or Cobb?

If Darrelle Revis is assigned to one guy, I would expect the other guy to have a bigger day.

Andy from Kalamazoo, MI

Vic, this game strikes me as turning more on the schematic chess match than others. Would you agree?

Scheme has been at the forefront of the hype for this game, and I understand why: Mike McCarthy and Bill Belichick are as good as there are when it comes to analyzing and attacking their opponents. What we must remember is that players make schemes work. The same scheme without Revis will likely not work as well as the same scheme with Revis.

Alexa from Miami, FL

What do you think about the Packers run defense? It has been under tons of scrutiny lately.

I think it's greatly improved and I don't think it'll be as big of an issue on Sunday as the Packers' pass defense will be. I think victory in this game will hinge on stopping the pass.

Paul from Tampa, FL

Vic, why do the Packers struggle on offense against teams that play a two-high shell? This defense has been around for years. Why hasn't McCarthy found an effective way to attack it?

He has. You run the ball. Didn't you watch last week's game?

Steve from Middletown, PA

Nelson and Cobb are having great years, but I am concerned they represent over 60 percent of Packers receptions this year. Does this concern you?

It does not. I am concerned about little right now because I am completely satisfied the Packers are playing their best football of the season, and possibly the best football in the league. My inbox, however, is a place of great worry. It has many problems and they are great.

Ross from Hudson, WI

If the Patriots do as you say and load up to stop the run, and their corners stifle the outside, wouldn't that open up the middle of the field for our tight ends to have a big game?

Makes sense to me.

Daniel from Sugar Land, TX

Vic, I know you've said it before, but can you explain how to attack cover two, aside from running them out of it? Which routes can be successful against this defense?

If you have a strong-armed quarterback, the honey hole is a good place to attack cover two. The honey hole is that spot along the sideline behind the cornerback and outside the safety to that side of the field. Aaron Rodgers is one of the best honey-hole passers I've ever seen. His throws beat the safety to the sideline every time. Deep-seam throws are also effective if you can drag that safety over to the honey hole. A combination of the two can create a lot of confusion. The route tree is what creates openings; it's how one route impacts another route.

Wayne from Waupaca, WI

I'm sensing a lot of nervous energy in Packers fans this week. Are we really afraid of the big, bad Patriots? I believe the past few seasons have conditioned many of us to fear games against the good teams.

I think Packers fans are natural worriers. Again, I have a very good feeling about this game. My turkey is going to taste fine today.

Maximillian from Sydney, Australia

Vic, do you honestly believe the players and coaches are treating this game as any other? The fans and the media are going crazy for this matchup. I, for one, cannot wait. I find it hard to believe players and staff on both sides would not be more pumped up for this than other games.

I think they feel the hype, but this is just another game for the men who have to coach it and play it. The one in Minnesota was much more important.

Jacoby from La Crosse, WI

Vic, would it be safe to say this game is going to make a statement about one of these teams?

It will make a statement that will be trumpeted throughout America for the next seven days. Will that statement be prophetic? Not likely. I would now like to make a statement: Happy Thanksgiving to the best fans and the best readers a team and its columnist could ever want. Relax and enjoy the day, everybody.

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