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The Bears are playing hard for 60 minutes

Could Week 17 at Detroit decide more than the division title?


Samuel from Byron, IL

Do you think we can beat the Cowboys?

I don't see them on the schedule. I only see three NFC North teams.

Chris from Port Washington, WI

Don't you think it is amazing how much smarter our coaches have become with their play-calling since our cornerbacks are mostly back from injury?

Healthy players, better plays.

Nikola from Maribor, Slovenia

Seattle had never lost a game by double digits in the Wilson era, until last Sunday. Can we feel good about ourselves?

There was another one, actually. Week 2 of 2015, 27-17, also at Lambeau Field. But more to the point, the Seahawks hadn't lost a game with Wilson by more than 10. That's absolutely remarkable.

Dave from Saint Peters, MO

If you told me you didn't smile inside when you saw Adams' block on Sherman, taking him to the ground, after witnessing all those cheap shots by Sherman, I would not believe you.

I agree with Vic. I don't think this is over.

Chris from Bloomington, MN

Have I missed it, or is Spoff not doing a "Path to the Playoffs" series this year?

I'm going to start it this weekend. I didn't think it was appropriate until the Packers got back above .500. I also can tell by all the Inbox questions that it's time.

Joe from East Brunswick, NJ

Why is nobody focusing on making the wild card? Why are we only focusing on winning the division? We have a possible chance of also making the last wild-card spot as an alternative to winning the division.

That's true, but the Packers need more help that way, so it's simpler to focus on the division. Best I can tell, for a wild-card spot, the Packers as of now would have to win out and have two of the following three things happen – 1. The Giants lose twice; 2. The Redskins lose once; 3. The Falcons lose twice or the Bucs lose once (or maybe twice, see below).

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

Who would have the tiebreaker between Tampa Bay and Green Bay, if the Bucs and 'Skins lost one and the Pack won out?

Lots of folks asking this, so I did my best to decipher it quickly. If the Packers and Bucs are both 10-6 and tied for the last wild-card spot, their conference records would be identical (8-4), so the next tiebreaker would be common games (minimum of four). The common games would be Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, and Dallas. The Packers would be 3-2 against those teams, assuming the sweep of Chicago for the purposes of this scenario. If Tampa Bay's sixth loss is to Dallas, the Bucs would also be 3-2, but if they beat the Cowboys and lose to someone else, they'd get that tiebreaker at 4-1. If both are 3-2, the next tiebreaker would be strength of victory in all games (which is how the Packers got the No. 6 seed in 2010, incidentally). Some readers have submitted the Packers are well ahead in strength of victory, which could mean a Tampa Bay loss to Dallas combined with Green Bay winning out puts the Packers in for sure, but I haven't had time to confirm that. I've got a deadline here.

Phil from Tampa, FL

I realized something when looking at the current NFC standings. Just as the Packers need the Lions to lose two of their remaining three games, one of which being against the Packers, the Lions are looking up at the Cowboys at the exact same scenario for the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. If the Lions win out and the Cowboys lose one of their other two games, the Lions would be the No. 1 seed. I love December football! These are going to be some great games to watch.

Every team in the hunt has its own December story to follow.

Steve from Oak Lawn, IL

Love the Janis end-around for the second straight week. I imagine we'll see a play-action wrinkle in the next couple of weeks, leading to a shot play.

To Janis, no doubt.

Michael from Rochester, NY

I might be a little biased, but when commentators talk MVP they don't mention Aaron Rodgers. If you look at his stats, he's first in touchdowns, sixth in QBR, and seventh in yardage. Why isn't he in the conversation?

I think the Seattle game thrust him into it, and yet another game-winning fourth-quarter drive is giving deserved run to Matt Stafford as well. Maybe Week 17 at Ford Field will be for the division title and the MVP.

Chad from Janesville, WI

Insiders, in my opinion, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is having a great season but not from a stats standpoint. His energy and leadership during the games is off the charts. Having him mic'd up was a treat for all fans. How important is it to have players like that on a team and how have you seen him grow in his early career?

I think Clinton-Dix is the perfect complement to Burnett at safety. Clinton-Dix is this team's best centerfielder, while Burnett shines closer to the line of scrimmage. They're both leaders, but in different ways. It's fun to watch.

Jordan from Ames, IA

Am I crazy for suggesting we sit Rodgers this week?

Yes, and you're not alone. Did you not see the Bears come within a questionable holding call (or two) and/or a dropped fourth-down pass from beating the Lions in Detroit, or at least getting to overtime? They also lost six-point games to the Giants and Titans. John Fox has that team playing hard for 60 minutes. Sunday is no gimme.

KJ from Minneapolis, MN

Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned December football. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm football emergency here.

And some people actually think Rodgers should take the week off.

Mike from Cedar Rapids, IA

Christian Ringo with the corner blitz, huh?

Of the umpteen comments submitted about that play, this was the best.

Roger from Indianapolis, IN

When do you think a major network might have a woman as the main announcer for a game instead of being on the sidelines?

I think it's only a matter of time. Women have been doing play-by-play and analysis from the booth in college games for several years now.

Matt from Verona, WI

Did anyone else see Crosby's open-field tackle? Get that guy a linebacker jersey!

Good fundamentals can accomplish a lot.

Dru from Lemke, UT

How was the crowd? Did Packer fans show up or did they sell their tickets to Seahawks fans? Was Lambeau loud?

It's always hard to tell for sure from the enclosed press box, but I felt the early long TD to Adams really energized the crowd, and it maintained that level of energy throughout. The fans brought it.

Joe from Pittsburgh, PA

Kudos to that offensive line for the great job in keeping a hobbled Rodgers upright. I was glad to see McCarthy pull Aaron late rather than having one of the Seattle goons take a cheap shot at him in garbage time and probably end our season. This team has its swagger back, and just at the right time.

It wasn't the main factor, not by a longshot, but I wondered at the time if the chippiness of the game played into the decision, even just a little bit.

Braedon from Endicott, NY

Are we healthy enough to keep this rolling?

As long as Rodgers is still able to take the snaps, I say yes.

Tom from Collegeville, MN

With Brady-Manning out of the picture, is Packers-Seahawks the best non-division rivalry in the NFL?

I think so.

Brad from Mountain, WI

Rodgers movie quote game is also "strong, to quite strong."

I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit I missed that. Haven't seen "Meet the Parents," but apparently I should.

Jared from Philadelphia, PA

Datone Jones. Although not big on the stat sheet, that dude has a motor. Quick off the line, forced Wilson to move up in the pocket numerous times. If Perry can't go, it's good to see that Datone is willing to step up. What do you think about his performance?

I actually thought the key was he wasn't too quick off the line. He was very disciplined in how he read Wilson in both the run and pass game at the snap, and he reacted accordingly. I hate to see the undisciplined penalty, but everything else about his game was effectively under control, which is how you have to play a QB like that.

Dale from Kettering, Ohio

They're a little off, we're a little on, and there's a four-TD difference. Happens in a hurry in the NFL, doesn't it?

I was very surprised given the wet weather they get in Seattle and the frigid playoff game the Seahawks played last year in Minneapolis that the conditions were such a factor. Wilson's two early misses to open receivers, then good passes bouncing off hands and chests, were weather-related, in my opinion. If Seattle has a bad-weather game in the playoffs, they'll be better for it.

Chad from Evanston, IL

Vic said teams with good coaches "always have a higher gear to hit." How, practically speaking, does a coach make this happen?

By demanding more. Coaches teach and demand, to steal a favorite phrase of McCarthy's. Thirteen games in, there's not as much left to teach, but plenty more to demand.

TJ from Rock Hill, SC

"Aaron, what happened on that play?" "I threw a touchdown pass, and then my calf started hurting." I love it.

I don't know how a quarterback can put up a 150-plus passer rating when he can't push off his plant leg.

Stevie from Shakopee, MN

Randall's pick at the end of the first half took my breath away and left my heart racing. I once worked in a haunted house. I learned if you want to experience the thrill you must abandon skepticism and keep your eyes open.

I went through a haunted house in Spain once. This nasty guy jumped out from behind a wall and chased us out the back door with a running chainsaw. I learned the brain abandons skepticism when suddenly frightened to a considerable degree.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

Some days the ball just bounces your way.

You'd love to trade one of Sunday's bounces for the one off Julio Jones in the red zone seven games ago, but it doesn't work that way.

Justin from Titonka, IA

Is this the best pass protection Rodgers has ever had in his career?

Statistically, it'll be close. He's been sacked 26 times this year, and he was sacked 28 times in 2014. Considering only one game was missed by a starter up front in all of '14, and the line has dealt with several more moving parts this season, what the '16 group has done to this point might rate better.

Mark from Coarsegold, CA

Hey Vic and the Insiders (that almost sounds like a rock group!), was wondering if anyone noticed what happened on the A-Rod to Jordy TD pass in the third quarter. Jordy was at the back corner of the end zone when Aaron moved outside the pocket, and when they made eye contact, Jordy pointed to the front of the end zone, and Aaron released the ball as Jordy made his move back towards Aaron, and touchdown. Great communication by two great players.

I didn't see it at the time. Must have missed the TV replay. But Rodgers mentioned it after the game. The chemistry between those two might be reaching yet another level.

Vishnu from San Luis Obispo, CA

Man, those turnovers really did come in a big bunch.

I was a week early. In my "One Last Look" column before the Houston game, I called for the big bunch to come.

Joe from Appleton, WI

With their playoff lives hanging in the balance, the Packers played their second-to-last home game against a team they had lost to in an NFC title game just a few short years prior. Sparked by a long TD reception by an emerging third-year wideout on the team's opening possession and a defense that would force six turnovers on the day, the Packers emerged with a 28-point victory. No, I was not describing Sunday's win over Seattle. This was how the Packers defeated the Giants in 2010. Here's to hoping more of that season is repeated this year!

Cue the Twilight Zone music.

Dennis from Troon, Scotland

What a win. Can the naysayers finally concede that the coaches actually know what they're doing? During the losses, MM was preaching patience and belief both in his players and the fundamentals they practice. I can't make up my mind as to what I enjoy more: the silencing of those hotheads, the shell-shocked press conferences of the Seahawks, or the fact that every news outlet is now calling the Packers "the team no one wants to face." Your choice, Mike?

Beat the Bears.

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