Presented by

The head coach believes in his team

One or two red-zone stops could make the difference


Michael from Dover, PA

Didn't Mike McCarthy previously refer to Micah Hyde simply as a "football player" when he was asked about Hyde's position/role on the defense? Truer words were ne'er spoken.

His goal-line plays in Chicago and Detroit, plus his red-zone pick last week, speak volumes about his instincts as a player.

Debbie from Houston, TX

I have a charm or tie tack from 1929-1930 engraved with the name Richard O'Donnell. Do you know where I can find background on where and when they got these?

Wow, how cool. The Packers' all-time roster lists Dick O'Donnell as an end from Minnesota who played for Green Bay from 1924-30, so he was a member of the franchise's first two championship teams in 1929 and '30. Maybe our team historian, Cliff Christl, would know something about the jewelry. Don't hesitate to send him an emailfrom this page.

Brian from Green Bay, WI

Guys, aside from our "regular" stars, who do you believe will have a difference-making play? Micah Hyde was "the guy" last week. My prediction is Kenny Clark. It's time for a pick or scooped fumble for six.

I see what you did there, calling on B.J. Raji's replacement for the NFC title game.

Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

Much has been said, and rightfully so, about Coach McCarthy as an offensive thinker and strategist, but it seems to me less is typically said of his role as motivator and tone-setter for this team. As I watch him in interviews and press conferences, three words that come to my mind are tough, businesslike, and focused. Insiders, from your vantage, what words come to mind to describe the tone McCarthy sets for this team?

Prepared, confident, and genuine. He believes in his team.

Patrick from Boulder, CO

Hi guys. In Rodgers' postgame news conference, he spoke effusively but not specifically about something in Montgomery's play. Was he alluding to the no-look fumble recovery Montgomery made when Rodgers lost the snap?

Perhaps. There was also a nifty double-move Montgomery made on a linebacker over the middle in a scramble drill that gave Rodgers a target to convert on third down.

Matt from Bloomington, IN

In "Sound FX" Cole Beasley said the corner said "shoot it, shoot it" before Hyde's big interception. Did Gunter perhaps give Hyde this instruction? If this is true it reminds me of "Pickett, spill it" from Clay Matthews in the Super Bowl. Great calls, and great plays!

The sound bites from Beasley were my favorite pieces of audio in that segment.

Dan from Wichita, KS

It amazes me Packers fans are so shocked about Dallas having the opportunity to have a free kick at a field goal to end the half. This actually happened in a Packers game where McCarthy gave the Packers a chance at a field goal which was missed. It was the first time I realized how well McCarthy knows the rules of the game and he proves his knowledge time and time again. Can you guys help me out with what game that was in?

It was the 2008 finale vs. Detroit at Lambeau Field. The fair catch was made at the end of the first half with no time on the clock, and Crosby came out to try a 69-yard free kick, which would have shattered the record for the longest field goal in NFL history. The ball came up just a couple yards short of the crossbar. Had it not been Dec. 28 and 22 degrees, I think he makes it.

Al from Superior, WI

I saw a fair-catch FG by Paul Hornung. It was 52 yards (no tee). Can you tell me the year? I think it was against the Bears. Everybody in the stands had no idea what was going on.

No one in 2008 did, either. Sept. 13, 1964, in a 23-12 win over the Bears.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Mike, Clay Mathews astutely stated that the defensive veterans need to make the game-changing plays after they make them one-dimensional. Matt Ryan is the best at getting rid of the ball quickly. Do you see the internal pass rush and ability to knock the ball down being more important this week than an outside rush?

Ryan does get the ball out quickly, but he also takes his shots deep, and if you can win on the edge on a longer-developing play, who knows. You never know which type of pass they're running, though, which is one thing that makes them so hard to defend.

Ryan from Big Bend, WI

Will Green Bay be able to control the Atlanta run game without loading the box? I feel like if Green Bay can, it won't be a shootout because it will create too many opportunities for GB's secondary. To me this was the scariest part about Dallas.

That's the $64,000 schematic question. Stopping two backs who combined for 1,599 rushing yards in the regular season (32 yards shy of Elliott's total) will be very difficult without the extra commitment. If the Packers can do that, it changes the game dramatically, but that's a huge if.

Keith from Lincoln, IL

The letters from the kids to the Packers each week have been priceless. Six-year old Vincent nailed it this week. The form letter leaves a blank after: "I'll be cheering for you from my __." Vincent's answered summed up why we all love being Packer fans. He answered "heart." There's really no better place to cheer for this team, is there?

He'll want a La-Z-Boy and a beer soon enough, but yeah, young Vincent deserves a gold star for that one.

Joel from Green Bay, WI

I think it's safe to say Aaron Rodgers will miss playing in the Georgia Dome. This will be his fifth game there, and he's completed 75 percent of his passes, averaged 338 yards per game, had 10 TDs, zero INTs, and passer ratings ranging from 114.5 to 136.8, with an overall rating of 125.2. Not too shabby.

He always used to talk about how comfortable his indoor shoes are.

Lewk from Iowa City, IA

Can someone explain to me why the media believes the Packers are such underdogs?

DJ has a pretty good idea.

DJ from Bristol, WI

I'm only on Chapter 2 of the Packers injury report, so please, no spoilers.

No worries.

Jeanne from Holliston, MA

I enjoyed the Dallas locker room picture tour and, like one of your readers, I too noticed the "Finish the Fight" game program. But I also noticed something else in each locker – a yellow object placed in front of each duffel bag. What was it?

I'm not 100 percent sure, but I think those are cases for mouth guards.

Christian from Sugar Land, TX

Spofford. What's that? Polish?

Scotch Romanian.

Ken from New York, NY

While watching the Lego highlights of the Packers-Cowboys game, I noticed that the players routinely ran with the ball sticking out rather than tucked in tightly. Will McCarthy watch this film and work on ball security?

I was hoping to see an unbuckled chinstrap.

The Packers were inside the Don Hutson Center Thursday afternoon practicing for the NFC Championship Game against the Falcons. Photos by Evan Siegle,

Daniel from Rib Lake, WI

We have a few guys who are not practicing but will likely play on Sunday, Davante Adams for example. How do these players prepare for the game without actually practicing? What kind of disadvantage does it put the individual player in? Are they still as prepared mentally as far as knowing the game plan and their assignments?

They get mentally prepared, it's just that they can't actually practice the plays in the game plan that week, and they aren't on the field to react to the live checks and adjustments based on the defense. It's not the preferred way to go, but you do what you can.

Milton from Midland, MI

Insiders, I noticed how important the return game was for the Seahawks against the Falcons. I wonder if this is the game that the Packers' special teams can join the scoring sheet. What do you think?

No objection, your honor. The holding call on Hester's long punt return in the second quarter completely altered that game.

Corey from Las Vegas, NV

Do you think the play when Rodgers held onto the ball while being sacked and then called the timeout will be remembered like when he stopped that pick-six and tackled Urlacher in the title game?


David from Catoosa, OK

Insiders, who was the last opponent to beat the Packers in consecutive games? Favre with Minnesota? My point being, the Packers game plan as well as any team I've seen.

The past three years, the Packers have been knocked out of the playoffs by a team that beat them in the regular season (I'm not counting 2012 because of San Francisco's QB change). Those last three rematches in the playoffs (SF, SEA, AZ) have been decidedly different games compared to the originals. I think that speaks to your point.

Isiah from Tigard, OR

Matt Ryan's numbers have been off the charts but Rodgers gets more attention. I've been wondering why and I conclude it's because Rodgers makes those one or two plays a game that nobody else even dares to dream of making. We predict that a turnover, or containing the run, or slowing down Julio will win the game but we all know what it really comes down to: will Rodgers make that one play to win the game?

Back in Week 8 in Atlanta, Rodgers had 31 seconds, two timeouts, down by one. Last week, he had 35 seconds, two timeouts, tie game. A lot of it is him, but it's not all him, and those two scenarios present another difference between the Packers then and now.

Don from Tomahawk, WI

I have been sending in questions for some time now. I had pictured a couple of guys sitting in a cubicle, one looking over the shoulder of the other. The guy at the computer stating, "Hey! Look at this question," both of them laughing hysterically. I aim for those type of questions and due to lack of ability, they elude me. I will keep trying. Thank you for doing your part.

You're welcome. You've got us pegged pretty good, except I don't let Wes into my cubicle. Yesterday's "Hey!" moment came from Jay in El Paso, following up on a comment in Rodgers' Wednesday press conference. Thanks for the laugh, Jay.

Steve from Minocqua, WI

I realize it's tough for kickers to make the Pro Football HOF, but would you say Mason Crosby is building such a resume, given his consecutive FGs made in the playoffs and longest game-winning FG records?

He's not even close now, but that's not meant as a slight to Crosby. That's just reality. Assuming Adam Vinatieri gets in five years after he retires, which I believe he will, all current-era kickers will be compared to him in that discussion.

Chase from Sunnyvale, CA

Listening to the radio yesterday and they were questioning whether Cook was really any good without Rodgers. What kind of thinking is that? He played with subpar QBs in the past. Wouldn't the case be that Rodgers has finally exposed the world to what Cook is capable of?

As my seventh-grade daughter would say, duh.

Fearn from Rolling Meadows, IL

One question that has been posed, leading up to championship weekend, suggests the four QBs playing are the greatest collection of four, ever.

It's close, but after some quick research, I think the honor – for now – has to go to the 1992 season (Jan. 1993 playoffs). Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Troy Aikman, Steve Young are four HOFers. We'll see.

Mark from Canton, GA

If there is one player on the Packers that could be the true X-factor in this game and make a play or more that can really tip things in the Pack's favor (not including A-Rod of course) who do you think it would be? My vote is Julius Peppers. I think he can smell that ring now.

Peppers was my pick last week. I've been a week early before.

Mike from Niagara Falls, Canada

I think Rodgers' breakout moment came a long time before the Pittsburgh game in '09. To me, it happened in a game in Dallas in '07. We were getting smoked in that game, and Brett was pulled due to injury. Rodgers came in and nearly brought the Packers back from a 27-3 deficit. I remember telling my dad after the game: "When Brett retires, we'll be fine." Do you remember that game, Spoff? If so, what did you take from Aaron's performance that night?

I remember it, and I recall thinking the Packers would be in good shape at QB for the foreseeable future, but that was about it. No way anyone saw what Rodgers would become in those 26 passes, though. I also recall riding an elevator that night with Drew Rosenhaus. He never stopped talking on his phone.

Mike from Northville, MI

Excellent red zone stat. If the Packers are at 74 percent during their winning streak, then what is Atlanta's stat during their streak?

The Falcons have scored TDs on 70 percent of their red-zone possessions (16-of-23) during their five-game winning streak. One or two red-zone stops by either defense could be the difference in the game.

Paul from Lansing, IL

OK, now that Seattle is out of the playoffs I want to know is it me or is Pete Carroll constantly shown on the sideline even when the situation doesn't call for it?

Behold the power of chewing gum.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

I bet the Inbox is filled with questions/demands to convert No. 88 back to a wide receiver this week. After months of practicing as a RB, is there any realistic way for Montgomery to be effective as a WR?

Sure. He motions out of the backfield plenty as it is. It's definitely an option if need be.

Russ from Henrico, VA

Not only have I gotten my money's worth this season, but it has been fun playing with house money for the last month or so. Deal the cards.

Gambling is illegal at Bushwood.

Shane from Brodhead, WI

Wasn't Clay out for the first meeting with the Falcons? Wes said he faced off with Jake, but I am pretty sure that he didn't because he was hurt then.

You are correct. Clay was a somewhat surprise game-day inactive for the Packers that afternoon.

Peter from Racine, WI

I think since the Falcons gave us our first playoff loss at Lambeau, it's only fitting we give them a loss at their last game in the Georgia Dome. Sound fair?

Works for me.

Mike from Saint George, UT

Packers win if …?

C'mon now, I can't spoil Final Thoughts.

Andrew from Concord, NC

You guys keep getting better and better with your responses, like you are two tackles learning to read each other. After the Packers win this Super Bowl, how many wins will they need next year to have the longest winning streak in NFL history? If you think that other guy's 8-year-old brother can answer this, I'd be okay with you forwarding it to him.

Just beat the Falcons.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content