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The stats on defense just don't make any sense

Which game is a must win? Maybe it starts this week


Tim from Normal, IL

Vic, a few weeks ago I asked you how long the Packers could survive without their stars until the next man up regressed to the mean. You didn't respond. Now, after a couple of bad losses, you are saying we have to have Matthews back on defense to be a good defense. Like Don Meredith once said to Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football after Howard tried to sound smart, thanks for reading my notes, Vic.

You got me.

Paul from New York, NY

Vic, first off, I'm a fan. I read your column every day, however, I think it's silly when people refer to you as a journalist, reporter or sportswriter. You provide content for a company website. You work in marketing. You are a marketing copywriter, and there's nothing wrong with that. Why don't you ever correct people when they call you a reporter?

Now that you say it's OK to be a marketing copywriter, I'll do it. I was just waiting for you to say it's OK.

Evan from Eau Claire, WI

"Win" was the second to last word. Genius, Vic. I laughed out loud.

I'm glad you laughed. It's better than being angry.

Ross from Holland, MI

Why has the Packers defense not been able to create turnovers?

That's probably the question that defines all questions about the defense. The failure to produce turnovers has worsened everything about the defense's statistical performance. When you force turnovers, you get off the field, and that means you stop giving up yardage and points that lower your ranking. I don't get it. They spent spring and summer emphasizing the need to strip the ball and force fumbles. Usually, an emphasis like that produces results, but it hasn't. Only nine teams in the league have forced fewer fumbles than the Packers have. Interceptions are usually the product of a strong pass rush that forces quarterbacks to hurry their throws and force them into coverage, but only three teams have more sacks than the Packers. Apparently, the coverage isn't tight enough to produce interceptions, but it's been tight enough to allow the rush to get home 31 times. I'm having difficulty making sense out of the stats. Everyone is looking for answers on defense, and the best answer I can give is that the Packers have been playing without their defensive star since the fourth game of the season.

Richard from Madison, CT

Vic, in 2010 the Packers got to the point of win or stay home. Is Thanksgiving Day that game, or is it sooner?

I'm approaching this week's game with the attitude that this is a must-win game. I don't know that it's true right now, but it could turn out to be that way. I see a finishing schedule full of big games, each of which has the potential to define the season. If you like that kind of drama, and I do, then the next seven weeks could be something special. I hope they are and I expect they will be.

Walt from Indiana, PA

I'm still waiting for some comment on the trainers and guys who work with players on physical fitness and building strength. I think if they did a better job there would be fewer injuries. What do you think? Come on, man.

How do you strengthen disks?

Aaron from Evansville, IN

There's been a lot of talk about how the Chiefs have surprised everyone this year, but has anyone stopped to consider their opponents have a combined record of 30-54?

The Chiefs haven't surprised me. A good marketing copywriter can see that coming.

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