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This is going to be an exciting week

Sunday's game with the Lions will be for all the marbles


Erik from Ulstrup, Denmark

Is it an advantage for the Packers that they have two days more for preparation than the Lions? How can they use that?

I always appreciated an extra day or two to prepare for a test. The Packers have two days to rest and an added day of preparation for the Lions. The Saturday game gave Green Bay a chance to get back on a more normal schedule, so you would think that provides some type of advantage going into Sunday night. It probably goes both ways, though. I'm sure the Lions are motivated to put the Dallas loss behind them, too. This game will be for all the marbles. It's going to be exciting.

Daniel from Atlanta, GA

I didn't watch the game last night, but based on the highlights it seems to me like Matthew Stafford isn't too bothered by that finger. What do you think?

I don't know how it affected Stafford's accuracy, but it seemed like he could still sling the ball pretty well. The past three weeks have been a challenge for Stafford, though. He's completing 71-of-120 passes (59.2 percent) with one touchdown and five turnovers during that stretch. I don't know the extent of the ligament damage, but it seems like it's something Stafford is going to have to deal with.

Ed from Henryville, IN

Merry Christmas, Insiders. I have a question about the playoffs, of course. If I have it figured right, if the Redskins and Bucs lose, the Packers and the Lions are in the playoffs regardless of what happens in our game. Is that the short of it or is there more to it?

Actually it's even shorter than that. The only way the Bucs stay alive is if the Redskins and Giants tie. If the Redskins lose, the Packers and Lions are both in.

Dustin from Crandon, WI

So I am curious. Say if by some crazy scenario the game this week ended in a tie. Who would take the NFC North? And would the Packers still clinch a playoff spot?

The Packers would win the NFC North with a win or tie over the Lions based upon the tiebreaker (Green Bay's 34-27 win over Detroit in Week 3). Based on the scenarios the NFL sent out this week, the Lions would still get the wild card if the teams tied.

Gary from Madison, WI

If the Pack wins and the Falcons lose to the Saints everything kind of matches up, so why do the Falcons get the number No. 2 seed and the bye?

The Falcons hold the tiebreaker over the Packers based on their 33-32 win over Green Bay on Oct. 30.

Sarah from Cambridge, MA

If the Packers win but the Lions still make the wild card, will they have to play each other again next week?

The Packers would host the Lions if Green Bay wins and Seattle loses. Detroit would host Green Bay if Detroit and Atlanta win and Seattle loses. Washington also would have to lose in either scenario.

Eddie from New York, NY

I'm trying to figure out all the possible scenarios in which the Packers play the Giants, who are locked into the fifth seed. I would love for the Packers to destroy them big-time.

The Packers would host the Giants as the No. 4/5 matchup with a Green Bay win and Seattle win.

Freddie from West Valley City, UT

If the Cowboys have a weakness, I don't see it. What did the Giants do that no one else can?

I didn't watch the first game, but they had a brilliant game plan for handling Dak Prescott in the second meeting earlier this month. He's only been held under a 99 passer rating three times this year with two of those meetings being against the Giants. Prescott has only completed 42-of-82 passes (51.2 percent) for 392 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions for a 58.6 passer rating.

Bob from Saint Charles, IL

It's so confusing, what to root for. Maybe it would be better if the Lions won so that they won't need to win Sunday night to make the playoffs. Or maybe their loss Monday night is a good sign. Just win, right?

The Cowboys didn't need to win on Monday night and look how they played, though. Plus, the Lions would still be playing for a first-round bye had they won. I asked Spoff the same question on Packers Unscripted this week. My gut says you should have been rooting for the Cowboys because a Dallas win doesn't affect Green Bay whereas Detroit claimed a playoff spot with a win. Plus, it left the door open for the Packers to win the division with a tie. As they say in Wisconsin, it probably was a horse apiece.

Caleb from Eau Claire, WI

Vic mentioned the quick, possession passing game. It seems like we're breaking/avoiding more tackles after those quick throws the last several weeks. Would the YAC stats back that up?

I don't have all the YAC stats at my disposal, but I see a lot of what you're seeing. I can think of several times where Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams made the first would-be tackler miss. That's what ultimately makes those short passes work.

Tim from Sioux Lookout, Ontario, Canada

I predicted Nick Perry would be an impact player this year. Did I nail it?

His 10 sacks would say so. His production this year goes well beyond just the numbers, though. The potential always has been there for Perry. I remember thinking he had a breakout performance against Baltimore in 2013 after Clay Matthews broke his thumb. Unfortunately, Perry injured his foot in that game and dealt with it the remainder of the year. He's always been a solid edge-setter against the run, but his development as a pass-rusher is what's impressed me the most. His natural strength should help him continue to be effective despite that club going forward.

Mike from Warner Robins, GA

Your thoughts on Joe Callahan? I was very happy to see the Packers pick him back up. I think he is going to be something special.

It was good to see Callahan land back in Green Bay after all the chips fell. The Packers discovered him at Wesley College and this coaching staff developed him into an undrafted rookie worthy of making the initial 53-man roster. He improved so much throughout the summer that it only made sense for the Packers to hold onto him. If it wasn't for all the midseason injuries, he probably never would have left Green Bay to begin with. He and Hundley are two good prospects for Mike McCarthy to work with.

Ken from Mount Horeb, WI

Packers are on a five-game winning streak. The rest of the division has a two- (Lions, Vikings) or three- (Bears) game losing streak. How important is it to be hot in December?

I think recent history would show it's good to be hot during the final quarter of the regular season. That's the route the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers took during their runs to the Super Bowl. At the same time, the Baltimore Ravens lost four of their last five regular-season games in 2012 before winning the Super Bowl.

Craig from Buffalo, NY

I like deferring the coin toss. Forcing a quick punt is demoralizing and I can't think of a faster way back into a game or to take the opponent out of a game than a score at the end of the half and the start of the third quarter.

Well, that's the approach I always took in Madden. In my opinion, it's not only about how you start the game, but giving yourself a chance to double-up at the end of the first half and beginning of second. I'd be interested to see the winning percentage of teams that succeed at executing that.

Braden from Brookfield, WI

What does Jordy Nelson in the slot mean for Cobb?

I wouldn't read anything into it. The Packers have been mixing up their receivers this season. Nelson, Adams, Cobb, Ty Montgomery and Cook have all played from the slot at times. If Cobb is cleared to play this weekend, there will be a spot for him in the offense.

Dave from East Burke, VT

Who covers Jordy?

It probably depends on whether Darius Slay can play.

Conrad from Oklahoma City, OK

I saw two trick plays yesterday where the Chiefs' Dontari Poe and the Cowboys' Dez Bryant threw touchdown passes. I remember seeing a touchdown pass thrown towards Jared Allen in one of his last games as a Viking. What is your favorite play like this you have seen?

The Tom Crabtree touchdown pass off a fake field goal on fourth-and-26 was one of my favorite moments in Green Bay. The play was so well-executed. When it comes to the rest of the NFL, I always enjoyed the Doug Flutie drop-kick field goal during his final season in 2005.

Richard from Madison, WI

Mike mentioned that Tony Canadeo (retired No. 3) rushed for over 1,000 yards in 1949, only the third player in NFL history to do so. To help the modern generation put that in perspective, how many games did they play then?

The Packers played 12 games that year, with Canadeo carrying the ball 208 times for 1,052 yards on a 2-10 team. That 1949 season also happened to be Curly Lambeau's 31st and final year as head coach. It was the first time a Packers running back had at least 200 carries in a season with official statistics starting in 1940. How bizarre was it for Canadeo to get that many attempts? It would be another 11 years until another Packers running back had at least 200 carries (Jim Taylor in 1960). If you prorated Canadeo's 1949 season based on a 16-game schedule, he would've gained 1,402 rushing yards on 277 carries.

Terry from Layton, UT

I am curious to why we haven't played Christine Michael and Ty Montgomery at the same time? Wouldn't that be a defensive nightmare?

I think they should come up with a package with Michael, Montgomery, Mike Daniels, Ahman Green and the ghost of Johnny Blood all lined up in the backfield. Oh, and Jeff Janis.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, I believe I have the talent to run the table and get published every day, last week's shutout notwithstanding. As a road venue, how does Detroit's fan clamor compare to Seattle or Minnesota?

Seattle is in a league of its own based on how CenturyLink is build. It's too early to make a judgment call on U.S. Bank Stadium. The crowd obviously was going to be into it with the Week 2 game being the grand-opening. As for Ford Field, it's a lively environment when the Lions are winning. I recall the 2013 and 2014 games against Green Bay being loud. I'm sure the crowd will be into it with everything that's on the line Sunday night.

Nick from Chicago, IL

Man what a game! Northern end zone was filled with sunshine and touchdowns. I actually got sun burn at the game. Out of all five TDs, I must say the first one to Davante Adams ending with a spin move to the pylon was fantastic. Which one was your favorite and why?

I'm a sucker for a swift touchdown pass to a tight end in the seam. That was a nice strike between Rodgers and Richard Rodgers. It also seems to be the score nobody is talking about coming out of Saturday's game.

Nate from Oak Creek, WI

I know the Vikings center fumbled the snap that the Packers recovered, but in the event of a mishandled snap between the quarterback and center, who is credited with the fumble?

In this case, Nick Easton was credited with the fumble because it never reached Sam Bradford's hands. If Bradford would've touched the ball, then I'm guessing it would've been put on the quarterback on the stat sheet.

Garrett from Bowling Green, KY

Turnover ratio, what does the plus/minus mean? We're plus-12, what's that mean? Thanks

Turnover ratio is just a measurement of how many times you're taking the ball away compared to giving it away. The Packers are plus-12 over their last three games because they've earned 12 takeaways and haven't relinquished any turnovers.

Barry from Aberdeen, SD

It pains me to admit this but I am one of the fans several weeks ago saying "grab the torch and pitchfork!" Since then, yup, MM knew exactly what he was doing. I have extinguished the torch and I'm using the pitchfork to roast marshmallows for s'mores. I hope to not choke on one of those humble little treats. There's a reason I do what I do for a living and the Packers staff does what they do for a living. They know football a lot better than me.

I appreciate you admitting that, Barry. You're better than most who will just wait for another opportunity to pounce.

Ben from Wauwatosa, WI

Mike, I loved the answer to the last question of the column. I actually laughed out loud. That is absolutely the complement to Vic's "OK" answer. Short and sweet. Wes, now it's your turn. You feelin' the pressure?


Andy from Chino, CA

What's the game plan against the Lions?

I'll ask Mike today and get back to you.

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