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Week 16 was practice for game that counts

Just win one game works for me


Rob from Lafayette, IN

Vic, in watching the offense yesterday, I felt like I was reunited with a long lost friend. Was it the will of a banged up offensive line that made the difference?

I don't know and I feel absolutely no compulsion to understand or explain why the Packers played better on offense yesterday than they had in previous weeks. Maybe it's the one-and-done mentality to which Aaron Rodgers referred, or maybe it's the fact the Packers were playing against a No. 28 defense that was depleted in its secondary and lacked an impact-type blindside pass rusher. I could say this Saturday's playoff game will tell us a lot about the Packers, but I don't want to be told a lot about the Packers. I no longer seek answers about this team. We're beyond analysis. It's meaningless now. It's the playoffs. Just win one game.

Eric from Stramproy, The Netherlands

Vic, you expected Aaron Rodgers to step up; he told us he would, and he did, and so did the entire team. What needs to be focused on in light of the upcoming Cardinals game?

In my opinion, the Packers need to focus on the Cardinals' speed. This Saturday's game will be played at a faster speed. The Cardinals are the fastest team – especially on defense – I've seen this season.

Brian from Champaign, IL

Does the fact every wild-card road team won this weekend force the NFL to reconsider its seeding process?

No, nor does it force us to create an issue from something that happened for the first time ever. A fumble at kill-the-clock time and a missed chip-shot field goal attempt were the deciding factors in two of those games. Fate is always the No. 1 seed. You can't beat it. All you can do is accept it.

Matt from Clarkston, MI

Was last night's game the turning point? Did Washington awaken the Packers' offensive giant, or just a good game against a lesser opponent?

How about something in between those two extremes? I didn't see an offensive giant awakening. I saw an offense blend run and pass to play with enough efficiency to beat an opponent that appeared to be bent on denying big plays to an offense that has had difficulty making them. Let's keep this game in perspective. The Packers achieved efficiency on offense in Washington. They'll have to achieve a higher degree of efficiency in Arizona to beat the No. 5 defense and the No. 1 offense in the league.

Ted from Pittsford, NY

Vic, the moaning and groaning Packers fans you've seen lately, especially in last night's "Ask Vic Halftime," are the minority. In my opinion, most Packers fans stick by our team with unquestioning faith.

I completely agree.

Bob from Baraboo, WI

Vic, I knew it after the Packers scored on two straight drives. When did you know it?

I knew it when the Packers scored to take a 24-18 lead in the third quarter. Jay Gruden is a top scheme coach, and his schemes for the start of the game and for the start of the second half complemented each other beautifully, but scheme wears out and a team has to rely on winning its one-on-ones, and the Packers won their one-on-ones.

Tony from Hamilton, Ontario

It all makes sense now. With a star like Rodgers, you pass first to set up the run, keeping everything in rhythm. That, in my opinion, was the problem all season. Your thoughts?

I think that's a ridiculous oversimplification.

Corey from Las Vegas, NV

Vic, I just have one question for you and all of my fellow cheeseheads: You like that?

Chortling? No, I don't like that. Here's what I like: the Packers are stepping up to the next level. The games get bigger. The stakes get higher. Tension intensifies because our investment deepens. I love it all. I'm happy today. I feel no need to chide another team. I'm just going to enjoy the feeling that happiness will continue for at least another week.

Jon from Fresno, CA

Vic, long time reader, first time writer. Love the column! You have helped a lot of fans obtain balance in an emotional sport. Is it time to believe this team can go all the way?

I feel no need to heighten my expectations. Just win one game.

Chris from Los Angeles, CA

Vic, as soon as the Packers won at the Redskins, the image of Rodgers' press conference at Arizona came to mind. He really wanted to go back to Arizona for a rematch; now he'll have a chance to play them again and this time it seems the team is more confident. Do you think the Packers are going to play harder because of this?

Not harder, better. I think the Packers will benefit greatly from having played against the Cardinals a few weeks ago. It allowed them to experience the Cardinals' speed. Will the Cardinals play the Packers the same way, which is to say man-to-man? I suspect they will. There's your preparation. The Week-16 game, in effect, was practice for the game that counts.

Nick from Seattle, WA

Vic, what stood out for you in yesterday's victory?

Davante Adams' catch along the sideline, two plays before his touchdown reception, is the play that sticks out for me from yesterday's game. That's the Jordy Nelson play that's been missing all season. Yesterday, Adams became the boundary receiver the Packers have so desperately needed to emerge.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

What are your thoughts on the Steelers-Bengals game?

The TV ratings for that game, as I expected, were big. They were 11 percent higher than they were for the same game a year ago. Why were they so big? Because the game promised violence, and it delivered on that promise. Now, the league will likely suspend and fine players, and possibly even one coach, for having delivered a product the fans want but the league must forbid. Football is facing a daunting challenge. The thing that has made it popular is the thing that threatens to kill it. As for the game itself? It was 1970s football, except there wouldn't have been any penalties back then.

Sean from Helena, MT

So you came to Green Bay to cover big games? Well, we've all been blessed with such a run of success. Thanks for sharing this with all of us. Let's hope there are a few more this season.

This is what I needed. I needed one more run of it.

Tristan from Winston Salem, NC

What words would Coach Vic have to Blair Walsh going into the offseason?

Put this behind you and develop an attitude that will prevent this from ever happening again.

Courtney from Butte, MT


Sybil is Marjorie Dorsett today. I expect that to change by tomorrow.

Gerrit from Scottsdale, AZ

What does the schedule look like this week for the Packers, in terms of preparation and travel? How does the Saturday night time slot change preparation? Will there be another Packers Everywhere pep rally in Arizona?

It's a short week for the Packers, and they'll play on the road against a Cardinals team on a week of rest. The Packers will shift gears quickly. When will they leave? It's a night game, and you don't want too much hotel time. Yes, I would expect another pep rally. We'll get that information to you as quickly as possible.

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