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What are the keys to beating the Seahawks? senior writer Mike Spofford took reader questions in his weekly chat.


Hi everybody. Two in a row and hope springs eternal. Let's get to it.

Comment From Don H

Two weeks in row of managing the play calling to take what's given on the gridiron, leading to manageable down / distance situations and sustained soul crushing drives. I like what I'm seeing out of the offense and it's a recipe for beating SEA. It can be done, it will be done ...

And we're off and running ..

Comment From KK

Mike, Early Happy Holidays! What do you think the loss of Earl Thomas means to the Packers' passing game?

I'm not a football coach so I'm not sure what you do scheme-wise to take advantage, but the game is about matchups and if Rodgers can attack the new safety in certain situations, I expect he will.

Comment From Paul

Hi Mike Do you feel confident that we can cover short passes over the middle. Seem like you can always see a few packers standing in a zone and watching until the catch is made. Do the coaches address this? I am worried what Wilson is going to do to us?

It's hard to take everything away. The Packers have been victimized by big plays far more than by the short stuff. In this game, I'm focused on stopping the run and keeping Wilson in the pocket.

Comment From Jeff

We've had few games when we have had all of our key players. It sure would be nice to get healthy and see what happens.

The health of the team has been an issue all year, and now you've got guys like Matthews and Perry trying to play while significantly banged up. It's how the year has gone. All the Packers can do is keep fighting.

Comment From David in New Hampshire

Mike: Who do you look toward at CB to raise their game against the Seahawks?

Randall is the guy who's due to make a play, I think.

Comment From Ethan

Why does the NFL not allow players to wear their "My Cause My Cleats" for every game? In other words, is the NFL really that strict, that they won't allow their players to advertise a good cause every game?

You'll have to take that up with Roger Goodell. I have no idea why the league has some of the rules and regulations it has. I'm sure there are reasons.

Comment From Sean C

this team is really coming around, I can see/feel it. it would be crushing if they didn't make the playoffs.

It would be disappointing, for sure, but it's up to them. If they win out, they won't need much help at 10-6 to get in.

Comment From Dave-Vermont

Let's talk about the Seattle/Bucs game. The Bucs had 6 sacks and 2 picks. What else can we learn from it?

Seattle's O-line has been its weakest position group all season. You have to win that battle up front, and keep Wilson contained. You don't rush to sack, you rush to collapse.

Comment From Mike

Against Seattles' offensive line, I really think this is a match up to see Mike Daniels look like his early season self disrupting from the tackle position.

I agree.

Comment From Brandon

Christine Michael appears to have a lot of energy. Despite his meager numbers from last game, I believe we need to see more of him. Thoughts?

I expect we will see him more. His first steps on that first carry on Sunday were the quickest I've seen from a GB RB in a while.

Comment From Steve

What is it about the Seahawks that just chaps us off ?? I get hives and visceral reactions when I see Pete Carroll on the sideline chomping away on his gum .. Do I need help or is this just normal for Packer fans??

It's built up over time. Fail Mary, the final 3:52. It's a totally normal fan reaction if you ask me.

Comment From Timmy D.

Snow appears to be on the radar again for this Sunday! It just seems suiting to have snowy games at Lambeau in December/january does it not

They are fun to watch, for sure.

Comment From Nathan

How about Michael going against his old team just a few weeks after being cut?

Whatever it takes to motivate a guy. He'll be asked this week about it in the locker room. I'm curious what he's going to say, which may not be exactly how he feels.

Comment From T-bone

Give Ripkowski a few weeks of inside linebacker class, and he could clog the middle, no problem.

I have no doubts about that. Pass coverage could be an issue, though.

Comment From Ethan

Will need to keep a spy on Wilson this week, I imagine. It was tough watching Osweiler get through the line for some of those first downs on Sunday. Wilson will do that better than Osweiler.

I was surprised at the scrambling yards Wentz and Osweiler managed the past two games. The Packers can't let that happen this week, because 10-yard scrambles by those guys can turn into 20 or 30 yards with Wilson.

Comment From david in NH

How bad or good is Clay's shoulder/

It was clearly bothering him all game on Sunday. Hopefully it can keep getting better. It'll be a week to week thing.

Comment From Chris

Mike, many people are quick to blame Starks, but what do you feel is the reason the run game seems unimposing right now?

I really don't know. Everything has to be in sync to run the ball well. Assignments on the blocks, the backs making the right read. I don't think it's ever just one thing.

Comment From Joe

Do we know anything about the status of Blake Martinez this week?

It sounded like he was ahead of schedule in returning to practice a little bit last week. If he gets more reps in practice, his chances of playing would go up I presume. We'll see starting tomorrow.

Comment From AJ H

Hi Mike, big fan of you and Wes. With us facing Detroit in the last week of the season, what games must they lose before then for us to snatch that playoff spot? What if we lose to seattle?

If the Packers lose to the Seahawks, they'll need the Lions to lose twice before Week 17. If the Packers beat Seattle, they'll only need the Lions to lose once. Detroit plays Chicago (this week), then at NY Giants and at Dallas.

Comment From Beau

Mike, looks like we will be rooting hard for the Cowboys over the next few weeks as they face the Giants, Bucs, and Lions. We just have to hope they don't rest their starters once they have everything clinched!

I'm curious how all of that is going to play out. There's something to be said for resting guys to avoid injury, but there's also momentum and sharpness. The Cowboys will get a week off with the bye as it is. Every coach has a different philosophy on this, and we'll soon find out what Garrett's is.

Comment From Timmy D.

Why did the Badgers have to lose like that :(

Man, did that bum me out. I don't think I've been that down after a UW loss since the Rose Bowl defeat to TCU on that 2-point conversion. Just a shame. I wasn't even worried about the playoff thing. Another trip to the Rose Bowl would have been pretty cool.

Comment From Sean

In your honest opinion do you feel the NFL will ever force all stadiums to be covered to prevent weather conditions affecting games and to keep the players more safe? I love cold and snow weather games so I am curious.

I can't imagine that. I think in a lot of ways snow games are safer because no one can run as fast, so a lot of hits aren't as hard.

Comment From Josh

Mike, the team and fans alike have got to love what we have already seen this year from the 2016 draft class. But this thought made me realize I hadn't heard Kyler Fackrell's name in a while. Any insight you can provide on his development that I may have missed?

He's missed the last couple of games with a hamstring injury.

Comment From Jim E

Is it just me or does it seem Clay Matthews plays better on the inside than the outside. Just seems like he isn't the same pass rusher he used to be.

I don't think Matthews has been fully healthy since early September.

Comment From Tom

What is Seattle looking at on film as a weakness they may try to exploit against the Packers this week?

I think Seattle will try to run the ball, a lot. The Packers gave up too much on the ground last week, especially on draw plays.

Comment From Joe

Are the Vikings all of a sudden the dark horse in this race? I could see the emotional return of Zimmer, the extra rest from playing last Thursday, and the moral victory of playing both the Cowboys and Lions to the final play being a catalyst.

The moral victory part doesn't mean squat, but the other factors you mention will certainly matter. I'm not counting the Vikings out. They play the Jaguars and Colts the next 2 weeks and I would not be surprised in the slightest if they're 8-6 coming to Lambeau on Christmas Eve.

Comment From Mike

Do our wildcard hopes look better now that the Redskins and Giants took a lose?

They're better, but the Packers still need more help in that regard. Tampa Bay's win in San Diego didn't help.

Comment From Tim From Minny

Hi Mike! So seeing Starks all year with ALOT of zero and minus yard runs this year do you dgo with Ty Montgomery and Cm with a little ripkowski thrown in there??

Could be. I still think Starks is the best screen pass back the Packers have, so I wouldn't want to lose that.

Comment From T-bone

What have your thoughts been about the Raiders season? I'm happy for Reggie McKenzie.

Me, too. Really liked Reggie when he was here. He got the Raiders out of that salary cap mess and appears to have gotten the head coach hire right on the second try. Glad for him that the Raiders stuck with him, because some GMs are sunk if they miss on their first head coach.

Comment From Owen

A week ago it appeared our only route to the playoffs was the division title. Now, it seems a wild card spot is equally attainable. Vic pointed out that the Redskins have the head-to-head win over us, but isn't that kind of a moot point with the Redskins having a tie this year?

Yes, the Redskins tie takes the head-to-head out of the mix basically.

Comment From Beau

Mike, when the schedule was released last spring, if you would have told me the Packers would be 4-4 against the NFC East and AFC South, I never would have believed it! As Vic would say, "all we can do is watch."

The Tennessee Titans went 3-1 against the NFC North.

Comment From Eric

Mike - Since our run game has struggled so badly this year, why do you think we are so insistent on trying to run it in short yardage situations? We did it 8-10 times this past weekend, with very little success (2-3). It takes the ball out of AR hands and gives us the best chance to be successful. I know the reasons MM says it's "important" to run the ball, but it seems like he hasn't learned that we really can't.

You have to give the O-linemen a break from pass protection at some point, and get the defense to play you honestly. Bad weather will put more of a premium on the run game, too. McCarthy knows all about going into the playoffs without a run game. The 15-1 team was one-and-done. That's why he keeps insisting on it.

Comment From Matt

I don't agree with you about Starks and the screens. He's had some crippling drops/misplays in screens this year, and more importantly I don't think the sample size with the other guys is big enough to say much of anything about their ability to execute on a screen play.

You're right that we haven't seen Michael run a screen in this offense, and I've got nothing against Montgomery on those calls. I know Starks has dropped one here or there and he made a bad read in Philly last week, but I've seen way more positive with him in the screen game going back through last year that I still like him best there.

Comment From Ray

As unfortunate as Rodgers hamstring injury is, QB is probably one of the few positions you can continue to play. It doesn't affect his throwing and he can control the extension of his leg. Any defensive player, receiver, or RB would be out. I'm just concerned missing the extra ability that adds to his greatness will be critical in a big spot. He will probably deal with this as long as the season last, like the calf injury. A healthy calf might have made the difference in '14.

Rodgers found a way to manage the calf in '14 and it looks like he's managing the hamstring now, too. It takes something away, yes, but maybe as the weeks go on, it will be less and less.

Comment From T-bone

Do you find any importance that the Packers play Sat the 24th while the Lions play Monday the 26th? We have an extra two days to recover, I think that will really benefit us if it comes down to that game.

That could certainly matter. Let's hope it does.

Comment From david in NH

Mike: I say on short and 1 or 2, give the ball to Riiiiip! What do you say?

They did, and he made a bad read on fourth-and-2, in my opinion, and got stopped. No one has been automatic in that situation for the Packers.

Comment From Joe

Hi Mike, If the Pack finish 9 and 7 and Tampa/Giants do too. Who has the tie breaker?

It would come down to conference record, most likely, and we'd just have to see how it shakes out.

Comment From Lee

I think if it's snowing this Sunday, it can help Packers to slow down the fast Seahawks D.

A bad track favors offense.

Comment From Jay

Did you have the feeling the Packers had the Texans right from the get go? At no point during the game did I fear the Texans would put it together.

I was a little nervous after the fourth-down stop on Rip and the Texans were at the GB 36 with a tie score. The dropped pass over the middle by Hopkins was huge.

Comment From Joe

Is there any chance the Bears go into Ford Field and pull a massive upset?

Anything is possible, and I'm sure last week's win put a little bounce in Chicago's step. But I don't see Detroit losing that game.

Comment From Owen

Why is nobody talking about the Buccaneers? If the season ended today, they'd be in.

I did mention them, but they have a much tougher schedule down the stretch than the Falcons. I still think Atlanta wins that division.

Comment From Matt

Not that we should in any way depend on it, but the Lions are not strangers to tanking a division lead. Whatever happens, it's going to be messier than people think.

Detroit is a long way removed from that collapse in '13. They came back in '14 and were a solid playoff team, nearly taking the division from GB in Week 17. Stafford is a different player in the clutch this year, and their defense is really getting it done. I heard today they've allowed less than 20 points in six straight games for the first time in 25 years.

Comment From Joe

Hi Mike, What did you think of the play by Adams? Too bad it got called back. But it was a heck of a play!!!

That was a whale of a play. I'm still not totally convinced he stepped out, but the whistle blew so McCarthy couldn't challenge it.

Comment From Jay

Do the Vikings stick with Bradford in your opinion?

Yes, and he may be their QB at the start of next season, too. There's no guarantee Bridgewater comes back from that injury in 12 months. It was pretty gruesome.

Comment From Mike

Just sending a hello from Sweden, thanks you guys for basically teaching me about football and giving me fans to relate to in a country that only knows soccer. Been a quiet reader for several years! Wanted to say hi basically!

Thanks for stopping by. Hello back to Scandinavia.

Comment From Guest

any word on perry's hand injury?

McCarthy said on Monday it was being evaluated. That was the biggest club I've ever seen on a guy's hand when he came back in to play. I don't know how he could be effective with that.

OK, I've got to cut it a bit short and get going soon. I'll take a few more.

Comment From Pang

This game might be J. Cook's game, attack the middle.

Could be. A lot of folks are asking about why Cook hasn't gotten as much action since the Redskins game. Defenses adjust, and Rodgers is looking for who's open, not a specific guy. Cook had two big third-down conversions in that game Sunday, and I think Rodgers wanted to go to him on another hot-read type of play but he wasn't looking. All that missed time from him is going to create inconsistency.

Comment From Joe

Detroit will lose to the Giants and The Cowboys,giving us the shot we need. But the Vikings schedule is much easier. I think that is going to be the game that decides the Division.

There's still a lot to be sorted out.

Comment From Eric

An interesting thing about the Seahawks. Has anyone noticed they are only 4-3-1 in the conference? Their great record is really a product of their wins against the AFC East. I'm not sure if that tells us much about them, but maybe it helps???

Hey, they beat the Patriots. On the road. In prime time. That says plenty.

Comment From Edward

Is there a SNF game on Christmas Eve or Christmas night?

Both, I believe, but all involve AFC teams.

Comment From Susie

No ??? today, everything covered but wanted to say thanks for the chats. You are such a down to earth guy!

Thanks. I try to be, but it comes rather naturally. I appreciate everyone's participation. Gotta run. Take care and have a good rest of the week. --Mike

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