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Win this game and see how far this team can go

Does anyone outside Packer Nation want Green Bay to win?


Lior from Oakland, CA

The Packers win if: the defense forces a turnover, and scores or sets up an offensive touchdown.

I'm with you. That's what I said in "Final Thoughts."

Matt from Fort Collins, CO

The PR intern ate a brat horizontally? And how long, exactly, before he was run out of town and banned permanently from Lambeau Field? That's like calling it a "football match." There're just some things that don't fly in the Frozen Tundra.

I'm guessing he's eaten a Snickers bar with a fork and knife at some point, too.

Chris from New Canaan, CT

On paper, GB beats DET. Alas, the game is not played on paper, it's played on turf. Intangibles favor DET (home field, home dog, "biggest Lions game in Ford Field history," payback time for Hail Mary, etc.). Fast start is essential. Don't play from behind. Get out to a quick two-possession lead and keep it that way. Win. Beat DET.

I agree with pretty much all of that, but whether or not the Packers can get off to a fast start, build a two-score lead, etc., this game will be about finishing in the fourth quarter. That's the focus of my "One Last Look" column being posted today.

Mitch from Williamsburg, MI

Gentlemen, I'm a Packers fan from Michigan heading to Detroit on Sunday. My ticket has quadrupled its value since I bought it, but there is no way that I'm selling it. I will be with a group of friends, most of them Lions fans, but I fully expect Packer Nation to show up and show up big!

I'm very curious to see how much green and gold is in the stands Sunday night. I don't have a feel for it, either way.

Andy from Tomahawk, WI

This is it! This is the type of football I want to witness! I've always loved the do-or-die football, the down-to-the-wire finishes, and the threat of heartbreak! Is there a moment more sweet than a 60-yard bomb on third down with under one minute left? A Hail Mary finish? Am I unbalanced? Those around me seem to think so.

If they'll still watch the game with you, you're probably OK.

Phil from Williams, OR

Insiders, many hamburger sandwiches are simple to eat with one hand due to their small overall size. Many hot dogs allow for one or two hands as well. Could it be that a hot dog becomes a sandwich when the thin connecting dough between the main bun halves becomes separated, therefore resulting in said hot dog and toppings being "sandwiched" between two separate pieces of bread? This would suggest a legitimate sandwich being an arrangement of ingredients rather than the type of ingredients themselves. Deep thoughts?

I hate it when my bun breaks.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Mike, three years ago I bought my first Packer jersey. I wanted to find a great player that did it right on and off the field that my young children would ask about. I decided Jordy Nelson was the player I wanted my kids to ask about. I look forward to wearing his jersey this Sunday.

My dad will be wearing his. He put it on his Christmas list six years ago, and then on Dec. 26, 2010, Nelson caught that 80-yarder against the Giants that started it all.

Doug from Pewaukee, WI

Prior to the Seattle game, the energy of the locker room/building was compared to the week leading up to the 2013 Week 17 showdown in Chicago. Can you provide insight into the feel and energy of the team this week?

They're ready.

Jonathan from Paducah, KY

Why is all the chatter about winning one more game to fulfill "run the table"? Why not five more to "run the table"?

One table at a time.

Del from Sterling, IL

I feel like all this talk about Rodgers' 200-plus passes without an interception is a jinx. Either way, nobody wants to play the Packers in the playoffs if they can avoid it.

Wes and I were talking about Rodgers' INT-free streak on Unscripted this week and I got us out of the segment before we talked about it too much. As to your second point, I think most of NFC Nation is rooting for the Lions on Sunday night.

JD from Palm Bay, FL

We often do a good job of giving credit where it's due in this organization, but how about some love for James Campen? This line has been reliable and consistent for years through injuries and change and these are not first-round draft picks like the Cowboys have. Great coach and seems like as good a person.

They don't come any better on both counts.

Dana from Reno, NV

When does Mike Pennel return?

He is eligible to be reinstated to the active roster for the playoffs should the Packers qualify.

Phil from Los Angeles, CA

Insiders, the Earl of Sandwich invented the sandwich when he put meat between bread so he could eat without stopping playing cards. So, you can see that there are three criteria: bread, meat and being able to play cards. By that criteria a hot dog is a sandwich. It's got nothing to do with two hands. But, a donut with no hole is a Danish. So we have that going for us.

What if the Earl of Sandwich had been a golfer?

Sam from Janesville, WI

A couple weeks ago the third-down conversion rate was not that good and MM said, "We're gonna work on that in practice this week." How do they go about working on third down specifically? In practice wouldn't it all be the same?

You create the situation for the offense by putting the scout-team defense in a number of different third-down personnel groups and looks you've seen in your film study.

Rick from Tucson, AZ

Mike, I know you're a grammarian. Your radar is not "honed in," it is "homed in." "Hone" is to sharpen, as a knife. "Home" is to lock on a target. Don't believe me, believe James J. Kilpatrick. I enjoy the Insiders, BTW. I read the column every day.

You're right, I botched it. Was rushed. But yours was the only email I got (other than one from Pops) correcting me. I suspect I would have gotten dozens of emails lambasting me for a sloppy typo had I actually done it right, but it's all good either way.

Chris from Bloomington, MN

Wasn't Randall Cobb questionable entering the final game at Chicago in 2013? I believe he also caught two passes, both for scores, in that game. I wouldn't mind seeing that happen again on Sunday night in Detroit.

Me either.

Scotty from Lombard, IL

Hi Insiders, it has been reported MNF for this past season had one of its lowest viewerships. Could we have hit the football saturation point? Or is the low number due to poor matchups? What do you think?

I think the slate on Monday night left a lot to be desired. Looking back now at the schedule, the falloff experienced by Carolina, Arizona, Denver, Cincinnati, and the N.Y. Jets didn't help matters.

Bill from Racine, WI

If the Packers beat Detroit, and the Giants, Atlanta and Seattle all lose, who gets the bye?

The Falcons.

Jerry from Wilmington, NC

Mike, behind the Packers and Cowboys, who do you think is the hottest NFC team heading into the final week?

The Falcons. If not for Eric Berry scoring that defensive two-point conversion for the Chiefs, Atlanta would be 5-0 since its Week 11 bye. As it is, the Falcons have averaged 36.4 points per game in that span, and Julio Jones missed two contests. I know their four wins since Thanksgiving are against non-playoff teams, but if they can outscore the Saints on Sunday to earn the first-round bye, that's a dangerous club.

Kathie from Iron Mountain, MI

I'm confused as why a team with a tie gets a seed ahead of a team with no tie? Please explain.

A lot of folks are struggling with this. The simplest explanation is that a tie counts as half a win and half a loss, mathematically. So, a team that is 10-5-1 has 10½ wins and 5½ losses, which is better than a team that's 10-6. Hope that helps.

James from Easton, MD

Mike, very much appreciate the humor and wisdom you display in the course of your answers. My question, the offense is clicking but in order for the team to make a deep run the defense will need to improve its porous pass defense. Do you know of any examples where a team's defense has caught fire at the end of a season and been instrumental in a deep playoff run? Thank you sir. Blessed New Year to you and the staff and their families.

Thank you. The "Bountygate" Saints defense in 2009 and the Giants defense in 2011 were no great shakes in the regular season – I won't bore you with the stats and rankings – but they got the job done in a big way.

Steve from Niagara, WI

Hey guys, when we see Capers up in the booth with the headset on, are McCarthy and all the defensive position coaches hooked into that and able to hear his scheme call for each play, or just a sideline coach relaying the play to the helmet microphone player? Or is it a direct line from Capers to that player? Please explain. Thanks.

The NFL made a change this year, allowing a coach in the booth to be connected directly to the player wearing the helmet speaker on the field. The call from the booth used to have to be relayed to the player from the sideline, but not anymore. As for other coaches wearing headsets, I believe they can hear the call when it's made.

Paul from Munising, MI

What is the average time when playing on the road the team has to get on the plane for the trip home?

It's a charter flight, so there's not a hard-and-fast schedule, but generally speaking, the wheels are up about two hours after the game clock hits zero.

Al from Sydney, Australia

Hey guys, we all know that there are offensive and defensive checks that occur at the line every play. I would like to know if you have ever heard of a special-teams play that has built-in checks? If so, who makes the call?

I've seen fake punts or fake field goals that are checked to based on the defensive look once everybody is lined up. Usually it's the up-back (punt) or holder (field goal) who gives a verbal signal whether the check is live or called off.

Pete from Madison, WI

An "elite" sports website said of Packers-Lions: "This is the longest continuing rivalry in the NFL of teams that have played each other twice a year every year since 1932. Of their 174 meetings, Green Bay has won 99 of them." Aren't the Bears our oldest rivals?

The rivalry with the Bears dates back to 1921, but the rivalry with the Lions has the longest continuous streak because both Packers-Bears games in 1982 were lost to the strike, while both games against Detroit were still played.

Chris from Menomonee Falls, WI

I know Aaron Rodgers will tell us all he cares about is beating Detroit this weekend, but we all know he'd love to have a BIG game, win the NFC North, silence the naysayers from earlier in the season and win his third MVP award. How big do you think the chip on his shoulder is right now? He's certainly playing like a man trying to prove a point.

I don't think it's about the size of the chip right now. I've only sensed that he wants to win this game and see how far this team can go. That's it, that's all.

Wick from Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Mike and Wes, I say the Packers win this week if they can score a TD on defense or special teams. Indubitably and for sure. Who's going to be the player to make that happen?

I'm going with Micah Hyde.

Jerry from Hewitt, WI

Wings or pizza for the game Sunday night?

Whichever will beat the Lions. Happy New Year everybody.

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