"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the football season.
Here's the "Ask Vic" Week 12 power rankings:
1. Saints -- Head and shoulders above the rest.
2. Rams -- What's happening to that defense?
3. Chiefs -- What defense?
4. Steelers -- Big Ben having a big year.
5. Patriots -- Soft finishing schedule.
6. Bears -- How good can they get?
7. Texans -- They've arrived.
8. Chargers -- Just when you thought they were good...
9. Seahawks -- They have that winning feeling.
10. Vikings -- Something's missing.
11. Panthers -- Seahawks will be tough to beat.
12. Washington -- Smith's injury changes everything.
13. Cowboys -- Favorite now to win the NFC East.
14. Colts -- Surge should continue vs. visiting Dolphins.
15. Titans -- Identity crisis.
16. Ravens -- Jackson gives them more energy.
17. Bengals -- Arrow game vs. Browns.
18. Lions -- Patricia trying to make them tough.
19. Packers -- Season on the line in Minnesota.
20. Eagles -- Forget the trick plays; play football.
21. Broncos -- Improved.
22. Browns -- Bengals in the crosshairs.
23. Falcons -- League's most disappointing team.
24. Jaguars -- Everything but a quarterback.
25. Giants -- They're in the NFC East title race.
26. Dolphins -- Arrow pointing straight down.
27. Bills -- Better than their record.
28. Jets -- Darnold paying his dues.
29. Bucs -- They always make it exciting.
30. 49ers -- Fading quietly.
31. Raiders -- Feuding, but who cares?
32. Cardinals -- Welcome to hell.
Daniel from Richmond, TX
Vic, I question why the Packers didn't run the ball more, especially when they were leading in the second half. In my opinion, that's what killed the Packers momentum. Is it play calls, or checking out of runs, or both?
I think we've exhausted the play-calling theories: Need to run more, need to be more aggressive, more screen passes, more play action, throw to Jimmy Graham over the middle, more checkdowns, more trick plays, etc. I think this Sunday's game would be a perfect time to evaluate personnel: Are the Packers winning their one-on-ones? You can't expect to be a winning football team if you're not winning your one-on-ones.
Jimmy from Yulee, FL
Did you notice the Jaguars cut Landry Jones the day after the Steelers game?
Some things never change. The Jaguars signed Jones, emptied his head and then cut him the day after the game. I'm old school and I don't like that behavior. It's disrespectful of the player's career and it reeks of that NASCAR if-you-ain't-cheatin'-you-ain't-tryin' crap. Come on, Jaguars, you're better than that.
Rich from York, PA
Vic, can you give me your thoughts on Lamar Jackson? It looks like the howl has caught up to Flacco in Baltimore.
Jackson gives them newness. I loved him coming into the draft. I thought the Ravens got a steal. Jackson is a new-age quarterback in the era of the new-age quarterback. I think it's a good time for the Ravens to be new. All teams get there eventually. It's a young man's game.
Eric from Keene, NH
Vic, I just need to rant about all the fire McCarthy nonsense. Now the latest stupidity is that Josh McDaniels, the genius who thought Tim Tebow was an NFL quarterback, will be called upon to be the Packers' savior.
Who would hire a man who went back on his word to the Colts? Hire him because he has good plays? I wouldn't hire him, in any capacity. Good plays are easy to find. First, I want a good man.
Dan from Madison, WI
Is there any reason McCarthy can’t have a Payton-like resurgence under Gutekunst’s re-tooling?
Chris from Jacksonville, FL
What are your thoughts on Notre Dame this year? Still think they’ll never be elite because of the academic requirements? Didn’t seem to hurt them against Michigan or LSU in the last year. Do I think they’ll beat Alabama, no, but I do think what they’ve been able to accomplish has been more than you predicted with your negativity about the calculus requirement, when I was an impressionable young domer in 2006. Thought I’d touch base again to see if your view has shifted at all.
It's a talented team, but not nearly as talented as it could be if Notre Dame cheated in recruiting and found ways to hide football players in soft curriculums, or worse.
Greg from Danbury, CT
I guess Pittsburgh doesn't like being owned. I don't know about the rest of the game, but the final 2:30 was gripping.
It was one of the most amazing games I've ever seen, one of those games I'll never forget. I'm stunned it's not getting more media attention. I've never seen a team being dominated as thoroughly as the Steelers were suddenly flip the switch and become unstoppable. All of a sudden, the Jaguars couldn't gain a first down and the Steelers went from being shut out to scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Jaguars/Steelers games are still special. They have an unpredictability to them I've never seen in any other rivalry.
Brad from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, this one hurts more than most. The defense did what it could but the offense was awful. I’m not sure if the offensive coordinator is handcufffed by Bortles or he just has a run-first philosophy, but this is bad. You just cut Bortles and eat the dead money to move on in the offseason?
What other choice do they have? The Jaguars guaranteed $26.5 million of his contract, including $6.5 million of his 2019 salary (there are offsets). Yeah, it hurts to walk from that, but you can't pay him $16 million in salary in '19 to do what he did on Sunday. The coach is afraid to let him throw the ball! The good news is the Jaguars should be high enough in the draft order to pick Bortles' replacement.
Dan from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
What are your thoughts on Jalen Ramsey?
I think he's the most talented cover corner in the league, and I was happy to read his admission of battling through some emotional instability. My hope is he'll get some counseling to help him achieve restraint; his rants are damaging.
Kyle from Green Bay, WI
As much as I like good defense, Monday night was the first time I’ve watched an entire Monday night game. Is this the game the league wants or is it what I tell them I want by staying up late?
Most fans, especially casual fans (the largest segment of the TV audience), want offense. I want confrontation. I don't like it when moving the ball looks easy. I like resistance. Monday night's game reminded me of a skeleton drill.
Paul from Cumming, GA
Immediately following Monday Night Football, ESPN had some talking head on who, without hesitation, declared the performance of the teams on the field was all due to coaching, play-calling and scheming. I chuckled, turned off my TV and went to bed.
It sells. Fans like that kind of talk because they can relate to it: The team with the better idea wins and, of course, fans believe they have a better idea. Here's where I get a chuckle: I mentioned in a column following the Packers-Dolphins game Green Bay's extra wide line splits contributed to the gaping holes Aaron Jones was finding in the Dolphins' defensive line. It was ingenious strategy by Mike McCarthy, the kind of scheming that goes much deeper than play selection and often goes undetected. I didn't get one question or comment on the line splits issue. The trick play lit up my inbox, but I didn't get one comment on the game's defining strategy. Do they even know what a line split is, I wondered to myself? How can you know what play to call if you don't even know what a line split is? You call plays according to how you're deploying your players and what you're trying to attack.
Jacob from Green Bay, WI
Vic, I was a daily reader of yours when you were with the Packers, and didn't know until today you have your own site. I got so excited I (peed) my pants and forget who I was for about half an hour or so.
It's all part of the experience, Jacob.
Karl from Albuquerque, NM
Vic, watching the Rams vs. Chiefs game, I thought I was watching a Big 12 college game. Is this where the NFL is headed?
Yes. The Rams, Chiefs, Saints and Steelers are Nos. 2-5 in offense. The Bucs are No. 1. The message is in today's NFL, even bad teams have good offenses.
Andrew from Madison, WI
But would Coughlin have won two Super Bowls in Jacksonville, or would things have continued in a downward spiral? Did he need a kick in the pants and a fresh start? Did the Jaguars?
Tom Coughlin was in the process of rebuilding the Jaguars through the cut and gut of 2002. Marcus Stroud and John Henderson, the foundation of Jack Del Rio's defense, were Coughlin draft picks. What Coughlin did to make the '02 Jaguars respectable qualifies as one of the best coaching jobs I've ever covered. Del Rio praised Coughlin after watching tape of the '02 season. The '02 Jaguars might've had less talent on their roster than the inaugural-season Jaguars. Why fire a good coach? The answer is to satisfy the howl of the wolves so you can sell tickets. Beware the howl of the wolves.
Lane from Orlando, FL
I think if a game ended with the final score 77-74 everyone would consider it the best game ever played, while I would consider it among the worst. Am I crazy?
The Steelers-Jaguars game was the best game I saw last weekend, even though one team was shut out through three quarters and the other one was afraid to throw the ball on third-and-10 and on the opponents' side of the 50. Struggle, confrontation, angst, surprise, celebration, despair made it great. They are the ingredients of true drama. The game was a hushed drum roll that built to a cymbals crash with three seconds to play. Here's the problem with that kind of game: The casual fan would've found something else to watch before the fourth quarter began, and that's not good for ratings.