"Ask Vic" is published M-W-F through the football season.
Here are my all-important final 2020 regular season power rankings:
1. Packers -- The best and getting better.
2. Chiefs -- Not a hot team.
3. Bills -- They're hot.
4. Seahawks -- Defense comes to life.
5. Ravens -- Can avenge earlier loss to Titans.
6. Saints -- Is this Brees' last chance?
7. Bucs -- Scoring a lot of points.
8. Steelers -- Lost four of their last five.
9. Colts -- Dome team must play outdoors.
10. Titans -- Henry won't gash the Ravens.
11. Browns -- Darlings of the playoffs.
12. Rams -- More Wolford, please.
13. Cardinals -- Disappointing finish.
14. Washington -- They can surprise.
15. Dolphins -- Doubts about Tua.
16. Chargers -- They'll be a preseason favorite.
17. Raiders -- Stuck in the middle.
18. Patriots -- Rebuilding takes time.
19. Bears -- Not deserving of playoff berth.
20. Giants -- Next year pivotal for Daniel Jones.
21. Cowboys -- Must fix the defense.
22. 49ers -- Retool or reload?
23. Falcons -- Time to hire.
24. Vikings -- Capped out with holes.
25. Eagles -- Pederson hurt himself.
26. Panthers -- Get "The Man."
27. Bengals -- It's all about Burrow's knee.
28. Broncos -- Lock could be a tease.
29. Texans -- Lack picks.
30. Lions -- We wait.
31. Jets -- The Gase gaffe is over.
32. Jaguars -- You win the prize!
Tou from Eau Claire, WI
With a Super Bowl-caliber team, can the Packers afford to let Aaron Jones or a guy like Preston Smith go as they try to repeat the same success next year?
It's a fair question. Going all in begins with keeping your own good players. If the Packers go to the Super Bowl, I would support going all in for next season. It would mean restructuring contracts and mortgaging a chunk of the future, but it's standard operating procedure for championship teams as they age. The Patriots did it. You ride the train as long as you can. Should the Packers lay an egg in the postseason, however, I wouldn't throw more cap space at a repeating theme.
T' from Milwaukee, WI
You always make me laugh, Vic! No doubt about who would win, because Trubisky is terrible, but you didn't think that game was one of the better Bears vs. Packers contests?
You're asking me to rank toothaches? I understand it's a meaningful game in your corner of the world, but I would ask TV to have mercy on the national football fan and not make him and her continue to watch that game just because those two teams were playing football when nobody cared about the NFL. The Bears stink. They might be the worst playoff team in the modern era. The intent of the wild card concept is to reward a good team that played in a strong division. The Bears are a bad team in a weak division. What if the Bears and Packers play a third time? That would be the worst. I'd rather watch the Jaguars and Jets play in the "Awful Bowl."
Jon from Bloomfield, NJ
There were a couple of instances this week of teams that fed a player the ball to earn that player contract incentives. Do you have any opinions on the morality of it?
It's professional football and it's about the money.
Roger from Chesterton, IN
I’m surprised you took Indianapolis over Buffalo, seeing as how Rivers has struggled in the cold and in the playoffs. What crucial info am I missing?
Crucial info? It's just a feeling. Do you think I spend more than a few seconds in analyzing these matchups? The Colts have a good defense and I think Rivers has one more act left in his career. He needs a defining postseason moment. Maybe this will be it. Josh Allen? He wasn't great in the playoff loss in Houston last year. I'm going with experience.
Tom from Charlottesville, VA
It seems like teams are choosing to go for it more frequently on fourth down while in field goal range. Do you think this is related to coaches having less confidence in their kickers or is it purely analytics driven?
Coaches know they have to score a lot of points to win.
Craig from Sheboygan, WI
Everything seems to be coming together for the Packers right now. What team do you see giving the Packers the most trouble in the playoffs?
I don't see such a team. The Bucs or Saints in the Green Bay cold? The Seahawks, maybe, but they're struggling to score points and you won't beat Aaron Rodgers without scoring a lot of points.
Jake from Pine Mountain Club, CA
Your responses in Monday’s column cause me to wonder if there was an overabundance of chortling by us Green Bay fans. Am I interpreting your replies correctly?
The questions were weak and I decided to have a little fun with them. That's all it was. "Vic, how would you rate our greatness? Good greatness or great greatness?" Hey, the Packers are 13-3, they've won six in a row, they're the top seed in the NFC and No. 1 in my power rankings. There are no issues to discuss.
Bill from West Chester, PA
Does Green Bay play the winner of the Tampa/Washington game or if a lower seed wins, Rams or Bears? Would Green Bay play the lower-seeded winner?
Yes. It's frightening.
Aiden from Jacksonville, FL
Shad Khan is asking for Lot J and Lamping has basically stated in indirect comments the Jaguars' future will be tied to the Lot J project. Also, stadium renovations shortly came up by the Jags brass right after the Lot J proposal. It seems this has been put on a brief hold but will eventually pass. With two games already basically in London, what is your opinion of events happening here in Jacksonville?
Give him what he wants in exchange for an ironclad guarantee of the Jaguars' future in Jacksonville. I would also ask that a plaque be placed to commemorate where I parked in Lot J.
Michael from Plano, TX
What did you see in Cleveland's narrow win over Pittsburgh's JV team that prodded you to pick Cleveland in the rematch on Sunday?
The Steelers lost four of their final five games. If it wasn't for a second-half rally against the Colts, the Steelers would be on a five-game losing streak. They're the coldest team in the playoffs. They can't run the ball, pass-protection is a problem and Joe Haden will be out with Covid. What's to like? In defense of the Steelers, I'll say this: They played hard on Sunday, unlike the other team in Pa. The Steelers played to win and Mason Rudolph came within a two-point pass of sending that game into overtime. Also, and this is really big for a team headed for rebuilding, the Steelers had one of the best drafts in the league this year. Despite not having a first-round pick and having only six picks total, the Steelers were able to find three players who appear to be fixtures in the team's future. Chase Claypool is playing at a first-round level, Alex Highsmith was a steal in round three and Kevin Dotson might be the Steelers' best offensive lineman. This was a good year for the Steelers.
Max from Toledo, OH
Will the NFL be swamped in two years with QBs?
There'll be more than enough to go around. Softening the rules has made it easier for young quarterbacks and those of average talent to succeed, ridiculously easy for the stars of the game to excel, and extended the careers of old quarterbacks.
Tom from Johnstown, PA
What did you think of Mason Rudolph on Sunday?
If the Steelers can speed him up, they might have something. Rudolph throws a great deep ball and his pocket courage is impressive. He never took his eyes off downfield, despite the pocket collapsing around him. He needs to get through his reads more quickly. Running quarterbacks take off, but Rudolph has only marginal mobility. He's a true pocket passer. Can he become Roethlisberger's replacement? I won't say yes but it's a legitimate question. The Steelers will have to make a contract decision on him in the offseason. Rudolph's performance against a Browns team all out to win will weigh in his favor.
Ben from Madison, WI
Drafting No. 1 overall, 11 picks and $100 million in salary cap space. The Jaguars did their job.
They should rise as quickly as they did when the franchise first began playing.
Eric from Minneapolis, MN
The Jaguars have a lot of draft capital and cap room, but not much talent. The Texans have "The Man," but very little opportunity to improve their roster in 2021. For GM and HC candidates, which team is more desirable?
The Jaguars are, by far, more attractive for a GM. He has the picks and cap room to mold the team in his vision. There is no excuse for failure. I think it's also an attractive job for a head coach because immediate expectations are low and a turnaround could be dramatic, but a lot of coaches would view the Texans job as a chance to patch with a player here and there and win right away.
Chad from Kansas City, MO
I think the Packers will get punched in the mouth.
It's the only way you'll beat them. You will not out-finesse or out-think them. I think you should worry about the Chiefs getting punched in the mouth.