"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the football season.
Here's the "Ask Vic" Week 8 power rankings:
1. Rams -- Packers' turn.
2. Patriots -- Winning the close ones.
3. Chiefs -- Broncos shouldn't pose a problem.
4. Saints -- Revenge!
5. Vikings -- Making their move?
6. Washington -- Peterson in comeback player bid.
7. Ravens -- Quality loss.
8. Chargers -- Rest time.
9. Panthers -- Newton gets it done at crunch time.
10. Steelers -- Who are they? Time to find out.
11. Lions -- They're building something.
12. Seahawks -- At the test in Detroit.
13. Bengals -- Bucs will help them recover.
14. Packers -- Now we'll find out.
15. Dolphins -- Hot weather impostor.
16. Bears -- Growing pains.
17. Texans -- Time to make a move.
18. Eagles -- Not a title contender.
19. Cowboys -- Five-yard penalty was the difference.
20. Jets -- Crossroads game in Chicago.
21. Falcons -- Bye, or bye-bye?
22. Bucs -- It's all about Winston.
23. Titans -- Going for two was the wrong call.
24. Jaguars -- Not too long ago, they were No. 1.
25. Browns -- Big one in Pittsburgh.
26. Broncos -- Respectable, nothing more.
27. Colts -- Best 2-5 team in the league.
28. 49ers -- Showdown in Arizona.
29. Giants -- In the hunt for first overall pick.
30. Bills -- Worst 2-5 team in the league.
31. Cardinals -- Byron Leftwich will attempt the impossible.
32. Raiders -- Trade everyone!
Craig from Cedarburg, WI
How would you attack the Rams' stout defense?
You have to make them play the run or they'll turn the game into a sack fest. When you pass, get rid of the ball quickly or the Rams will turn the game into a sack fest. Get my point? You beat the Rams by playing your best football and hoping they don't play theirs.
Matt from Georgetown, TX
Vic, a couple of years ago you said you weren't going to use the name of the team in Washington out of respect for native Americans, but in Monday's column you used it. What changed?
I forgot. I'll try to remember.
Pat from Seneca, SC
Every team has a weakness. What is the weakness of the Rams?
Their weakness is they're undefeated and coasting to a division title. Maybe they'll take the day off. Otherwise, I don't see a weakness. They're 2-1-8 on offense and 7-12-9 on defense. Those are the best triangle numbers in the league.
Brent from Dubuque, IA
Giorgio "Don’t Call Me Sergio" Tavecchio makes a long one for the Falcons. Interesting to see familiar names pop up around the league. I wish him luck in his career.
I covered an undrafted tight end in Jacksonville named Isaac Smolko. Jack Del Rio mistakenly referred to him in a press conference as Ivan Smolko, which caused me to dub him Ivan "Don't Call Me Isaac" Smolko. When Mike McCarthy referred to Tavecchio as Sergio, I got an idea. Football can be fun, if you let it.
Joey from Venice, CA
A first-round pick for Amari Cooper. What were the Cowboys thinking? Does this trade make any sense to you, Vic?
It makes about as much sense as the Deion Branch trade did. Wide receiver fever can be fatal.
Tyler from Augusta, GA
Vic, love this blog. It is truly a highlight of my day to read your work. My question is, if you are Gruden, are you willing to trade Derek Carr for a first-round pick? If you are the Jaguars, are you an interested partner at that price? Keep up the great work!
I think it would be a mistake for the Raiders to trade Carr; I think he has franchise-quarterback talent. If I'm the Jaguars, I'm interested in trading for him, but only if I believe he's agreeable to restructuring his contract. His salary would fit nicely on the Jaguars' cap this year, but next year his salary spikes to nearly $20 million for four consecutive years, and that's a number that needs to come down if the Jaguars are to surround Carr with the players he needs to be able to win.
Robert from Green Bay, WI
Vic, going to the Coliseum for the first time for the Rams-Packers game. Any great memories there? Anything I should keep an eye out for?
The last time I covered a game at the LA Coliseum, the press box was deemed unfit for occupancy and I sat in a makeshift outdoor press box at the peristyle end of the stadium. My enduring memory of the Coliseum is of the visitors locker room, which included locker stalls with doors that allowed players to shut out the media. Behind one of those doors, Joe Gilliam shut out the media in 1975. That was the night it became apparent Gilliam was battling a drug addiction problem. The Coliseum is the worst NFL stadium at which I've covered a game. It's not always a friendly place. Please be careful.
Sam from Madison, WI
Following last season's Big Ten championship game loss to the Buckeyes, I read the Badgers lost the game three years prior on signing day. If Vic were head coach, how would he go about winning on signing day?
Wisconsin needs to schedule more aggressively. I sense too much protectionism within the Wisconsin football program. It's almost as though they're afraid to lose. That won't work in recruiting. Recruits want to know they'll be playing in big games, high-profile games. Forget about rankings and meaningless bowl games. Next year's out-of-conference schedule is weak, but Wisconsin plays Notre Dame the following year. That's a step in the right direction.
J.G. from Silver Spring, MD
Vic, what's the right perspective to have on Bortles? Obviously, the last three weeks have been unmitigated disasters, but before that he had games against the Patriots and Jets in which he looked like a QB who could win against any team. What leads to such inconsistency in his performance?
He has a long, slow throwing motion that makes it easy for defenders to read and react, and it's especially a problem on deep throws. It was at its worst in the Kansas City game. Colin Kaepernick has a similarly deliberate motion and I think it held him back. Additionally, Bortles does some little twisty thing with his hand and wrist that causes the ball to wobble grotesquely. In other words, his mechanics are a problem and I'm not sure they can be fixed permanently. When a quarterback throws a tight spiral, it's almost as though the ball catches you; it grabs your hands. Bortles is a tough guy. He has strong leadership qualities. He's got all of the intangibles you want in a starting quarterback. His ability to throw the football is the issue. The Jaguars are at decision time on him.
Isaac from Nashville, TN
Vic, how would you characterize Coach Belichick's attitude toward the run game?
He uses it to achieve play-calling balance, which helps quiet the pass rush and limits Tom Brady's exposure to it.
Anthony from Milwaukee, WI
I think Jon Gruden was on to something about Mack. The Raiders defense stunk last year with him and stinks this year without him. Meanwhile, the Bears were a top 10 defense last year without him, and the last two weeks I think I've seen the Bears post "missing" flyers around Chicago looking for him.
Your comments remind me of what Branch Rickey told Ralph Kiner when Kiner wanted a big, new contract. Rickey told Kiner, "We finished last with you, we can finish last without you." Hey, the Lions are looking pretty good. What if the Bears finish last in the NFC North? How would that trade look then?