Here are my Week 9 power rankings:
1. Eagles – Deserving of a rest.
2. Patriots – Defense on the rise.
3. Steelers – Offense not scoring enough points.
4. Seahawks – These Seahawks are about offense.
5. Rams – All the indicators look good.
6. Saints – Five in a row.
7. *Chiefs – Back on track.
8. Vikings – Eyes on Lions-Packers this week.
9. Bills – Starting to get that winning feeling.
10. Cowboys – Big one in KC this week.
11. Panthers – Didn’t look great in win at Tampa.
12. Falcons – Super Bowl hangover?
13. Lions – Lots of yards but no touchdowns.
14. Jaguars – Remaining schedule favorable.
15. Chargers – Not who I thought they might be.
16. Redskins – Mueller should bring charges.
17. Dolphins – Yuk!
18. Texans – Better find their identity soon.
19. Titans – Not much to say here.
20. Packers – Showdown time in the NFC North.
21. Bears – Defense appears to be fixed.
22. Ravens – Need to make a move soon.
23. Raiders – Move might be weighing on them.
24. Broncos – At least they won a Super Bowl.
25. Bengals – Must-win game in Jax.
26. Jets – They know what the issues are.
27. Bucs – Could be in free fall.
28. Cardinals – Could get ugly in San Francisco.
29. Giants – Play for the top pick or their honor?
30. Colts – They play hard.
31. Browns – Poor London had to see this.
32. 49ers – They get their first win this week.
*Winners of the “Most Ridiculous Play of the Week Award.”
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, if you were the Packers’ GM, would you have traded a draft pick for Jimmy Garoppolo?
No. No. 1, it would be a middle-of-the-season act of desperation, and they’re seldom successful. No. 2, the Patriots are astute evaluators of talent, and if they thought Garoppolo was a big-time quarterback, they wouldn’t be trading him. There will be plenty of college quarterbacks from which to choose when the Packers decide it’s time to find Aaron Rodgers’ successor. The immediate challenge is to find out if Brett Hundley can lead the Packers to the postseason and, in the process, become that quarterback of the future. Picks, not players.
Steve from Spooner, WI
What do you think of the Patriots’ trade? Are they really gambling on Brady to stay healthy for the next eight weeks? Will they now use their first-round pick to take a QB in the draft? What a bold, brash and risky move to capture as much value as possible for a player that becomes a cap issue at the end of the season.
The Patriots are firm believers in value, just as I am. They get full value for their players, and I am in awe of their personnel management skills. This trade is about one thing, in my opinion: Getting value that can be used in the future out of a player they believe they can replace in the present. I think the Patriots are telling us they think Jimmy Garoppolo is just a guy.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
Vic What's your pet peeve with today's NFL?
The officials talk too much. “By rule, the penalty results in a first down.” Really? I needed to be told that? I like the way baseball does replay. The umpire gets his ruling and then gestures out or safe. These officiating explanations in the NFL sound namby-pamby.
Holger from Ecuador
Does Martell Bennett’s decision to retire mean Aaron Rodgers will not be the same after his injury? After all, he did sign a three-year deal and now he wants to retire. Big change of mind in a matter of a few months.
I think it means he needed some attention; that’s the only purpose this kind of theatrics serves.
Brian from Yakima, WA
What’s your take on Cam Newton’s recent interaction with the media?
He needs to change his attitude toward the media. It’s become a distraction and it’s hurting his game.
Mike from Somerset, WI
Vic, what does Brett Hundley have to do to beat the Lions?
He needs to be error free and throw for 200 yards. I think that’s a fair expectation. If he achieves that level of performance, the burden falls on every other aspect of the Packers. The finger then points to the defense, the running game and special teams. I thought those aspects of the Packers’ performance against the Saints were good enough to win. I don’t expect Hundley to be “The Man,” but he needs to be a contributor.
Mike from McFarland, WI
One pleads guilty, two others indicted and it’s just getting started. Wish you weren't covering sports?
And every day you get a new tweet controversy. Covering sports is boring compared to covering politics.
Chris from Bozeman, MT
Vic, as a Packers fan, I love your stuff. Read you long enough to know your comment on the Packers needing to go QB in round one was an example of you having fun and enjoying retirement. No. 12 still has it; they just need a little more grit as a team and get back to winning one-on-ones.
No, I was being serious. When your quarterback is in his mid-30s, you should begin thinking of finding and grooming a replacement. That philosophy worked pretty well for the Packers the last time they did it, right? Look at what the Chiefs did this year. In Rodgers’ case, the injury can’t be dismissed. Thirteen screws in a bone attached to your quarterback’s throwing arm is a daunting fact. If Hundley fails to prove he’s the man for the future, I think it would only make sense to consider drafting a quarterback. If you wait until Rodgers retires, you’re going to go away for a while, and sometimes those teams don’t come back for a long time.
John from Jefferson, WI
Vic, would it be considered victim blaming to insinuate Rodgers was asking for a hit via all the belts?
You can call it whatever you want, but the football field is a nasty place populated by nasty men, and all those belts and free plays aren’t a formula for making friends.
Tim from Lancaster, PA
What teams should we stick the proverbial fork in? Who should we be watching out for in November and December?
It’s too early for forks. November is when the real contenders begin to emerge. I gotta tell you, I like what I saw in the Lions on Sunday night. They’re no longer a will-o'-the-wisp. I saw some toughness and resolve.
Patrick from Fort Collins, CO
Hey, Vic, good to have you back online. The Internet just wasn't the same without you. What is your take on the Packers defense after multiple years with high draft picks invested? The approach seems right, but the results don't seem to match the amount invested.
We’ll know by season’s end where this rebuild stands and what the grade should be. I see some good things happening in the secondary.
Ben from Alameda, CA
Jeremy Lane failed his physical. In a sport that glorifies playing through pain and injury, what does failing a physical mean? How subjective are the findings?
They check everything. My favorite failed physical story is from a Bills tight end named Paul Seymour. It was 1978 and Seymour was traded to the Steelers for a very good wide receiver named Frank Lewis. Seymour failed the Steelers’ physical when he was judged to have fallen arches. The Steelers returned Seymour to the Bills – never played another down – but the Bills didn’t return Lewis to the Steelers. Chuck Knox, a Pittsburgh native, said the trade wasn’t contingent on passing a physical. Chuck Noll was furious, claiming it had long been a gentleman’s agreement players had to pass their physical. The next time the Steelers played the Bills, we hammered Knox pretty hard on the Seymour subject in the conference call before the game.
I got a lot of positive feedback on Mike Ryan’s explanation of Aaron Rodgers’ injury, so I’ve decided to make Mike’s work a regular feature of this column. Here’s a recent video he did on Zach Miller’s frightening injury. https://www.facebook.com/SNFonNBC/videos/1733718663347752/