"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Here are my all-important Week 12 power rankings:
1. Chiefs -- Nobody does it better.
2. Steelers -- Running game spotty.
3. Saints -- They just keep winning.
4. Seahawks -- I might be giving them too much respect.
5. Bills -- Time for cold-weather football.
6. Colts -- Keep an eye on these guys.
7. Titans -- Henry is "The Man."
8. Rams -- Playing their best football.
9. Ravens -- Playoffs could be on the line.
10. Bucs -- Where would they be with Jameis Winston?
11. Packers -- Time for the most overrated rivalry in professional sports.
12. Browns -- Are they as good as their record?
13. Raiders -- Al Davis Memorial Torch?
14. Cardinals -- Flash and dash.
15. Dolphins -- Honeymoon might be over for Tua.
16. Panthers -- True grit!
17. 49ers -- Now or never.
18. Bears -- Back to Trubisky?
19. Broncos -- Irrelevant.
20. Giants -- Won't have to face Joe Burrow.
21. Chargers -- They're gonna love Buffalo at this time of year.
23. Patriots -- Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
24. Cowboys -- McCarthy in control.
22. Vikings -- They don't get it done.
25. Washington -- Big game in Big D.
26. Eagles -- Wentz is in free fall.
27. Texans -- Who will luck into this job?
28. Lions -- Change coming, again.
29. Bengals -- Leaned too hard on Burrow.
30. Falcons -- I'm lost for words.
31. Jaguars -- They aren't pushovers.
32. Jets -- Nobody does it worse.
Barry from Hayward, WI
Vic, is anybody going to be able to stop the Steelers this regular season?
There were times on Sunday when the Jaguars outplayed the Steelers. Nobody in the NFL is unstoppable. Catch Mahomes on a bad day or match up well with his receivers and they're beatable, too.
Nate from Plymouth, MN
On Monday, I listened to a PFF podcast during which they did a segment called "Things That Are Tougher Than The Packers," which basically consisted of them listing a bunch of things that are tougher than the Green Bay Packers. Among the items listed are marshmallows, Charmin Ultra-Soft toilet paper and Jell-O. I don't really have a question, I just thought you might find that amusing, and I think Packer nation is just going to have to take shots like that on the chin until our team can win games without favorable penalties or free-play trickery.
I do the hard count in my house on Etta Mae. She doesn't even flinch.
Nick from Annapolis, MD
This is a stretch, I know, but is James Robinson comparable to Emmitt Smith?
Robinson has Smith's slithering kind of straight ahead power. If the Jaguars hired me to be their coach, I'd get Robinson a fullback, just as Smith had Daryl Johnston. We'd get you down there in that heat and humidity and make you beg for a burger and an aisle seat.
Keith from Spring Lake Park, MN
"Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy pulled out a sledgehammer during Saturday night’s team meeting and smashed watermelons like Gallagher to emphasize their objectives. Players roared, then responded with an inspired win in Minnesota." As you say, a leader of men.
It's a tension breaker. Coach Noll told his team stories they didn't understand: the two monks, the fair maiden and the babbling brook; the Corinthians burning their boats. Coach Cowher spliced pictures of pin up girls into game tape. McCarthy is big on the Saturday night meeting. He's always had his video people put together something to focus his team. I like the watermelons idea. It's a good visual.
Joe from Tampa, FL
Both Green Bay and Pittsburgh have had "The Man" for more than a decade. The Steelers built a strong defense, the Packers have failed to do so. With league rules favoring offense, does it make more sense to assume an average offense will score points and build a top defense?
Offense is the expensive side of the ball and there's no way around that because you can't win without a quarterback and eventually you have to pay him and he's going to kill your cap. You also have to give him protectors and weapons. In my opinion, the way to build a football team in today's game is to get everything you can out of your draft classes, keep your core people and then patch in affordable free agency. The Steelers have done an outstanding job of drafting, managing their cap and patching. I think Kevin Colbert is the executive of the year. Spillane was a street free agent. Trading away a first-round pick for Fitzpatrick was shocking, but the Steelers got Fitzpatrick on his rookie contract, so he not only fixed the secondary, he helped fix the Steelers' cap. Colbert drafted Claypoole in the second round and he's outplaying most first-round picks. In the third round, Colbert picked Highsmith from Charlotte. I had trouble even finding information on him, but he's become an immediate contributor. His interception was the turning point in the Steelers' win over the Ravens. Colbert was criticized for reaching to pick Edmunds in the first round a few years ago; he intercepted two passes this past Sunday. Building a team requires a unique vision for talent, how it fits in your scheme, on your cap and within the personality of your franchise. The pieces have to fit.
Anthony from Milwaukee, WI
What was the Packers' defensive game plan on Sunday? It seems like they were so scared of T.Y. Hilton, who really hasn't done anything all season, they let everyone else go off on them? "Let's play six defensive backs the entire game. No way they will run all over us if we do that!"
The Packers play a lot of nickel and dime because that gets their best players on the field. Preston Smith covering Trey Burton? Linebacker is the Packers' weakness, and that's the position featured in a 3-4 scheme. The pieces just aren't fitting.
Josh from Holgate, OH
Vic, I don't really get the spike when the Packers were down to the 15-yard line with about 45 seconds left. Why waste a down?
They would rather reset their offense with the clock stopped, instead of Rodgers doing it at the line of scrimmage while the clock is running. The time that's saved is worth the down that's spent.
Mike from Bridgeport, CT
Luton was excellent on Sunday. The Jets are the real problem.
I think I get what you're doing there.
Rob from Superior, CO
Is the honeymoon for LaFleur over?
He always has his team ready to play and his win-loss record is outstanding. What disturbs me is he has yet to put his stamp on his team. I see nothing broadly different from the McCarthy era. It's still Rodgers' team, it's his stamp. Can the Packers win it all that way? I believe they can, but if it doesn't happen this year, then it needs to be blown up.
John from Brandon, SD
When you can’t run the ball for one yard, whether it's third or fourth down, you won’t be playing in late January.
That's not true. I'm as chafed by the fourth-and-one as you are, but short yardage is a league-wide problem. Tomlin went for a fourth-and-one in his own territory in the fourth quarter on Sunday, and Conner had to bounce it to the outside or he would've been stuffed. The problem, as I see it, is the distance between the line of scrimmage and the exchange point. It's giving defenses a chance to move the line of scrimmage backward. That's why I favor what the Colts did with Brissett. Get a big guy under center and push. Get to the defense before the defense gets to you.
Casey from York, PA
I have enjoyed Aikman’s commentary over the years but it seems he’s starting to go down the rabbit hole of over-analyzing. Do you agree? Think he’s feeling pressure from the network or does he just want to show he knows as much as the other former Cowboys QB doing commentary?
I think Troy Aikman, he was on his game this past Sunday.
Billy from Verona, WI
Running the ball does solve everything. Eight straight runs to get the Colts’ offense going.
Going no-huddle to run the ball gave me a warm feeling inside.