"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Here are my all-important Week 13 power rankings:
1. Chiefs -- By far the best.
2. Steelers -- See last week.
3. Saints -- Can they continue winning without Brees?
4. Titans -- They pound you.
5. Bills -- Sleeper team.
6. Seahawks -- Do they have another gear?
7. Colts -- Laid an egg vs. Titans.
8. Ravens -- Super spreaders.
9. Packers -- NFC version of the Chiefs.
10. Rams -- Goff doesn't get it done.
11. Bucs -- Brady not Brady.
12. Browns -- Winning streak will end in Tennessee.
13. Raiders -- Late-season fade?
14. Cardinals -- Must beat Rams.
15. Vikings -- Cousins is "The Man."
16. 49ers -- Big game vs. Bills.
17. Dolphins -- Favorable schedule.
18. Panthers -- They lose the close ones.
19. Washington -- They have my attention.
20. Giants -- All four in the NFC East will lose.
21. Chargers -- Best 3-8 team in the league.
22. Patriots -- Hopes on the line at Chargers.
23. Texans -- Too late now.
24. Broncos -- Can't win without quarterbacks.
25. Eagles -- Lack weapons.
26. Bengals -- Two wins and the coach is safe.
27. Falcons -- They could upset the Saints.
28. Lions -- Now who?
29. Jaguars -- First shoe drops.
30. Cowboys -- Embarrassing defense.
31. Jets -- Bad uniforms, bad team, bad everything.
32. Bears -- Nagy: "Flat out embarrassing."
Bob from Sicklerville, WI
With the Packers run defense being the consensus biggest obstacle to overcome for a Super Bowl run, I'm reminded of the 2006 Colts team that had a terrible run defense during the regular season, then turned it on in the playoffs. Can you provide any analysis as to how they achieved that transformation seemingly overnight? Is it possible for the Packers defense to attain a similar transformation this year?
Bob Sanders returned to the lineup; that was the game-changer for the Colts. In Week 14 of the '06 season, with Sanders absent from the lineup, the Colts allowed the Jaguars to rush for 375 yards. With Sanders back in the lineup, the Colts allowed a total of 331 yards in four postseason games. Can such a transformation occur for the Packers? Yes, if someone comes out of nowhere to be the Bob Sanders of 2020.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
Vic, Lambeau Field appeared to have a much longer turf than usual. If so, and by design, would it be to slow down the speed of the game? During your career, were there any obvious homefield grounds-keeping decisions that caught your eye?
What you're describing has been an issue in college football, but not in the NFL. I remember a Pitt at Notre Dame game, when Tony Dorsett was coming off a 303-yard game against Notre Dame the previous season. The grass was so long a golf ball disappeared when it was dropped into the grass. Crowns were a big deal on the fields of teams that ran the wishbone. Talk about downhill runners. That's the kind of lack of standardization that has always plagued college football. The NFL has long been vigilant in maintaining a level playing field in every way.
Jim from Maple Grove, MN
Vic, what is the impact of all the schedule changes the Steelers have endured this season due to another team's issues with Covid? If you were the commissioner, would you do anything to compensate the Steelers?
Everybody knew it was going to be a challenge to conduct a fair and credible season in the midst of a pandemic. I applaud the Steelers for accepting their plight without complaint. If I was the commissioner, I would compensate the Steelers with a public thank you.
Justin from Delray Beach, FL
Vic, in regards to Jordan Love, could it not be true that after committing to Rodgers but seeing the lackluster performance of backups who now fetch a hefty price, the Packers grabbed onto what they deem to be a worthwhile stand-in at a more affordable price?
You're rationalizing. You're trying to make excuses for a decision that doesn't look too good right now. Affordable price? The Packers spent a first-round pick and a four-year, fully guaranteed contract on a player you hope never has to play. I'm not OK with that price because Love isn't a backup, he's a prospect. A backup is a player of a proven level of performance. If Rodgers remains the Packers' quarterback through his contract, drafting Love will have been a major goof. The player the Packers didn't draft in the first round might've become their Bob Sanders.
Bob from Marietta, GA
When you say "the Bears didn't come to play," what things did you notice?
Corey Fuller ducked tackles all night. Roquan Smith made Za'Darius Smith look like Dick Butkus. I wasn't crazy about what I saw from Khalil Mack, either. I know quit when I see it and the Bears shut it down early.
Zach from Chicago, IL
Vic, you got to cover and speak with Aaron Rodgers directly. Do you believe his improvement in play this season is at all related to the Love pick?
I do. Rodgers is a proud, ultra-competitive man. He takes offense at the least little snub. I remember doing a one-on-one with him in which I asked him a question about Jeff Tedford system quarterbacks. I thought he was going to get up and walk out of the interview. He didn't like the Love pick and I don't blame him. I think it gave him a new chip on his shoulder. Frankly, I saw a hangdog look on Rodgers' face at times last season. I haven't seen it this year. He's newly focused and hungry looking. Yes, I think the Love pick did that to Rodgers, so, if you're looking for something to like about the Love pick, there it is.
Chad from Kansas City, MO
Have you ever watched a professional team actively try and embarrass the opponent by running up the score?
I can't remember having seen it happen. Coaches get to a comfortable lead and then go into protection mode. I've seen coaches push the comfort level a little too much -- Tom Coughlin did that and it cost Tavian Banks his career -- and I think Matt LaFleur might've been guilty of that when he nearly got Lazard killed, but it wasn't because LaFleur wanted to embarrass the Bears.
Brad from Thunder Bay, Ontario
It would be hard to take Jones and Williams out, but when the game is under control, as it was in the second half Sunday evening, why don’t we see more of A.J. Dillon? Doesn’t the team want to see what they’ve got, plus give him game experience?
The Packers see Dillon in practice every day. All practices are videotaped and then reviewed. The Packers know what they've got. Also, Dillon is on the Covid list.
Alex from Racine, WI
As a runner, who does Derrick Henry remind you of?
I see some of Eric Dickerson's upright power.
Nick from Owego, NY
Are there any skills unique to being a successful college head coach when compared to a successful NFL head coach and vice-versa? Are there different questions Athletic Director Vic asks during the coach interview than GM Vic asks?
They're different games with different rules and processes. A coach who doesn't know college football's sophisticated recruiting rules could unknowingly put his program on probation. When Lou Holtz left college football for the Jets, he didn't know the rules of the NFL waivers claim system. An AD needs to know a coaching prospect is up to speed with NCAA rules compliance, and a GM needs to know a coaching prospect understands the inner workings of the salary cap.
Eric from San Francisco, CA
Vic, I don't know of any great personnel evaluator trees that could be shaken to find the next Jaguars GM. How does Shad Khan go about finding that person?
Khan owns an NFL team. If he doesn't know who the top personnel prospects are, then we've identified the Jaguars' first problem in the hiring process. GM doesn't ask Ford how to build cars.
Matt from Minneapolis, MN
Vic, I’m surprised at your rip the bandage off approach to Love, considering your usual mantra of “What’s the rush?” when it comes to “The Man.” If Love is "The Man," he’ll be "The Man" in two years as well. Let him sit and learn from the best and if he isn’t ready when it’s his time, it will be clear what needs to be done.
What's the rush? Rodgers' age is the rush. In two years he'll be 39 and his trade value will be greatly reduced. I think the Packers could get a huge return in a trade this offseason. It's value the Packers could use to dramatically improve their roster. I think this is the year to get that elusive one more title in the Rodgers era. All of the calls and the breaks, including a favorable schedule, are going the Packers' way. Hey, two different Packers grabbed Trubisky's facemask on the same play and neither grab was flagged. That kind of luck isn't going to last forever. In my mind, this is it. If the Packers can't get it done this year, it's time to move on.
Nick from Milwaukee, WI
What is Vic’s kind of pizza?
The worst pizza I ever ate was great. I love pizza. I like to buy frozen pizzas, the plain kind. Then I put my own fresh toppings on them: green pepper, onion, tomato, ham and a little extra tomato sauce and cheese.