"Ask Vic" is published on M-W-F through the regular season.
Here are my all-important Week 3 power rankings:
1. Bucs -- At the Rams this week.
2. Raiders -- Two quality wins.
3. Ravens -- Jackson shows why he's a star.
4. Rams -- Chance to take over the top spot.
5. 49ers -- Can they overcome injuries?
6. Chiefs -- Defense getting softer.
7. Bills -- Impressive recovery.
8. Browns -- Tyrod Taylor had them on the ropes.
9. Cardinals -- Should go to 3-0 in Jacksonville.
10. Panthers -- Darnold looks like "The Man."
11. Titans -- Just run, baby.
12. Seahawks -- Defense isn't all that.
13. Broncos -- Bridgewater giving them stability.
14. Saints -- Winston reverts.
15. Packers -- Playing to their identity again.
16. Dolphins -- Embarrassed by Bills.
17. Steelers -- Defense collapsed at crunch time.
18. Cowboys -- Showdown with Eagles in Dallas.
19. Chargers -- Just when everything looked so good.
20. Bengals -- At the test in Pittsburgh.
21. Washington -- Stand pat with Heinecke?
22. Patriots -- Mac Jones is Belichick's kind of QB.
23. Texans -- Now what?
24. Bears -- Time for Fields.
25. Eagles -- A little of this and not enough of that.
26. Colts -- Could be must win at Tennessee.
27. Giants -- They're not awful, but close.
28. Vikings -- They know how to lose the close ones.
29. Lions -- Not ready for prime time.
30. Falcons -- Poor Matt Ryan.
31. Jets -- Zach Wilson struggling.
32. Jaguars -- Seventeen straight.
Justin from Layton, UT
After two games, do you think the Super Bowl path is asking the defense to make a few plays and hoping Rodgers has the space on his back for the whole team?
In the second half of Monday night's game, the Packers regained their personality and identity, and Aaron Rodgers overwhelmed the Lions with a barrage of completions, hurry-up free plays and a shift in style and tempo from bridled to bold. All of a sudden, defense wasn't a problem and winning was easy. That's Packers football and as long as Rodgers is the team's quarterback, that's how the Packers have to play to have any chance of winning a championship. All is well again.
Michael from Seattle, WA
Under four minutes in the game, third and two, up by more than two scores and Rodgers is looking for the deep threat. Incomplete pass and stops the clock. What am I missing? Why not pound and run the clock?
With the win safely tucked away, Rodgers filled the air with passes. I couldn't help but smile. I got the strong sense Rodgers was sending a message to all of us and maybe even to his coach: This is my team and we're gonna do it my way.
Grant from Honolulu, HI
Aloha, Vic. Ravens at Heinz Field in December with playoffs on the line has been near the top of my bucket list. Tickets and flights are available at bargain prices. Two weeks into the season, I'm not so sure playoffs will be on the line for my Steelers come Week 13. I'm on the fence. Buy now?
I don't see the postseason in the Steelers' future this season. This is a rebuilding year. They have four rookies in the starting lineup on offense, a new offensive coordinator/scheme and they are struggling to run the ball, again. Roethlisberger and a potentially strong defense might make the Steelers contenders, but not much more. I'd wait a little longer. Ask me again a month from now.
Ben from Hilo, HI
I'm a member of your sons' generation; too young to have seen Jim Brown play. How does Derrick Henry compare against Jim Brown?
Henry is my kind of back, but he's not in Brown's league.
Michael from Niceville, FL
Hope all is well with you!
It's nice to be nice from Niceville. I'd have to move.
Paul from Cumming, GA
What do you see and hear about Matt Rhule in Carolina?
There's not a lot of interest in the Panthers where I live in South Carolina, so I don't hear much, but I like what I see. I see a potentially great coach. I see a coach who's a strong evaluator of talent. I see a coach who can pencil whip you but prefers to beat you with personnel, not scheme. I see a coach who might be in the process of reclaiming Sam Darnold's career. Darnold was impressive in the win over the Saints.
Eric from Green Bay, WI
Vic, the NFL is branded as a "next man up" league when it comes to injuries or free agency. However, is it reasonable to think you can replace Z. Smith, Bakhtiari and Lindsley but still get the same results?
No, and that's why I harp on avoiding unreasonable expectations. If you adjust your expectations accordingly, you'll avoid unnecessary frustration.
Greg from Minneapolis, MN
I just stumbled upon a piece of NFL history I was not aware of. It was a video in which the college football All-Stars were playing the Steelers in what I understand used to be an annual occurrence. Do you have any memories of these games?
Yes. It was the third quarter, the Steelers were leading 24-0 and it began to storm and rain heavily. The teams left the field, the game didn't happen any more and we all lived happily ever after. It was a bad game born of an era when football was the college game.
Dave from Savage, MN
The new emphasis on taunting penalties is taking a lot of flak and people are claiming no one wanted it. Do you think the NFL has data showing viewers/fans don’t like so much taunting?
I think the NFL decided to take action before taunting worsened and became a problem that would require more drastic measures. Vic to players: Just don't do it.
Isaac from Columbia, TN
We got to see a little more Eric Stokes on Monday night. Do you have any early impressions of the first-round pick?
He has the look of a natural squat corner in a cover two scheme, and I think that'll be his role through at least the early part of his rookie season.
Antonio from Kimberly, WI
I like Rashan Gary’s effort but, at best, he doesn’t seem any better than the second coming of Nick Perry. What do your eyes tell you?
I'm just as concerned about Darnell Savage. He made big strides last season but through two games this year he's been nearly invisible. Gary and Savage are major first-round investments. This is year three and they should be coming into their prime and asserting themselves as leaders on defense. My eyes aren't telling me they are.
Dan from St. Peters, MO
Was the rain the Packers' best defender on Monday?
What Jared Goff did is called soapdishing and it's common to small-hands quarterbacks when playing in cold or wet weather. Goff has tiny hands for an NFL quarterback. He's guaranteed to play more than half of every season indoors, but he was in the weather in Green Bay on Monday night and he was obviously struggling to control a wet football.
Fabio from London, UK
You do not like to single out players but can you share your view on Kevin King?
I don't mind commenting on players. I think King is improving and if I was a general manager with need at cornerback, he would interest me in free agency.