Here are my Week 15 power rankings:
1. Eagles – They deserve it, but now what?
2. Steelers – OK, let’s see what you got.
3. Patriots – Yes, coach, they were looking ahead.
4. Panthers – Playing their best football now.
5. Saints – Schedule favors them.
6. Vikings – That wasn’t Zimmerball in Carolina.
7. Rams – Defense down to No. 18.
8. Falcons – Rematch in New Orleans will decide their fate.
9. Jaguars – No. 1 in rushing and against the pass.
10. Seahawks – Big one against visiting Rams.
11. Chargers – Showdown in Kansas City.
12. Ravens – Scored 38 and lost.
13. Bills – McCoy might be the best back in the league.
14. Lions – They’re being overlooked.
15. Cowboys – Need help.
16. Chiefs – If they lose on Saturday, look out.
17. Dolphins – Where was that all season?
18. Packers – With win in Carolina, they’ll move way up.
19. Cardinals – Need “The Man.”
20. Titans – Maybe they don’t have “The Man.”
21. Raiders – Rankings tell the tale.
22. Jets – Bowles deserves more time.
23. Redskins – Gruden running out of time.
24. Bengals – Beat up.
25. 49ers – Impressive run against bad teams.
26. Bears – Fox deserves more time, too.
27. Bucs – Discipline begins at quarterback.
28. Broncos – Headed for offseason reconstruction.
29. Texans – Need to address offensive line.
30. Colts – A lot of narrow losses.
31. Giants – Eli back, but losing continues.
32. Browns – Coach to blame for late-game collapse.
Ben from Hilo, HI
What did we learn about Brett Hundley during his time at the helm?
We learned he’s worthy of development. We learned he’s a quality No. 2 with the potential to be a No. 1. I think we learned he’s a player with trade value. That’s as far as I’ll go with the sample we have.
Brian from Kingston, NY
You've expressed your opinion the Packers should seriously consider drafting a QB high this year. I'm curious what you would do in this scenario: Packers are on the clock. Somehow Lamar Jackson is still available, as are three other players who you consider to have elite potential; a corner, offensive lineman and a pass rusher. Your phone is ringing off the hook with trade offers for Jackson. Do you take him, trade the pick or take another one of those guys?
I believe the Packers have reached the point they shouldn’t take a first-round quarterback off their board because they have Aaron Rodgers. I believe they should pick a quarterback in the first round if he’s at the top of their board. What if they get a trade offer? Well, how high is the pick offered? The draft, in my opinion, is all about value.
Joseph from Dillon, MT
You have mentioned you think the reverse draft order has weakened the Packers' roster. Where do you think it needs the most help?
It’s not that it’s weakened the Packers, it’s that it’s strengthened the competition that’s drafted above the Packers. Le’Veon Bell is the perfect example. The Packers loved him; he was their guy. The Steelers were expected to pick Eddie Lacy; he was the Bettis-like pounder they craved. Right before the draft, however, the Steelers found out Lacy had a fused big toe, and they came off him because they were afraid he would have a short career. Bell became their guy and a somewhat surprise pick by the Steelers. The Packers then traded back and picked Lacy. So, what if the Steelers had picked Lacy and the Packers had picked Bell? Would the Packers have won that game at Heinz Field a few weeks back? If they had, their playoff prospects would be significantly better today. Do you see how one guy picked ahead of you can change everything? That’s what the inverse draft order does, and it’s been that way forever. I can go back to the 1982 draft and a player named Marcus Allen. The Steelers loved him. He was their guy, but the Raiders were making the move to Los Angeles and, being from USC, Allen was the guy who would help root the Raiders in LA. The Raiders picked Allen two picks ahead of the Steelers, who settled for Walter Abercrombie. Need I say more? As for your question, I think the Packers need a young pass rusher. I’m glad Kevin King is the player he appears to be because T.J. Watt was a perfect fit for the Packers.
William from Savannah, GA
Vic, I hope you got a chance to watch the Army-Navy game. I love pro football, but to me this game represents what football is all about better than the Super Bowl.
It’s a wonderful game. I love its discipline and genuineness. It’s a game for football purists. The Super Bowl is a game for people who don’t even know who’s playing in it.
Randy from Medicine Hat, Alberta
I was wishing they would have telecast the Bills/Colts game here; there is something about snow games I love. Is there a better runner in a foot of snow than Shady McCoy?
I think an argument could be made for McCoy being the best back in the league. He doesn’t have a Roethlisberger or Goff as his quarterback; everybody is keying on stopping McCoy. I was close to a GM who loved McCoy as a draft prospect, but he didn’t take him with his second-round pick, as I expected he would. So, after the draft, I said to the GM, “Why didn’t you pick McCoy?” He looked me right in the eyes, put his finger in my chest and said, “He scored 35 touchdowns in two years and everybody knew who was getting the ball.” OK, I said, so why didn’t you pick him? The GM said nothing and then walked away with a disgusted look on his face. Oh, I had to get to the bottom of this, and I did. The GM had sent his running backs coach to Pitt for McCoy’s pro day, at which McCoy tested poorly in the broad jump, which is thought to indicate explosion. The coach returned with a negative report on McCoy. “He has no explosion,” the report said. Wanting to be a consensus builder, the young GM trusted his coach’s instincts instead of his own. Every time I see McCoy stick his foot in the ground and “hear” that bang, I think of the “no explosion” report. McCoy is one of the best one-cut-and-go backs I’ve ever seen. That combine crap can be a killer.
Michael from Salt Lake City, UT
How can someone question the intelligence of Big Ben? Last I saw, Tom Brady has plays written on his arm, as well.
If Brady wears a plays wristband, every quarterback in the league should wear one.
Zachary from Fullerton, CA
So, elite quarterbacks cover up the same problem they create?
Bingo! They are the problem and the solution.
James from San Francisco, CA
In regard to Balint from Hungary's email, I feel sorry for him. He's clearly never played football and could never possibly appreciate the human confrontation this game is built upon. Yes, it’s a violent, nasty game, but that’s what elevates these men from mere mortals to demigods. He can keep his fantasy team and his sanitized view of the game. Give me the guts and glory of the men who put their bodies on the line every week. If the game I grew up loving becomes what Balint wants, then he can keep it. Or he can keep watching soccer.
The more forceful the contact, the greater the confrontation, and the more I like it. Steelers-Bengals games cross the line, and that’s bad, but it sends a message I like and which I believe today’s game desperately needs: When those two teams play, it’s about more than the money.
John from Oakdale, MN
I think Balint from Budapest nailed it. If the NFL can't reduce the violence and resulting serious injuries to players, the game will die a slow death. I'm shocked you don't show any support for this view.
I support the player-safety movement, but I disagree with your slow death comment. Even though I’ve written football’s popularity wasn’t built on safe, I’ve come to believe America can’t live without football. As long as the NFL has a CBA and there are young men from poverty tough enough and desperate enough to play this game, there will be professional football and it’ll grow in popularity. By the way, how’d you like the Brent Musburger “Snowflakes” comment? Hilarious!
Ryan from Neenah, WI
While I am enjoying the ride and some hope of playoffs for the Packers, the odds are heavily against them. They aren't getting the help they need. Even if we run the table, I don't expect to get all the help necessary for a playoff appearance. What do you think of the Packers’ chances at this point?
They’re not good, and that’s what makes it great.
Pat from Seneca, SC
Vic, some data for your readers: Over the past 10 years, the Packers have had the fewest top-20 draft picks of any team in the NFL, one. The rest of the league has averaged more than six such selections over that time.
Success carries with it a harsh penalty.
Tristan from Durham, NC
Vic, how can you tell when a team is past its peak and the arrow is pointing down? Is it another you know it when you see it, or are there signs?
It’s a Potter Stewart.
Matt from Madison, WI
What do you think of NFL football being played on a Saturday?
This isn’t something new. This goes back to the ‘70s and Pete Rozelle’s post-merger genius. Hey, if college football is dumb enough to give the NFL an extra day to market its product, so be it. It wouldn’t happen if I was the czar of college football. I guarantee, we’d be playing playoff games this weekend. College football is the most poorly run big-time sports operation in the world. It deserve everything it gets. Get ready for some more terrible TV ratings for this year’s playoffs.
Braden from Waukesha, WI
Forget the playoffs for a second, I'm just excited for meaningful December football. What are your expectations for Rodgers on Sunday?
He’s Aaron Rodgers. He’s the next best thing to Tom Brady, which means the expectations are always for greatness. Not very fair, is it? I’ll say it again: He’s the best I’ve ever covered.
Joe from Dundee, IL
Vic, are you surprised none of the Seahawks players got a suspension after the end-of-game situations in the Jaguars game?
Joe, I’m sorry, but I’m just not into this crime and punishment baloney. I don’t think Gronk or JuJu should’ve been suspended. I think that’s a penalty the fans shouldn’t have to bear. Fine the players big, really big, but don’t suspend them. Make them play for free; it’ll stop. If the players really want to promote player safety, they’ll agree to this.
Kent from Summerville, SC
Vic, I'm hitting the Plantation course in Edisto on Thursday, then, sadly, moving back to Iowa on Friday. This will be my last golf for a while. Any tips for this course?
It doesn’t have a range, so stop at the range on the way into town, and have a 5-dollar bill or five ones with you because the range is on the honor system. You’ll have to cross water with a long shot on the first hole.
Neb from Belgrade, Serbia
Vic, are you looking forward to writing all next week?
You bet I am. Askvic.us is enjoying its best-ever week; the numbers have never been higher. Isn’t December wonderful?