"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the football season.
Here's the "Ask Vic" Week 15 power rankings:
1. Saints -- Back in the top spot.
2. Rams -- Not playing their best football.
3. Chiefs -- Mahomes masks soft defense.
4. Chargers -- Rivers' best chance.
5. Cowboys -- It's all coming together.
6. Seahawks -- The team you don't want to face.
7. Bears -- But can they beat the Packers?
8. Patriots -- Finding ways to lose.
9. Texans -- Not so fast, my friend.
10. Titans -- It's all up to Mariota.
11. Colts -- Don't count them out.
12. Browns -- Best team in the AFC North.
13. Ravens -- Saving Harbaugh's job.
14. Vikings -- Clinging to sixth seed.
15. Steelers -- Dark days have begun.
16. Eagles -- Tough to repeat.
17. Dolphins -- Worst 7-6 team in the league.
18. Broncos -- Respectable.
19. Panthers -- The wheels have fallen off.
20. Packers -- Spirit will be tested in Chicago.
21. Giants -- Barkley might be the best back in the league.
22. Washington -- All is lost.
23. Lions -- Non-descript season.
24. Bucs -- Could make a move next season.
25. Falcons -- They quit.
26. Bengals -- Change soon to happen.
27. Jets -- Darnold gives them hope.
29. Bills -- Allen going through growing pains.
29. Jaguars -- Lack discipline.
30. 49ers -- Really not that far off.
31. Raiders -- X-ray machine gets a game ball.
32. Cardinals -- Three points? Really?
Chad from Kansas City, MO
What does it all mean, Vic? I can't wait for Sunday.
Don't seek meaning, seek entertainment. There is no meaning until a new head coach is hired. That's when change begins and change is the team's future.
Ben from Indianapolis, IN
If the Browns and Packers both get a Christmas miracle, will in-season coaching changes become more popular?
I think we're headed for more of it either way. The fans love to fire the coach. It's a mania and it fuels interest and creates positive energy. It doesn't matter who the coach is. Belichick? I wonder how many Patriots fans said "Belichick should be fired" following that final play in Miami last Sunday. McVay? The boy genius couldn't even score a touchdown against the Bears. What if McVay fails again to win a playoff game? Should he be fired? John DeFilippo? His name was floated as a possible successor to Mike McCarthy. Yesterday, he was fired from his job as Vikings offensive coordinator. Fire the coach is the hottest trend in football. It's the music that soothes the savage soul. Steelers legend Rocky Bleier has even gotten into the act. He wants the kicker cut and the defensive coordinator and Mike Tomlin fired. If you can stand back from all of this and maintain a sense of balance, this flurry of childish, irrational behavior is comical to observe.
Mike from Des Moines, IA
Is the Bears defense that good? Was it the cold? Both?
No, McVay spilled hair tonic on his play-call sheet.
Joshua from Mankato, MN
I’m sure Philbin is a good coach, but you can’t argue with history. I can’t recall an instance when replacing a fired coach with one of his assistants has succeeded. Teams just end up with a simulacrum of the head coach they just fired. Better to start fresh, don’t you think?
The Bengals tried it with Dick LeBeau, but LeBeau wasn't a simulacrum. It looked like it was going to work, but then it didn't work. You could probably say that about 90 percent of the coaches hired: It looked like it was going to work, but then it didn't work.
Jason from Austin, TX
Vic, what was your reaction when you saw how the Miami game ended?
It didn't surprise me. That's today's game: 99-yard touchdown runs and wild open-field runs on the final play of the game. The Steelers did the same lateral thing in Oakland -- sometimes I think the NFL distributes a uni-playbook -- but then the kicker slipped and fell on a shortish field goal try. Drama is off the charts. Roethlisberger rose from the dead to lead a potential game-winning, 75-yard touchdown drive, but he made the mistake of scoring too quickly. I guess he wasn't hurt enough. Nothing surprises me anymore. A few weeks ago, Carolina looked like a killer, now it looks like road kill. The Jaguars went from shutting out the Colts to being trampled by the Titans; the Colts went from being shutout to beating the hottest team in the AFC. FULL CONSISTENCY? How about FULL INSANITY? The best advice I can give fans are three words I learned from the late, great Frank Gansz: "Come to balance!" Seriously, for your own sake, don't become so emotionally invested in today's NFL that losing causes you to become unhinged. Today's NFL is a wild game meant to attract and entertain casual fans. Maintain a safe emotional distance from it. No game is worth despair.
Rik from Santa Fe, NM
What do you think of the way the Saints are using Taysom Hill this season? He actually blocked a punt this past weekend! In a nutshell, the fact the Packers cut him seems indicative of their lack of creativity on offense.
Hill will long be remembered as the player who took down the House of Thompson. Who would've thought? Thompson, McCarthy, Capers: They're all gone now. Hill did it. Of the seven deadly football sins, lack of creativity is the greatest.
Matt from Philadelphia, PA
Vic, you’re on a roll with metaphors lately.
I know, Matt, and thanks for noticing.
Hans from Virginia
Vic, I still remember the gist of the first question you ever answered of mine on packers.com back in 2011. It made me laugh at myself, and then think more deeply. I appreciate the unique perspective you have added to my football fan experience over the years. All the best.
I knew a kid named Hans. He was anorexic. He ate the apple turnover I was saving for breakfast and then threw it up on my powder room wall. In the morning, my apple turnover was gone and I had to clean up the powder room. I hate that name.
Craig from Twentynine Palms, CA
Now that Mike McCarthy is gone, that leaves three head coaches still in their same positions since he was hired: Bill Belichick (2000), Marvin Lewis (2003) and Sean Payton (2006). Let's stretch one more year to include Mike Tomlin (2007) in this list. Obviously, Belichick's success speaks for itself and Payton's Saints are retooled and resurgent. Tomlin has a Super Bowl win, never has had a below-.500 season and, besides, as you explained recently, there isn't a hot seat in Pittsburgh anyway. In my mind, that leaves Coach Lewis as the odd man out. To me, the Bengals are the very definition of an average team. Some good seasons with immediate playoff losses in the wild card round, mixed in with mediocre and downright poor seasons. Why is he still there?
Maybe Mike Brown believes Lewis is a good coach and wanted to give him every opportunity to succeed. It's unfortunate Brown's faith and patience have gone unrewarded. I think this season's collapse will be too much for Brown to endure.
Ryan from Green Bay, WI
Reggie McKenzie out. A guy who drafts Derek Carr, Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. Football is a funny thing, Vic. What do you think?
It's the new NFL. Somebody has to take the fall for losing and it wasn't going to be Gruden with the money he's owed. Fans want someone to be fired because it's a way for them to release their anger. In that sense, it's probably healthy. Maybe I should stop resisting the trend.
Aaron from White Hall, AR
I agree with your statements on the Cleveland Browns and I've been telling people with the way that division is going, Cleveland will be top dogs in that division for the next 5-10 years. Who should they hire as head coach if they can't get Mike McCarthy?
Why would they be unable to get McCarthy? I can't imagine a better fit for McCarthy or for the Browns. Fate arranged this.
Tony from California
Vic, as a Packers fan, what kind of major change should I prepare myself for next season?
A new head coach usually means a new coaching staff and new ways, all the way down to new training methods, nutrition habits, training camp practice schedules, etc. When Bill Cowher replaced Chuck Noll, Cowher briefly moved the Steelers' bench to the other side of the field. What offense will the new coach run? Ball control, spread, misdirection? Zone blocking or drive blocking? Two tight ends or fullback? How about on defense: 3-4 or 4-3? The time is right to make the move to a 4-3 because the Packers don't have the outside linebackers a 3-4 needs, but if they make that move, they need to start drafting true 4-3 ends. So, you see, a new coach can mean major personnel changes. A new coach can also mean a new media policy. Will he be more or less media friendly? Will he conduct his press conferences at the same or different times? These are all questions Mark Murphy will ask of the candidates. It's not all about what play the coach will run on third-and-two. The Packers want to know they'll be hiring a guy who'll cooperate with the bicycle riding tradition, for example. They want to know he won't try to close training camp to fans. Murphy will seek change while protecting tradition.
Matt from Georgetown, TX
Vic, the Packers have a poll on their site to pick the best moment in their first 100 years. What moment would get your vote and why?
I would go with the victory over the Falcons because everything is fixed now and it looks like the Packers are going to the Super Bowl. That sneak thing is so long ago and the players back then were funny looking.
Anthony from Baraboo, WI
Vic, how did Sean Payton weather three consecutive 7-9 seasons in New Orleans? Why haven’t Saints fans run him out of town for wasting the prime years of his future Hall of Fame quarterback? How did they forgive him for the multiple heartbreaking playoff losses? He even endured the scandal of Bountygate. Are Packers fans less forgiving, or just more spoiled?
Something like Katrina helps you achieve perspective.
Edward from Canton, SD
With 46 seconds to go in the first half, Aaron Rodgers got sacked and so the Falcons coach assumed they would have to punt and he called timeout to give his team a chance for a field goal before halftime. All he did was leave the Packers enough time to try a long field goal after they got the first down. Coach McCarthy made the same mistake too many times, and it's part of the reason l am not sorry he was let go.