"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Here are my all-important Week 10 power rankings:
1. Chiefs -- Mahomes can't be stopped.
2. Steelers -- Three in a row on the road.
3. Ravens -- Won with defense.
4. Saints -- Playing as well as anyone.
5. Bills -- Statement win vs. Seahawks.
6. Seahawks -- Russell Wilson and not much else.
7. Titans -- Stop Henry, stop the Titans.
8. Bucs -- Brady looking old.
9. Packers -- Bye week vs. Jaguars.
10. Raiders -- Put on your mask!
11. Colts -- Rivers needs to step up at Titans.
12. Dolphins -- Team on the rise.
13. Cardinals -- Will o' the wisp.
14. Rams -- Must-win game vs. Seahawks.
15. Browns -- Hangin' around.
16. Bears -- They could fall apart.
17. Panthers -- Play hard, lose hard.
18. Eagles -- In control of NFC East.
19. 49ers -- Decimated.
20. Vikings -- Must win in Chicago.
21. Lions -- Not a contender.
22. Broncos -- Franchise in sleep mode.
23. Patriots -- At a crossroads.
24. Chargers -- Maybe next year.
25. Bengals -- Steelers beware.
26. Falcons -- Winning is losing.
27. Giants -- If they get hot ...
28. Washington -- Alex Smith is a nice story.
29. Cowboys -- Now what?
30. Texans -- Lack of effort.
31. Jaguars -- Please, don't win.
32. Jets -- How can they be this bad?
Dave from Savage, MN
In the '70's and '80's, there was a thought by some the Dolphins had an unfair advantage because Don Shula was a leader on the competition committee. Did Chuck Noll and the Steelers have any opinions on this? Did you?
Coach Noll and Coach Shula were best of friends, to the degree Shula called Noll for a draft-day recommendation on Dan Marino. I remember the day in the summer of 1978, just before training camp began, when Coach Noll did a tutorial for a few reporters who were hanging out in the Steelers' offices, on the new rules changes. Coach Noll used a league training film starring Coach Shula. At the conclusion of the film, Coach Noll told us these rules changes were going to change the game, and they did. I never suspected Coach Shula of anything sinister. My suspicions were reserved for Al Davis.
Ben from Phoenix, AZ
Have you had a chance to see Herbert play for the Chargers? Every year, there seems to be some great passers available.
It's never been easier to play quarterback.
Joseph from Killeen, TX
Homefield advantage will definitely be different from years past without fans. I don't believe this defense that's built for a shootout would fare well in the cold against a bruising running back. Could you make the argument, this year only, the Packers would be better on the road somewhere warmer or indoors?
That theory has existed throughout the Rodgers years. Yeah, the Packers have the look of a dome team.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
The Packers and Badgers are from the same place. Why the difference in approach?
Barry Alvarez is from Western Pa. and played at Nebraska for Bob Devaney. He was steeped in run-the-ball/stop-the-run tradition and then brought it to Wisconsin. Now it's part of the school's spirit of place. A few years ago, Alvarez spoke at Packers all-org day. He explained how his run-the-ball vision was a perfect fit for Wisconsin's recruiting ground, so you might even say it was a spirit waiting to be discovered.
Leo from Dallas, TX
Related to the fans/team personality discussion, I was very upset when my alma mater Georgia Tech stopped running the triple option. GT is a STEM school, so the idea the machine is simple and works if you use it right fit right in. Now we're just another spread offense team.
Larry from Syracuse, NY
During the Dolphins-Cardinals broadcast (I think it was that game), there was a fourth-and-short late in the game. The broadcaster mentioned something to the effect, "This is where these coaches earn their paycheck," referring to the decision to go for the first down or kick. I couldn't help but roll my eyes. Obviously making good decisions during the game is important, but how much of that do coaches actually get evaluated for? Do front offices and owners still look more into how he leads the team and gets them prepared, or are they really starting to evaluate a coach as the common fan does, where they just see a coach as a play caller?
I get what you're saying, but those short-yardage decisions decide the outcomes of games and, ultimately, the futures of the coaches who make those decisions. I'll use the last two Steelers games as an example. In Dallas, the Steelers faced a fourth-and-one deep in Cowboys territory. Mike Tomlin decided to go for the first down instead of attempting a field goal that could've given the Steelers an eight-point lead. The play was stuffed. If the Steelers had converted, they could've taken a knee and it was game over. Instead, they found themselves having to defend the length of the field and break up a pass at the goal line to clinch the win. The previous week, it was a third-and-two. The run was stuffed and the Steelers had to break up a pass at the goal line to clinch the win. These late-game short-yardage plays are critical. Don't underestimate their importance.
Brett from Marietta, GA
Vic, the site's still enjoyable, still entertaining and informative, but it was a tad better when readers could comment. Any chance once the election cycle comes to a close and the vitriol dies down from a rolling boil to a simmer you'd be willing to let us (comment)? You can always take the car keys away if we can't handle the freedom and responsibility of driving.
I'll consider it.
Renaud from Paris, France
I'm a French Packers fan since I discovered football about 10 years ago. But since I love physical football, and just watched "The Deer Hunter" for at least the 12th time, should I buy myself a yellow towel?
What would the Green Beret tell you to do?
Mike from Bridgeport, CT
Would the Steelers have won as many or possibly more Super Bowls with Big Ben instead of Bradshaw?
It's a valid question and here's why: Roethlisberger is a run-the-ball quarterback who often plays his best football at crunch time. He would've fit perfectly in the '70's game. With his fourth-quarter comeback this past Sunday, Roethlisberger tied Johnny Unitas for fourth place on the all-time list of fourth-quarter-comeback quarterbacks. Peyton Manning leads with 43, then comes Tom Brady with 38 and Drew Brees with 36. Behind Roethlisberger and Unitas are Marino with 33 and John Elway with 31. Bradshaw was 4-0 in Super Bowls and I revere his penchant for having played his best football in the postseason, but I won't dismiss what Roethlisberger has accomplished. He might be the most underrated quarterback in NFL history.