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December 7, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Kevin Seifert

Kevin Seifert
  (2:00 PM)

Hi everyone. Things are getting awfully interesting here in the NFC North, and you haven't even seen the latest edition of the ESPN.com Power Rankings. (Hint, hint.) Some of our friends might be over at the Ndamukong Suh chat, but they'll be back here soon enough. Let's get to it.

Forrest (Indianapolis, IN)

Really? An "unnecessary non-football act"????????????? I fail to see how a player putting his forearms to someone's back and violently shoving them to the ground is a penalty. What will happen when the NFL has a QB with long hair (you know it will happen eventually) and he gets tackled by his hair? Is hair-pulling a "football act?" It's not even frowned upon, let alone a penalty! I must be confused...I thought this was the NFL.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:03 PM)

I don't think Hochuli helped himself with his explanation. All he had to say is that Suh was penalized for throwing his forearm into Cutler's back. That's against the rules. If replays showed in slow motion that Suh's open hand actually made first contact, then I think people would have recognized how quickly it happened in life action. The "unnecessary non-football act" is the result of an activist referee taking things into his own hands. But Suh could have avoided the whole thing by just tacking Cutler with a traditional two-armed wrap.

Rachel (Hattiesburg)

Hi Kevin! Do you think Jahvid best gets the workload for the Lions this weekend or do we see plenty of Morris and Brown? Thanks!

Kevin Seifert
  (2:03 PM)

I bet they'll be tempted to use more of Best after his two big plays the other day.

Zygi Wilf (Mid-flight between Minny )

Hey Kevin, I just realized something. If the Vikes didn't pull off that miraculous comeback against the Arizona Cardinals at home, I would have fired Chilly before two key division games against the Bears and Packers...even if we went 1-1, we could still have had a realistic shot at the playoffs. Oh the irony....Should I lock Frazier, Rice and Greenway up immediately??? Thinking I should.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:04 PM)

It isn't irony. It's proof you got deluded by that game. Even Favre admitted there is no way you win games like that with any sort of consistency.

James Starks (WI)

Kevin, it's good to be back after missing 2 years. How would you rate my performance against a good 9er run D? Think I get my first TD this weekend?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:04 PM)

I don't see any reason why the Packers would back away from you. Getting a back with fresh legs this time of year is huge.

Ndamukong Suh (SportsNation! Chat)

Your chat session stinks... just sayin'.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:05 PM)

Yes, sir. I apologize, sir. Now please don't club me.

Greg M (Chicago, IL)

Looking at the Bears upcoming schedule i would say 2-2 would be a pretty good achievement. Do you think that will get them into the playoffs?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:06 PM)

Yeah, last night was a scary game for the Bears. Although now the onus is on the Patriots to have a short week of practice and then travel to Soldier Field. But regardless, the schedule is awfully tough. If they go 11-5, you would think that would be enough to get in.

Pat (Rosholt, SD)

I am sure you will get 50+ of this question so lets see if you use mine. Should Vikings play T-jack as QB. Farve and him are going to make mistakes that is a fact. T-jack cannot make the throws that Farve can that was shown with the underthrowing of Rice on two deep throws. However, T-Jack's legs add a factor to the offense. Who should start if Farve is 75% HEALTH? What if both 100% healthy?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:07 PM)

Favre isn't going to be 100 percent. But if he's healthy enough to play, whatever that percentage is, he should play. I don't get the whole "we need to see what Tarvaris Jackson should do" line of thinking. Haven't we already seen it?

Nathan (Phoenix, AZ)

Kevin... I've decided that I'm going to post this question weekly until I get a satisfactory response. What has Jim Schwartz done to suggest that he is a capable coach? No one debates the Lions are better than they have been... talent tends to do that... but the record speaks for itself and I for one... have yet to see a decision/play call from the sideline that stands out to me and says, "that was a great call"

Rod Marinelli (Chicago, IL)

Any insight into how to stop the Patriots offense? Just wondering...

Kevin Seifert
  (2:08 PM)

It's just like stopping any other offense. It will start with front-four pressure. That's why the Bears have a chance against any team they face.

MN Defense (Attitude Change)

I have not seen any scheme change for the MN defense so can the turnovers and line dominating teams be credited to an attitude change that came with the changing of coaches? Or was it due to playing poor teams? Or will we find much more out this week?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:09 PM)

The opponents definitely had something to do with it. But I don't think there's any doubt that Leslie Frazier and Fred Pagac have lit a fire under the defensive line.

Kevin Seifert (Mall of America Field)

Programming note: This is where I will be this week. Or should I do two games this week and be in New England on Sunday and than fly to MN late and catch that game on Monday?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:10 PM)

That's in two weeks, sir. We'll get to that next week.

Greg M (Chicago, IL)

Don't you think that the story about how Cutler hasn't had a winning season since high school is overplayed? I went to Vandy with him and even from the drunken haze through which I watched most of our games it was obvious Jay was about the only reason we weren't massacred every week in the SEC. How many "losers" do you know that were voted SEC Offensive Player of the Year on a team that (miraculously) finished 5-6?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:11 PM)

Well, I think most statistics that carry out over an extended period of time have some validity. When you're not part of a winning team spanning three separate programs, isn't it fair to assume there is at least some culpability? Or is it just coincidental than in every case there were inferior and/or mitigating circumstances?

Tannan (The Cleve)

Do you like The Onion Sports?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:13 PM)

A lot of it is really funny but I don't see it every day.

Kimberly (Wi)

Good afternoon Kevin, My question is how do you see the Packers doing in their games the rest of the way?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:13 PM)

That game at the Patriots on Sunday Night Football is going to be a really tough one. The rest, I think they can and should win.

Dave (PHX)

Why is everyone (ESPN) acting like the Bears won only bc of that Suh penalty? They still would have had the ball at the 14 yard line, and I would have ben shocked if they didnt score. Detroit has been playing everyone tough- no need to apolgize for winning a close division game on the road.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:14 PM)

I for one am not. I don't think it had anything to do with the outcome of the game, other than the fact that the Lions got so outraged that they were hardly paying attention on the next play.

Stevan (Waterbury)

Why does it seem like a foregone conclusion that the Packers will make the playoffs? it seems to me outside the Bears, they have the toughest schedule remaining, and they are on the outside looking in in December without a running game, what gives?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:16 PM)

They seem to have a fair running game when they actually try to consistently use it. And they have two games remaining at home (where they are 35-6 in December/January since 1990). One of their road games is against the Lions. So, they have a really good shot at 11-5, I think.

RAQUEL 925 (Oak.)

Hi to my favorite NFCN blogger!! will Bill Parcells be brought in by the Vikings? Oh and don't forget a guy in an industry where ppl get Worker's Comp for carpal tunnel syndrome really shouldn't mock someone football players injuries. But you're still my fav NCN blogger.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:18 PM)

Always good to hear from you, Raquel. I think Zygi will be really tempted to pursue Parcells or someone like him. Don't forget that Wilf grew up a huge Giants fan, and that was his team when Parcells was the coach. But Zygi also has a lot of respect for Rick Spielman, and bringing in Parcells would probably mean Spielman getting the boot. So in the end, I don't see it happening.

Donald Driver (Green Bay)

You didn't think I still had it in me, did ya?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:18 PM)

What. A. Play.

Dave (MPLS)

1) None of the pictures are flattering, so who needs to lose the most weight: Seifert, Zulgad, Scoggins or Craig? 2) Childress was always annoyed with Favre's gun-slinging INTs, yet his protege seems to be as careless with the ball as Favre.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:19 PM)

Ouch. Let's just say I've wintered especially poorly.

Doug (Chicago)

Is Cutler and martz going to continue to work long term? It seems with leaving an empty backfield, Cutler needs to keep his head on a swivel. He has be aware, as the hits can come from any angle or anywhere.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:20 PM)

It's working pretty well right now. The big thing is the Bears have cut back on what they're asking Cutler to do. Since the bye, they've been much more balanced. Martz has kept his ego and his aggressiveness in check. Kudos to this point.

John (Sheboygan)

I know it doesnt matter yet but if the season ended today my Green Bay Packers would not be in the playoffs, is this something I need to be worried about actually happening. I m starting to get nervous.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:21 PM)

I wouldn't be nervous to the extent that the Packers don't need help to make the playoffs. They can win the division by winning their remaining games. That might not be a realistic expectation, but it's a fact.

Mike (WI)

I believe that many people are focusing on the Suh penalty against Chicago simply because of the Calvin Johnson play earlier in the season. In reality, without the call it would have been 2nd and 2 deep in Lions territory. Why are so many people obsessed with taking something away from the Bears' victories?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:23 PM)

Agreed. I don't know if this is a case of people "taking away from the Bears victory" or just extrapolating their exasperation with issues the Lions have had with officials all season.

Brett (STL)

What'd you think of James Starks? Not overwhelming, but impressive nonetheless, no?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:25 PM)

Mostly because he didn't look rusty after what amounts two to years off.

TDBuddah (Titletown)

I was an idiot and thought the Bears would never get to 9 wins.Have you looked at tape on CM³ in recent games? He doesn't look as though he's taking a deep enough rush to the passer. I think that's why he's been in a drought lately. Agree? Thoughts?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:25 PM)

You're getting too deep for me, TD. ... I'm thinking he's opened things up for some other guys. Even during his "slump," the Packers defense has been just as good.

Rudy (Detriot)

Do you think Shaun "Go to the Slate" Hill should be a starter in the NFL?? He seems to be very productive. I was looking at his stats the other day prior to my IPOD being smashed, and he is solid. Your thoughts??

Kevin Seifert
  (2:26 PM)

I think he's an ideal backup, especially on a team without a proven and/or healthy starter.

Chad Greenway (Minny)

I kind of want to join the Chicago linebacking core next year should I stay or should I go?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:26 PM)

I highly doubt the Vikings will let you go anywhere.

Matt (NJ)

Hey Kevin. Nick Collins blew another play on Sunday. I know he probably does a lot of things we don't see, and that he's an integral part of that system. But do the Packers and/or you see his over-aggressive play as an issue? And could we see Tom Brady exploit it like he did last night to the Jets without Jim Leonhard? Thanks!

Kevin Seifert
  (2:27 PM)

I wouldn't call it overly-aggressive. It was just poor tackling. He's good for a few of those, but he also has that knack for the ball that all good safeties have.

Eric (Chicago)

Kevin, this weekend in Chicago, we are expecting a snow storm on Saturday and more snow with wind on Sunday...love it that it'll be old fashioned football at the spaceship. Will you be here? Or will you stick to the warmth of the Metrodome??? Or another trip to Detroit?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:27 PM)

As of now, I'm not scheduled to be at the Metrodome. That's all I can say at this point. Hope you can handle the suspense.

eric (michigan)

2 questions on the suh play, and then at least this lion fan will leave you alone. has the officiating really gotten so bad that we are going to blame the players when an official calls something he thinks he saw, even if it didn't really happen that way?and second- doesn't your use of the term "activist referee" insinuate there are other problems going on there?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:29 PM)

Oh, I absolutely think officiating has gotten worse and I've written about it a bunch this year in Dirty Laundry. But like anything else, you have to know your environment. The best you can say about Suh's play is that it was borderline. My best advice would never be to give an official help making a mistake. Seriously. In this case, all Suh had to know was wrap up Cutler -- and try to punch the ball out if he wanted -- with a traditional tackle.

Ben (Sandy, UT)

Kevin, I'm not a T-Jax fan or even a Viking fan, but I will say this, saying that we've already seen enough of him isn't fair. That's what San Diego said about Drew Brees after 4 years and felt he couldn't be their starting QB.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:30 PM)

Personal foul and 15 yards for a preposterous comparison.

RAQUEL (925) (FROM TWITTER)

I knew u wouldn't take my question.....

Kevin Seifert
  (2:31 PM)

Hey now...

Sidney Rice (Minnesota)

Pay me some money. I'm back, baby!

Kevin Seifert
  (2:32 PM)

Sure looks like it. And, for what it's worth, the Vikings are 2-1 in the games you've played this season.

Brian Urlacher (Practice)

Am I really that good again or Does PEP help alot?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:32 PM)

Both. I don't think there's any doubt you've got your quickness and health back. But it's also only fair to point out how much of an impact Peppers has had. He's drawing a lot of attention and blowing up a lot of blockers.

Steve (Iowa City)

Have you noticed the Packers' point differential on the season? They are +121, the next closest team NFC team is the Saints at 72 (Pats jumped to 110 after last night's slaughter). Also, if the Pack only lose to the Pats and the Eagles lose any game, 1st round bye...Hi ohhhh

Kevin Seifert
  (2:33 PM)

Is that how it works out? I'll have to check the ESPN.com Playoff Machine for confirmation...

ryan (wi)

Kevin do you think McCarthy's runningback by committe going to look like this....75% Starks, 20% BJax, and 5% Nance?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:34 PM)

Not sure it will be that dramatic, and they'd be foolish not to use Kuhn for most of their short-yardage needs.

Mr T (A Team)

What is going on in the NFL Fool? Nobody can hit nobody any more. Gonna be running around in skirts and blouses soon......uh, uh

Kevin Seifert
  (2:34 PM)

Are you still the champ?

Steve (Work)

Jay Cutler as a "game mananger" with big play potential > Kyle Orton "game manager"

Kevin Seifert
  (2:35 PM)

Interesting and good way to look at it. And as I wrote today, he's much more fleet afoot than Orton.

Brian (St. Louis, MO)

Kevin, Do you think that Quarless (sp?) can become a real threat at tight or are the packers just going to have to depend on others like James Jones to step up to fill the finley void?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:35 PM)

They're getting some help from Quarless. They just can't expect Jermichael Finley-like help.

Andy (Arlington, VA)

In response to that BRILLIANT question a few weeks ago, you said you would take Martin Mayhew as a GM if you were starting a franchise. Why no Thompson? If it is because of his steadfast refusal to dip (or make a big splash) in the free agent waters? If so, hasn't his system of draft and develop with key signings (Woodson, Pickett, etc) more than proven its worth? What has Mayhew proven so far?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:38 PM)

I can't argue with the team Thompson has put together. I think there are definitely times when TT is too defiant about bringing in veterans from other teams via trade or free agency. In some cases, it would be frivolous. In others, it's necessary. The needed to do something at RB when Grant got hurt, and there is no way they thought in Week 2 that Starks would be a guy that could step in later in the season. As for Mayhew, what I like about him is that he uses all avenues to improve the team. They are a much better team than when he took over, and I think Mayhew probably gets more credit for that than Schwartz.

bibi (ann arbor)

Kev, I usually like your take on things, but the description of old-Jay was pretty unfair. I'm a Bears fan--I've seen him yell and shout during games, pout on the sidelines, be a total jerk at the pressers and just appear downright unpleasant. But never once has he insinuated his teammates are bringing him down. If anything, he's gone out of his way to take blame for offensive troubles since he got here. That's a far cry from the diva you described. Jay might be a cocky punk, but come on. He's OUR cocky punk!

Kevin Seifert
  (2:39 PM)

Ha. Well, I think he was getting pretty close this summer when he made some stark -- if true -- statements about the offensive line. Regardless, the point wasn't to compare him to Christian Laettner. I probably should have left that out.

ShopeIV (behind kevin)

Greg Jennings is playing out of his mind right now is there a hotter player in the league?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:39 PM)

I don't think so. He's averaging more than 100 yards per game over the past seven.

SHAWN (NC) [via mobile]

Is it a real chance the panthers can get both quaterback and coach from stanford this off season?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:40 PM)

Better chance of the QB than the coach.

Dave (Chicago)

The Bears don't need any help either, actually they only have to beat the Packers to make the playoffs as the espn Playoff machine shows me.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:40 PM)

That is true. Both teams control their own destinies.

Adam (Chicago)

ESPN still gives the bears no love in power rankings. Do you agree with their take on the "worst" 9-3 in football history?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:41 PM)

No. That's pretty extreme. But I've never been happier not to be a voter on the Power Rankings panel.

brian (Chicago)

do you think Martz will be on the Bears' staff next season (assuming there's football). Cutler really needs consistency, he's had 4 OCs the last 4 years

Kevin Seifert
  (2:43 PM)

If I had to guess, yes. He's done a nice job straightening things out in the second half of the season, but I'm not sure if someone is going to give him a job quite yet. Although, as I've said before, if Chan Gailey can get another chance, why can't Mike Martz?

Steve (Iowa City)

What division's blog gets the most hits? And where does our North rank? I want number 1

Kevin Seifert
  (2:44 PM)

We are well within the top 8.

Nick (Marshfield, WI)

Is Greg Jennings resurgence a by-product of Jermichal Finley's injury? It wasn't until Finley was out that Rodgers and the coaches really focused on getting Jennings involved again.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:45 PM)

I don't think there was any doubt. The Packers were smart. They lost their No. 1 target but then sat down and figured out a way to make their next-best target just as productive.

Eric (DC)

Are you and Suh like sitting back to back on a couch right now, giggling away and saying things like "OMG TDBUddah just said..."?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:45 PM)

Haha. Nope. I'm at NFC North blog headquarters. Suh is in Bristol.

Jordan (Minny)

You have noted that Aaron Rodgers now has the highest passer rating of any qb with 1,500 or more passes...not only that but his passer rating has been going UP! And yet many say he is not yet a top 5 qb...justified?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:46 PM)

Oh, I think he's in the top 5. But a separate issue is whether you think passer rating is the ultimate arbiter.

Chatting while i should be working (Hinding from the boss)

Is Berrian going to get booted from the Vikings after this season? His play has been terrible this season.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:47 PM)

Those kinds of decisions are on hold until we know who the next Vikings coach would be. But I'm sure Berrian knows that the next coach, be it Leslie Frazier or someone else, is going to be watching the film of these last few games to help decide whether to keep him around.

Andrew (in class)

Hey Kevin! Do you put much stock into the psychological part of the game? If so, do you think the Bears will be catching NE at the perfect time to steal a game, and send the Packers to face an angry Patriot team the next week? Coming off an emotional beatdown over a division rival NE could be primed for a letdown game. Kinda the way Chi looked in the first half against Det.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:48 PM)

Sometimes, but I think in this case the best chance the Bears have is that they will be at home, while the Patriots will have the Packers at Gillette Stadium. Now, get back to class.

Jeff (michigan)

speaking of "activist refs", do you foresee more problems (fan complaints and loss of NFL cred) in this years playoffs? How much was Suh fined for his violent act-ivism, anyway?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:50 PM)

Well, we probably won't know if Suh was fined until the end of the week. As far as the playoffs go, I'll be very interested to see. In this division, at least, there have been way too many obvious calls missed one way or the other this season. If that happens in the playoffs, that issue will be magnified for sure.

Ed Hochuli (Chat Ref)

Kevin, please leave the officiating to me. That's a warning for a non-officiated penalty.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:51 PM)

Thanks, Ed Hercules.

Eric (DC)

I have a math equation for you Kev:Porcher + Ellis < KVB/Avril SuhTrue or False?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:52 PM)

A little before my time on the NFCN blog, but I would have to say I agree.

maurice (Louisville (kentucky))

do you think swartz is the right coach for detroit lions??

Kevin Seifert
  (2:53 PM)

You are what your record says you are. But I think he deserves at least one more year considering the hole he has been asked to dig out of.

Steve (WI)

Do you think Cutler can win playoff games with his arm? The dink and dunk plays all year and inflated his rating and I still think he'll make some terrible throws ahead.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:53 PM)

I know Trent Dilfer thinks that will happen. And at some time, to win the Super Bowl, you have to make big throws. He can do that. It's just a matter of whether he mixes it in with some bone-headed plays. That's why you want to limit his opportunities.

Ken (Orland Park, IL)

Do you think Martz has changed this offense or do you think Cutler and his receivers finally glued

Kevin Seifert
  (2:55 PM)

I think it's been Martz and Cutler doing a bit of a mating dance until they were both comfortable with the other.

David (Atlanta)

Didn't the Lions almost beat the Packers in Lambeau? What's the chance they pull off the upset at home this weekend against a Packers team that has lost a lot of starters since then?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:55 PM)

They did. They came back strong in the second half and lost by 2. At some point the Lions will break through. I'm not sure it will be against the Packers, though.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:55 PM)

Ok, a few more here.

David (Atlanta)

Do you think Suh's previous "dirty" plays, like the one in the playoffs were in Hochuli's mind when he threw the flag? How much do players' reputations play into officiating?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:57 PM)

I'm sure it plays a role. But the two things that really spurred Hochuli were the fact that it was against a quarterback, and that in live speed Suh appeared to throw his forearm into Culter's back.

mark (louisville)

why arent you talking abou the huge significance of the giants/pack game coming up in a few. g.b. lost to atlanta so the tie breaker is atlantas. we all agree atlanta gets a 1 or 2 seed. then you have head to head with giants(assuming giants win divison). thats a huge game for both in 1 or 2 seeding. 3/4 seed =extra game

Kevin Seifert
  (2:57 PM)

It will be huge. In fact, it could be the difference in the Packers and Bears' conference record, a key tiebreaker.

Big John Studd (Studliness)

I wouldn't worry so much about Suh's Club. I'm the one with the big stick, Kevin!!

Kevin Seifert
  (2:58 PM)

I thought that was Hacksaw Jim Duggin.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:58 PM)

Ok everyone, thanks so much. Chat with you next week!