Hi everyone. We're at the Epicenter of Humanity this week, so I'm sure we'll have plenty of questions to get to. Let's do this!
So you glad the only two teams left are NFC North teams or are you mad that you got an extra months worth of work?
If you're upset about having a team (or two) still playing in January, then you're in the wrong business. I don't root for these teams, but it's still just as much fun to write about the playoffs as it is for fans to watch them.
How's Soldier Field looking for Sunday's game? Aren't the Packers in for a "slight" change from Atlanta's turf?
Ha. It's pretty much what you would expect from Soldier Field this time of year. A lot of painted dirt. The Packers definitely will lose some of their speed, but of course so will the Bears.
Ndamukong Suh said earlier this week that he'd welcome me there in Detroit. Do you that happening at all... or actually, the more important question, do you see that working?
Well, I think he's too polished to say that he wouldn't want you. But I'm not sure it's worth the risk. Suh and Corey Williams have the Lions' DT positions locked down.
How much control does each stadium have over the quality of their turf? Is there a standard that the NFL imposes on every team? Or is it completely up to individual grounds crews.
All fields are subject to approval by the NFL in the playoffs. But ultimately this is a local issue. In the Bears' case, the Chicago Park District owns the stadium and controls the turf.
Any big plans this weekend?
Gonna lay low.
I really think the Bears are being underestimated in this game. If the Bears can get pressure on Rodgers, I think they will win. Your thoughts?
Well, they have done OK against him even when they don't get pressure. The Packers haven't really gotten downfield on the Bears defense in Rodgers' career. He has a lot of 180-yard type performances against them. But he has also never been as locked in as he is now.
Haha, I made another headline. I'm never going away!
Oh, I'm sure it was just coincidence.
Are you pumped Kevin? I know I am, Sunday can't get here fast enough. So why does everyone think this is going to be a game won by only 3 points? I know history suggests that but I just don't see Jay moving the ball much. I'm calling it a rout...28-6
Well, the No. 6 seed being favored by three points over the No. 2 seed at the No. 2 seed's stadium is pretty significant as far as point spreads go. I really don't have a feel for who I think will win, but it's only Tuesday.
Kevin, in addition to leather helmets (concussion-resistant of course) and Fox airing the game in black & white, I am thinking of applying some additional rules for this epic matchup, such as:1) Kickers must "toe it"2) Forward pass not allowedAny others?
Hmmm. If the Packers wear those Blue-Brown throwbacks, I'm outta here.
Hey Kevin, first off love the blog. I read it everyday at work. I've been a die-hard Vikings fan and have heard many things about their issues at QB. I've been hoping for years that they would finally get someone worthwhile in there that would be a franchise player.I've heard that Frasier wants to get this done. Do you think they will draft a QB this year or try to get a veteran again? Also who do you think would be a good rookie/veteran to pick up?Thanks, Jesse
I do think they'll draft someone, although I don't know who. But they'll probably also need to sign a veteran. Donovan McNabb is definitely going to be available.
Dear Matt Ryan, Thank you.
Well, I thought you made a decent break on the second one. The first was just an underthrown ball.
Assuming new CBA goes into place... What are the odds I hit the Free Agent market?
Can't imagine the Vikings would let you get away.
What's the word on Chris Harris' hip injury? I don't doubt that he'll play, but I'm worried it cause him to lose a step which could be disasterous against Jennings and Jones on deep routes.
You're right. It's not a question of whether hey'll play. It's how effective he will be. It's too early to tell that, but the good news is the Bears have given a lot of reps to his backup, Major Wright. He'll be as ready as a rookie safety could be if he needs to replace Harris at some point during the game.
Is it safe to assume the GB running game will be a non-factor in this game? Sparks is a nice story and all, but the Bears D is flat out dominating against the run when it wants to be.
Maybe the Packers should use their Raji-Kuhn-Johnson backfield, with T.J. Lang as a tight end, more often. I'd like to see that.
This is becoming a broken record but the Bears get no respect. Why do people still give their Defense so little credit when they held the Pack to 10 AT LAMBEAU just two weeks ago and could have easily won the game?
Well, I think most everyone recognizes the Bears had an outstanding year on defense. More than anything, the nation has become enthralled with what Aaron Rodgers has done in the postseason and are kind of forgetting that the Bears defense is much better than either the Eagles or the Falcons.
What percentage of time will you spend on the off season this week?
Honestly, very little. I'm sorry in advance to Vikings and Lions readers.
kevin are you still doubting our playoff capabilities?
After Week 17, I wrote that the Packers weren't going to go far in the playoffs if their offense was as inconsistent as it was against the Bears. It hasn't been.
hey Kevin, do you think that Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz are just really good at recruiting players such as KVB and Nate Burrleson or are the Lions are becoming a team Free agents are legitimately looking into?
With all due respect to everyone involved, money talks.
Please explain to me how Corey Graham wasn't voted into the pro-bowl? The guy is insane on special teams...i mean he caught a fricken punt at the 4yard line and it wasn't even in his top-10 best special teams plays this year.
He has been awesome, and people have been so caught up in his tackles that they forgot he is good at downing the ball as well. The Pro Bowl rarely reflects the best 50 or so players in the game.
Kevin, everybody wants to talk about Rodges. But in my opinion, the real issue for the Bears is having to protect and get open against the Packers' defense. In their meetings this season, the Bears defense held Green Bay to 17 and 10 points...it was the offense that couldn't handle it. Agree/Disagree?
That's an accurate reflection of those games, but after seeing the Packers the past two weeks, it seems their offense has elevated to another level.
Even if they are down, no way Mike Martz abandons the run the way he did in week 17....right?
Not if he wants to win.
What are the REAL chances of the Lions doing some substantial spending in the offseason? Will the loss of Julian Peterson's contract (among other players') allow them to make a run at any one of the following players: Albert Haynesworth, Nnamdi Asomugha, Jonathan Joseph, or David Hawthorne?
It's hard to get a read on any team's offseason plans without knowing what the parameters of the CBA will be. What will it take to be an RFA? A UFA? Will there be a salary cap? Franchise tags? Transition tags? All of that is up for debate.
Kevin, what's your take on the apparent hire of Mike Singletary as assistant head coach / LB coach? This seems to me like a solid hire by the Vikings. Do you agree?
Frazier and Singletary are tight from their days as Bears teammates. As long as he sticks to linebackers, it's a good idea. If he starts trying to get in Frazier's head on head-coaching decisions, bad idea. Singletary was a mess as a head coach.
Hey Kevin, what do you think really pushed the Lions over the edge to seal off their last four wins?
They learned how to finish off games. They were close in a lot of their previous games but couldn't come up with that key play or series of plays to seal it.
Kevin, have you ever talked to Jay Cutler? I don't understand why the media gives him such a bad-rap.
I've asked him questions in group settings. He's pretty stand-offish in those situations, but that shouldn't be a reason to criticize him. I don't think fans care if he's personable to the media. I've always tried to limit my criticism (and compliments) of him to the way he plays on the field.
Bears fans are probably mad at me... but God forgives right?
The Bears haven't offered you a job, so it's not your fault.
Everyone talks about the play calling and play designs of Mike Martz but what about his counterpart in Green Bay. Why doesn't McCarthy get this same type of recognition on arguably one of the best offenses in the league?
I think he has. I know I've tried to point out some of the creative things he's done. It's pretty impressive when a team can run the wishbone just as easily as a five WR set.
Hey Kevin. Do you see the Packers using less nickel on 1st and 2nd down Sunday and more, bigger packages like we saw early against Atlanta? It seems that Martz would be smart to get Forte going--he always seems to do well against the Pack. And shutting down the run should be top priority for GB. I never understood what was so intimidating about the bears passing game that forced a lot of multi-db defenses for GB.
Right. The Packers have used their nickel 75 percent of the time this season. They're used to playing against multiple receivers. But that shouldn't impact their ability to stop the run. I think Capers likes it because you can run more blitzes and be less predictable than when you're in the base.
Is the whole world gonna explode in excitement this weekend or just the country? Has there ever been a better atmosphere for a conference championship game?
Not in these parts, although I sense more national interest in Jets-Steelers right now.
Hey Kevin...great stuff, huh?? NFCN blogger with the final two NFC teams from the North Division!! Anyhow...my question is: What is the consensus amongst the sports media at this point about league MVP?? With Manning and Brady presumably off the table...with a couple more wins, Rodgers has a legitimate shot. Doesn't he??
No. MVP voting happened the day after the regular season ended. It just hasn't been announced yet. Brady will win it. It's based only on the regular season.
I don't think the Packers can afford to "lose" the special teams battle for the third straight playoff road game. Do you?
That might be the area where one team has the biggest edge over the other. The Bears are the NFL's best. The Packers, uh, are not.
Why in the world is the NFL investigating the field conditions at Solider Field when they allowed play at the U of M stadium? It's not like they're playing on concrete like they did on the Monday Night game.
I think "investigating" is a strong word. They're monitoring it like they would any other situation.
Kevin, what deep dish pizza joint did you and Sando go to on Sunday?
I'm not sure the NFL Blogs are ready for an all-Kevin Seifert championship game.
Believe it. It's happening.
Do you think this game will be a defensive stand-off, or a high-scoring offensive battle?
That's a good question. I guess I'll put it this way. I think the under-over is 44. I'll take the under.
Do I have a legitimate case for coach of the year award? I mean look what I did with guys off of the street!
You do. Although, again, those awards are based on the regular season only. So getting to the NFC Championship Game isn't counted.
I guarantee we beat the Packers Sunday!
So I hear. But for me, that has to come from someone who is at least a second-string player. The No. 3 tight end? Sorry pal.
I heard Nnamdi Asomugha would be interested in possibly signing with the Packers. Any truth to that?
Everyone is making that assumption because of Woodson. But check out Ted Thompson's track record with free agency and get back to me.
Better W-L record in 2011: Lions or Vikings?
BJ Raji versus Brian Urlacher on a goal line play, does Kuhn get in the endzone?
I would have to say so, yes.
How should I deal with Dom's scheming this weekend?
Expect it from all angles and speeds.
i hear fans talking about my wonderful 90 yrd game the last time i played the packers but do you think ill be able to get into the endzone?
That's a big question. Although I would say Chester Taylor is a nice option for those goal-line situations.
So much talk about the Bears handling Rodgers this year...Cutler has put up 16 points in two games against Capers' defense. And I don't want to hear this Week 17 vanilla/no motivation nonsense, last I checked every starter played until the very end.
Yep. The one thing I would point out, though, is that Cutler's big numbers aren't as important to the Bears as Rodgers' big numbers are to the Packers.
Hey Kevin you got your Super Bowl tickets ready? The Packers are waiting on ya
I'll be there.
Is the Tramon Williams the MVP of the playoffs so far?
Three huge interceptions. One for a touchdown, the other two in the end zone. He sure seems to be the best CB in the playoffs right now.
With the reported poor condition of the field, I think it's even more reason not to kick to Hester. All it takes is 1 Packer to slip and Hester scores a TD. I think every kick/punt should be aimed just inside the sideline. If the ball goes out of bounds and the Bears get the balll at the 40 - so what. Do you agree?
Yeah, I wouldn't want to put him in position to do anything. I'm kicking away at all costs. Of course, against the Falcons the Packers didn't have to punt. Just saying.
I've played 12 playoff quarters (plus a minute or two of overtime), and in that time I've thrown 10 touchdowns to one interception, and I haven't been picked off in the last 11 quarters. Can anyone stop me in January?
A hot quarterback in the playoffs is the most direct way to a Super Bowl title.
Do you think Green Bay is a little too overconfident?
I think they know how much of a struggle it was against the Bears in the two regular season games. Nothing wrong with being confident. But I don't think they're assuming they'll win.
RE: Tramon... "He sure seems to be the best CB in the playoffs right now." EXCUSE ME? I don't have any INTs, because they never throw the ball my way.
I think that McNabb has gone the way of Culpepper...Is Hasslebeck definitely staying in Seattle now, or is there any chance he (sp?) leaves to come to the Vikings for a year or two?
He seems pretty close to the end from a physical standpoint.
My line sure is playing at a high level. Im really looking forward to taking advantage of the over pursuing Packer defense.
Well, like the Packers, you shouldn't get cocky, either.
It hurt to see you say Lions would have more wins than the Vikes next season, Kevin. I'm not doubting you it's just that we are talking about a team that was one counting mistake and a questionable decision away from the Super Bowl just a year ago. What is happening in Minnesota that has them falling so far, so fast?
They don't have a quarterback, first and foremost. Some of the best players on their defense are getting old. Their offensive line made no progress last year. And as much as well all like Frazier as a person, we have no idea if he can coach. Otherwise, no reason....
Off-topic question...why on earth is MVP voting limited to the regular season. That seams like a stupid cut-off point. Maybe it's to avoid a bias toward players on teams that make the playoffs...but if the voters don't have the mental capacity to compare 18 games played by Rodgers to 16 games played by Rivers, then they shouldn't be voting.
Because it's an individual award and shouldn't be skewed by team performance. A player can have a great year for a team that doesn't make the playoffs.
You aren't even the COY in your own division there, Mike.
Interesting. This much is true. Everyone thought the Packers would be good. No one thought the Bears would be.
Kevin,Do you think the Bears went "vanilla" in the finale at Lambeau and have something up their sleeves offensively for the Pack?
Not too much, but I do think they showed a lot in the Seahawks game to give the Packers extra things to worry about. Greg Olsen and the Wildcat are two examples.
Ok, a few more here.
can a guarantee come from someone on IR or an ex player now retired?
Nope. You're out of luck, the both of you.
Take Urlacher, Olsen, Forte, and 12 other people away from Lovie Smith and see if he can make the playoffs.
And we're off...
Do you think that using Greg Olsen last week was just a ruse?
I think it was definitely an attempt to break tendencies, and a smart one. Olsen can make big plays.
Ok everyone, thanks so much for chatting!