Ask Vic: Packers, Steelers deserving of respect

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Question: Where do you get off brushing the Packers aside? You call the Dallas win over the Giants "impressive," but if you recall, the Pack laid a much mightier whooping down on New York in Week 2. It's not like the Giants were struggling early either, like a lot of people are claiming. They played the Cowboys in Dallas and lost 45-35. The next week the Pack shut them down, 35-13. The simple fact is that the Packers' defense has been making teams look ugly all year, and the offense is scoring in clutch situations. Why aren't the Packers getting the love? --Matt H., Green Bay

I don't agree that I'm "brushing the Packers aside" by saying that the Cowboys are the best team in the NFC. I see the Packers as the second-best team in the conference and third-best in the league.

But I think there are sound reasons for putting the Cowboys ahead of the Packers at this point. And, another point of disagreement: the Giants were struggling early in the year. The Cowboys' Week 10 victory over them was, indeed, impressive because it snapped the Giants' six-game winning streak and swept the season series, neither of which qualifies as an easy accomplishment.

The Packers are playing exceptionally well on both sides of the ball. But the Cowboys are playing better. They rank higher in the league in total offense (second compared to fourth) and rushing (10th compared to 32nd), and are third to the Packers' first-ranked passing. The Cowboys also rank higher in the league in total defense (seventh compared to 10th), run defense (fifth compared to seventh), and pass defense (16th compared to 18th).

Having said all that, I am more than willing to revise my opinion if the Packers come away with a win at Dallas on Nov. 29. I'm already looking forward to what is shaping up as the second-biggest game of the season.

Question: What do you think the chances are of Brett Favre winning a fourth MVP? Many people say that Tom Brady or Tony Romo should receive the MVP, but through Week 10, Favre is on one of the winningest teams with the least star power. There is no Terrell Owens/Jason Witten/Marion Barber-Julius Jones two-headed running back monster or Randy Moss/Wes Welker/Donte' Stallworth/Laurence Maroney weapons. Who has heard of Ryan Grant? Yet Favre has led a young Packers team with a young offensive line to an 8-1 record, even when opposing defenses know exactly what they are playing against. --Isaac L., Austin TX

Favre has a chance, but I don't think he will end up as league MVP. Brady is the clear-cut leader at this point, and I find it hard to believe he won't dominate the balloting. More times than not, the voting comes down to individual numbers. Brady's are off-the-charts.

Nevertheless, all of the points you make about Favre are valid. He is doing more with less on one of the NFL's top teams. That should count for plenty, but I don't see it ultimately making enough of a difference when it comes to the MVP voting.

Question: How is it that everyone is talking about how impressive it was for Manning to "almost win," while throwing six interceptions in the San Diego game? Romo won with five interceptions and one lost fumble in TWO final-minute drives against Buffalo, and he gets zero credit. People need to start giving Romo the credit he deserves! He is not that far behind Manning, Favre and Brady. --Michael L, Christiana, PA

You're right. Manning doesn't deserve more credit for coming up just short of victory in a six-interception performance than Romo does for pulling out a win after throwing five picks and losing a fumble.

However, I will say that the Cowboys' victory over the Bills was less about Dallas finding a way to win than it was about Buffalo finding a way to lose through questionable coaching strategy and blunders in execution. The Chargers also almost found a way to lose to the Colts, reinforcing the notion that Manning's efforts in the late stages weren't necessarily worthy of praise.

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Question: Do you think the Steelers are an elite team or do you have to wait for them to play the Patriots to make that evaluation? Also, do you think maybe the Patriots have already peaked? It seems to me that the Steelers still have their best football ahead of them. That may be something to keep an eye on as the season continues to unfold. --Jim F., Hermitage, PA

The Steelers are an elite team. I don't have to wait for them to face the Patriots to determine that. They have excellent offensive balance, with one of the NFL's strongest rushing attacks and a big-play passing game. Ben Roethlisberger has come into his own as a top-notch quarterback and he is making the most of his outstanding receivers.

I don't think the Patriots have peaked. One of their greatest qualities is the ability to stay incredibly focused and to not look beyond any opponent or drop their guard when on the right side of a lopsided score. Sure, they have performed at a mind-boggling level, especially through their first eight games. But I believe they have enough in the way of talent, coaching, and focus to keep rolling.

Both the Pats and Steelers appear to have very good football ahead of them.

Have a question for Vic on anything NFL related? Don't just sit there -- send it to, and the best questions will be answered throughout the season right here on!

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