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Just put on a coat

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Patrick from Elida, OH:
Could you give me the stat for the Jaguars playing in temps under 40 degrees?

Vic: You're a little warm. Let's start at 36 degrees, which is what it was in Cincinnati when the Jaguars lost to the Bengals on 11-23-97. The Jaguars won in Pittsburgh on 11-19-00 when it was 35 degrees, and won in Buffalo on 12-15-97 when it was 29. That would seem to be the limit of the Jaguars' tolerance. They played in New England in the AFC title game on 1-12-97 when it was 27 and lost; lost in the playoffs to the Jets at Giants Stadium on 1-10-99 when it was 26; lost to the Giants at Giants Stadium on 12-23-00 when it was 23; and lost in Cincinnati on 12-17-00 when it was nine degrees. Those are the seven coldest games in Jaguars history.

Mike from Atlanta, GA:
How much of a disadvantage (if any) will the Green Bay weather be for the Jags? What can the team to do prepare for it? I was thinking maybe they should have left for Green Bay on Monday and spent six days practicing and adjusting.

Vic: Green Bay's record in cold-weather games clearly indicates the Packers enjoy an advantage in such conditions, just as the Jaguars enjoy an early-season heat advantage. There's only one way, however, for a warm-weather team to prepare for a cold-weather game: Accept the fact it will be cold and deal with it. Practicing in the cold weather for a week not only won't help, it would probably hurt because the body spends a lot of energy keeping itself warm in cold weather and that could leave the team in a weakened state on game day. That's one of the things most people don't realize about cold weather; it causes fatigue. Adapting the body to cold weather requires living in it for an extended period of time, which some people believe results in a thinning of the blood. Moving to Green Bay isn't realistic for the Jaguars. What is realistic is the utilization of a lot of high-tech cold-weather equipment the Jaguars will be taking with them to Green Bay. That's the best way to deal with the cold. Put on a coat and stand near the sideline heater when you can. Of course, I'll be in the press box, which is heated.

Alex from Winter Springs, FL:
I'm sure you've received this question many times already, but was this the breakout game from Reggie Williams that we've all been waiting for?

Vic: It was a step in the right direction. Breakout game? That may be going a little too far.

Mike from Boise, ID:
Why would you want a shootout with Brett Favre when you could just run the ball down their throats as we did to the Steelers and keep the ball out of the hands of a dangerous quarterback. Teams that run the ball in December win. Let me remind you of what you wrote earlier this year: Take what you want. It would serve the Jags well to take heed.

Vic: I agree with you but I'm not the offensive coordinator. A reader asked me if I thought Sunday's game in Green Bay would be like the game against the Steelers, and I had just seen the Jaguars throw 45 passes against the 27th-ranked run-defense in the league so I answered him that I expect Sunday's game in Green Bay to be more of a shootout than the seal-clubbing the Jaguars and Steelers staged. Sure, I wanna see the Jaguars run the ball, and I firmly believe that teams that run the ball in December win and that, within reason, you should take what you want, not what they give you. So why do I have this feeling Byron Leftwich is going to throw 40 or more passes against the Packers?

Phil from Green Bay, WI:
This weekend's game is going to be huge for both teams. The Jags will most likely need this game to make the playoffs. Green Bay's offense is a productive team. They are picking up over 50 more yards a game than Jacksonville; Jacksonville is allowing 40 less yards on defense. The offensive line needs to bring it good and protect Byron and create holes for Taylor. Green Bay's turnover ratio is -11 and Jacksonville's is 2. If the offensive line, defense and turnover ratio favor the Jags, will they win no matter what their red-zone percentage is?

Vic: Only if it's 29 degrees or warmer.

Arsenio from Jacksonville:
Seeing Mark Brunell struggle so much in Washington makes me wonder if he will retire after this season. Do you think he will?

Vic: This is professional football. It is about the money. Players retire when they run out of teams that will pay them.

John from Jacksonville:
If I am not mistaken, I think we would hold tie-breakers over the Broncos and Bills if it came down to that. Aren't we in pretty good shape to make a run?

Vic: Yeah, so go ahead, run. Ten wins will probably do it. Just focus on winning. In my opinion, it's real simple now: Win and you're in; lose and you're out.

Kevin from Jacksonville:
Now that we know the five teams playing for a wild-card spot, who do you expect to make it?

Vic: If the Jaguars win in Green Bay, I expect the two AFC wild-card teams to be the Jets and the Jaguars. If the Jaguars lose in Green Bay, I expect the two AFC wild-card teams to be the Jets and the Broncos.

Mikey from Richmond Hill, GA:
What does the GSH stand for on the Bears' jerseys?

Vic: George S. Halas was the founder, owner and coach of the Chicago Bears. He died in 1983 at the age of 88.

Patrick from Morgantown, WV:
Why has the Green Bay game been pushed back to 4:15 p.m.?

Vic: So television may feature it.

Howard from Jacksonville:
How about a preview of your 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Packers by giving your opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of the Packers.

Vic: The strength of the Packers is one of the game's all-time great quarterbacks, Brett Favre, and a balanced offense that is fourth in the league overall, 10th in rushing and sixth in passing. The Packers offense makes plays and they do it at crunch time. The weakness of the Packers is a 26th-ranked defense that is 27th against the pass and is tied for 21st in points allowed per game. The Packers' run-defense is a very respectable 11th, but that could be a by-product of opponents' concentration on passing the ball. How do you beat the Packers? Obviously, you have to find some way to neutralize Favre and the offense. You should be able to score points.

Jack from Eastport, NY:
I like college football but what's the difference between a true freshman, redshirt freshman and a blue-collar freshman?

Vic: A true freshman wears a beanie the first week of classes, a redshirt freshman needs two years to find the school library, and a blue-collar freshman is someone who is paying his own way.

Justin from Jacksonville:
If the Jags win on Sunday and keep their playoff hopes alive, do you see their final home game against Houston on Dec. 26 being a sellout?

Vic: Only if the Steelers fans show up.

Kevin from Toronto, Ontario:
If the punt-returner calls for a fair catch, can he pick the ball up if the ball touches the ground?

Vic: No; once a fair catch has been signaled, the ball may not be advanced by the receiving team.

Leonard from Santa Barbara, CA:
I was watching Monday Night Football and I was wondering why ABC allowed the viewing of Jeff Fisher putting tobacco in his mouth. Doesn't that send a wrong messsage to our children?

Vic: Vince Lombardi smoked on the sideline and I don't remember kids from my generation being morally scarred. Have our children of today become so fragile that we have to perform for them? You know what I found offensive from ABC's sideline shots of Jeff Fisher last night? That stupid sweatshirt he was wearing. I kind of miss coaches dressed in overcoats, ties and fedoras. I miss coaches dressed as distinguished gentlemen, instead of as sideline billboards for kids clothes.

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