You're going to hear a lot this week about payback; about how the Green Bay Packers plan on exacting a bit of revenge for last year's NFC championship game loss in Seattle. But when the Packers host the Seahawks in a Week 2 showdown on Sunday night, their only focus will be on Sunday night, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, not on what happened at CenturyLink Field eight months ago.
"We're focusing on going 2-0, winning our first home game," McCarthy said on a conference call. "Everything we're doing, we're focusing on winning this football game."
If that sounds vaguely familiar, it's probably because Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has spent his entire tenure in Seattle driving home one of his key philosophies, which is to treat every week as a championship week.
The Packers lost to the Seahawks with a Super Bowl berth at stake, losing a double-digit lead in the final minutes of the game, but McCarthy wants his team focused on the 2015 Seahawks, not the way the previous season ended.
"Seattle's an outstanding football team," McCarthy said. "… We know it's going to be a physical football game Sunday night, and we're looking forward to it."
As is always the case in the NFL, both teams' rosters have changed since the two teams faced off in January. One of the more notable changes for both teams has come in the passing game, with the Seahawks adding tight end Jimmy Graham and the Packers losing top receiver Jordy Nelson for the season with a knee injury. Even without Nelson, the Packers have a potent offense, led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and they are confident in the ability of other players to step up with Nelson out.
"Jordy's a great player," McCarthy said. "It's disappointing any time you lose one of your players, especially for the season. So it's really opportunities for other players to step in and take advantage of that, and we adjust it accordingly."
Similarly, McCarthy expects a strong showing from Seattle's defense minus one of its stars, safety Kam Chancellor.
"He's an impactful player, but it's how this league goes," McCarthy said. "They're still outstanding on defense, we have a lot of respect for them... Schematically as far as the way they fly around. They do a good job of attacking the football, very good against the run, so the characteristics that have existed there under Pete Carroll's tenure."
A few new faces and a few missing ones aside, this week's game figures to be another closely contested battle between two of the NFC's top teams, but what it won't be is a game in which either team wants to revisit the last close meeting between the two.
Seattle Seahawks team photographer Rod Mar continues his Eye On the Hawks series bringing you behind the scenes during the thrilling NFC Championship game with the Green Bay Packers.