The Green Bay Packers return to site of one of their most agonizing defeats in recent memory this weekend as they travel to Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field to take on the 10-1 Eagles Sunday afternoon.
Less than 11 months ago, the Packers made the same trip, only to come up just short 20-17 in overtime in an NFC Divisional Playoff game. Just two months before that, the Eagles won another close one between the two teams, 17-14, on Monday Night Football at Lambeau Field.
Despite the difficult nature of these losses, the word across the board coming out of Green Bay this week has been that those games have long since been forgotten.
GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said that he is only concerned with what his team is able to accomplish this week in regard to facing Philadelphia.
"I've got to be worried about what we do this year," said Sherman. "We've got a lot on our plate to accomplish this season. You can't go back and undo what's done. When we hit the field when we get to Philly's stadium and we walk out of the locker room, will there be a little extra something in their gut? I hope so.
"But as far as our preparation is concerned, it's totally focused on what we're trying to accomplish this year. We had our opportunity last year. We didn't take advantage of it and we have an opportunity to play a very good Philadelphia team this year, which we hope to take advantage of."
Quarterback Brett Favre agreed with his coach, stating that revenge will not be a factor in his and his teammates' desire to get out of Philly with their seventh straight win.
"I don't think about it," Favre responded when asked about last January's game. "I did for quite a while after we lost to them, but we've put that behind us. Obviously it comes up a lot this week, but that's past tense. There shouldn't be any revenge - that shouldn't cross our minds.
"They made the plays we didn't. It wasn't anything different than that. They didn't rub it in our faces. Both games last year, we had a chance to win the ballgame but they made one more play than we did. So to say that they ended our season and we owe them one, that's untrue. We have to win this football game for a lot of reasons, but we just didn't play better than them last year."
One aspect of the 2003 games the Packers hope will carry over into the 2004 season is their rushing success. Green Bay tallied over 200 yards on the ground in each contest, with Ahman Green ripping 192 and 156 yards in the respective games.
Guard Marco Rivera, one of the men responsible for opening the holes for Green to run through, doesn't see much correlation between last year's games and Sunday, partially thanks to the great amount roster turnover in the modern NFL.
"Last year is last year," he said. "That's in the past. Every year now it's a new team, it's a new Philadelphia Eagles team, it's a new Packer team. To look back and think about that last game - that's in the past and we've got to look at the present right now and focus in on the 2004 Philadelphia Eagles and try to find a way to beat these guys.
"That's a totally different Eagles' defense. They've got different personnel, they shifted around their linebackers and they're playing a lot better defensively than they did last year. We just need to sustain our blocks, try to be crisp, and hopefully our running backs will get the yardage."
Fellow lineman Mark Tauscher summed up the feeling in the locker room this week.
"Winning Sunday is not going to get anything back from last year," he said. "All that psychological stuff is secondary. The most important thing is getting to 8-4. In order to do that, we have to beat a really good football team at their place and we've got a lot of challenges to overcome there."