At this time of year, it's natural for NFL players to start thinking about the playoffs. It's hard to avoid all of the speculation and multiple playoff scenarios that seem to be everywhere as the season draws near to its close.
Green Bay is one place where you definitely think the thoughts of the postseason would be running through the heads of the players in the locker room, since many of them have seldom, if ever, been part of a team that hasn't advanced to play some January football.
Even though a berth in the NFL's 12-team postseason tournament is just one win away, most of the players at Lambeau Field Wednesday were focused on one thing and one thing only - beating the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"I didn't even know that," quarterback Brett Favre said when asked about the thought of locking up a playoff spot with a victory Sunday. "I don't know why that would be any extra motivation. I don't see why we need any. We're not in a position to think that way. It would be great if that's the case, but we have to be concerned about one thing and that's playing at our best, which is the only chance we have to win.
"We're not good enough to make too many mistakes and win. Jacksonville is a good football team. If we win this game and do get a playoff spot, great. But I don't think any of the guys in (the locker room) - unless you bring that to their attention - would know that that's what's at stake this week."
When it was brought to their attention, Favre's teammates had largely the same reaction as their leader. They are focused totally on winning Sunday.
"For me it's just another game that we've got to win," said right guard Marco Rivera. "We've still got a lot of things to do. We're 8-5 right now and by the end of Sunday, I want to be 9-5. So if we clinch the playoffs on Sunday, that would be great. That's just an added bonus."
Fellow linemate Mark Tauscher said that reaching the playoffs is just one of many goals the Packers are looking to accomplish, but to reach those goals, beating the Jaguars comes first.
"If you don't get in the playoffs, you have no chance," Tauscher said. "So I don't think you should ever take that stuff for granted, but we just want to beat Jacksonville and everything that kind of falls into line after that, great. But if you don't make the playoffs, you don't have a chance to do anything, so that's obviously goal number one.
"Jacksonville's this week. We need to win this game and we're in the playoffs. Check one thing off. Now what's our next thing that we can accomplish during the course of the regular season?"
Left guard Mike Wahle, one of those players who has grown accustomed to playing more than just 16 games a year in his seven seasons in Green Bay, knows not to take reaching the postseason for granted.
"We always expect it, but it is a big deal," said Wahle. "Like Coach said today, there's not a whole lot of teams that are going to be in this position that we are in and we have been in the last couple of years. So we're very fortunate from that standpoint, but at the same time it takes a lot of hard work and we realize that opportunities like this don't come around all the time. I think the longer you're here, the more you realize that.
"So it's very important that we do that. We do have a lot of goals like I said before - this is one of them - but it's certainly not the only one, so we're going to try to treat this and the rest of the games as playoff games and see how far we can go."