Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  By PAUL IMIG  |  Last updated 9/4/13
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It was clear that the Green Bay Packers did not want to think about last season's divisional-round playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. With the two teams matching up Sunday afternoon for the first time since the 49ers won 45-31 to end Green Bay's 2012 season, the Packers are acting like that game was a lifetime ago and are trying to avoid adding any further significance to the rematch. "This is a very important game because it's the next game," coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's a new season. Everything that's gone on in the past has been answered. It's been discussed. But everything we're doing is getting ready to win this game." McCarthy's tone in his press conference told the story just as much as his words. McCarthy was direct and stern and never deviated far from generic responses. "Our goal is really to score as many points as we need to," McCarthy said when asked specifically about the running game. "It's important to score more points than the opponent. That's always been our focus." McCarthy wasn't the only one downplaying the importance of the upcoming game at Candlestick Park. "You have to move forward," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "It's a new team, obviously. We've got a new roster and it's all about the 2013 Packers. Guys are trying to figure out their role on this team and we're trying to see how the identity of this team shapes out." Green Bay has 16 players on its current 53-man roster who weren't active (or on the team at all) when the Packers were soundly defeated in San Francisco on Jan. 12. At that time, starting running back Eddie Lacy had just won a third National Championship at Alabama, starting left tackle David Bakhtiari was reeling from an abysmal 1-11 season at the University of Colorado, starting outside linebacker Nick Perry was on injured reserve and defensive lineman Johnny Jolly was still waiting to see if the NFL would ever reinstate him. So, the attitude from McCarthy and Rodgers is somewhat fair. There are plenty of new players in Green Bay's locker room who could help make Sunday's result different from when these teams last met. However, the majority of the key players remain in place for both teams. Perhaps most importantly, it's still Rodgers against Colin Kaepernick in the battle of the quarterbacks. Though Rodgers is a former NFL Most Valuable Player and has a Super Bowl ring, Kaepernick was the better of the two in January. Rodgers was a respectable 26 of 39 passing for 257 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, but Kaepernick threw for 263 yards and ran for 181 yards. "I don't think pressure is the right word," Kaepernick said in a conference call when asked about having a repeat performance. "You have to come out and perform no matter what, whether you had good season or bad season last year." The number that had the biggest impact in that game -- aside from the final score, of course -- was 579. That's the total number of yards that Kaepernick led San Francisco's offense to as he made the Packers' defense look utterly lost and confused. "579; that's a number that will stick in our focus as a defense throughout the offseason," McCarthy said at the Scouting Combine in February. "We're studying the read option, the teams that are doing it in the NFL." Green Bay's coaching staff visited Texas A&M this offseason to get some help from coach Kevin Sumlin. There was a lot of other prep work done, as well. But this week has been about reviewing game film to get ready for Kaepernick and the 49ers. Though McCarthy wouldn't go into detail, footage from the Packers' postseason loss in San Francisco was part of it. "You look at games that obviously you feel have input to your game-plan and how you prepare for the game," McCarthy said. "Obviously, when you play a team in the past like we did last year, watching both games, your opportunity for the players to see the matchups, you look at all that tape and it's part of the cut-ups." Don't expect both of the 49ers' victories over Green Bay last season to get San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh to take the Packers lightly. "I remember those childhood, high school and college memories of coaches saying, 'These guys are good but, gosh darn it, they're not the Green Bay Packers!,'" Harbaugh said in the conference call. "Here we are, preparing for the Green Bay Packers. It's pretty neat." There's very little Rodgers and Green Bay's offense can do when the opponent scores 45 points. The Packers' defense was deservedly given most of the blame for the loss last postseason, but for Rodgers, what he took from that experience is that they just need to score more points next time. "We had 24 points on offense; that's not bad against that defense, but we need to score enough points to win and we didn't do that," Rodgers said. "A couple drives there in the third quarter that really were frustrating, didn't get enough points there. We had some opportunities. Playing a great team like this that you know can put up points, you have to maximize opportunities." There are a lot of must-see games on the NFL's Week 1 schedule. But no matter how much McCarthy and Rodgers try to lessen the relevance of Packers-49ers, it's not going to work. This game will go a long way in determining the team that belongs -- and doesn't belong -- at the top of the NFC this season. Follow Paul Imig on Twitter
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The first time John Randle talked trash in the NFL
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Eagles rookie nixes anthem protest after talking to agent

Report: Romo has no ligament damage, to resume training soon

Michael Phelps to be honored with unique Wheaties box

Woman suing Brewers after being struck by foul ball

Report: ‘Strong chance’ J.J. Watt will play in Week 1

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Broncos name Trevor Siemian their Week 1 starter

Report: Jets fielding calls for Geno Smith

Report: Bryan Stork fails physical, rights revert to Pats

Eric Berry signs franchise tender, returns to Chiefs

Brandon Jennings takes swipe at Reggie Miller's career

Report: Kaepernick facing ‘uphill battle’ to make roster

WATCH: John Randle on the first time he talked trash in the NFL

The hottest hitters in MLB heading into September sprint

Who has the most to prove at the US Open?

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Six NFL quarterbacks the Cowboys must consider

Dwight Howard trying new way to improve free throw shooting

Eight players who have stepped up in NFL preseason so far

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: John Randle on the first time he talked trash in the NFL

The hottest hitters in MLB heading into September sprint

Who has the most to prove at the US Open?

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker