Looking ahead? Forget about it

Green Bay, fresh off a rousing win against Minnesota, is not looking past Detroit, which was routed at Atlanta in Week 1.

Maybe he's just a good actor, but linebacker Nick Barnett swears he's not looking past Sunday's game at Detroit and looking ahead to whoever is coming to Green Bay in Week 3.

Reporter: Do you know who you play after Detroit?

Barnett: "I know it's a home game, because I always check to see if it's at home."

Reporter: You don't know who it's against?

Barnett: "Nah. To tell you the truth, no, I don't. ... Monday night."

Reporter: It's on Sunday night.

Barnett: "See, I don't even know what (darned) day it's on. That's how focused I am."

Reporter: If I told you Jessica Simpson might be in town, would that give it away?

Barnett: "I don't even want to know want to talk about Jessica Simpson. Tell me what (the Lions') girlfriends' names are."

If the Packers, fresh off of a showdown win against Minnesota and with a showdown against NFC favorite Dallas the following week, are looking past the Lions, they aren't letting on.

The clear and present danger is Detroit, which was blown out 34-21 by arguably the NFL's worst team, Atlanta, in Week 1. Nobody is expecting the Lions to roll over again, especially in their home opener and facing their rivals.

"Knowing their head coach's reputation, he will have them ready to go. I expect a very fiery, very intense Detroit Lion football team," defensive end Aaron Kampman said, adding later: "We'll see their very best."

Lions coach Rod Marinelli expects a better performance, too. During a conference call with Packers reporters stationed at Lambeau Field on Wednesday, Marinelli blamed the Falcons debacle on a "bunch of things," including poor tackling and getting tentative when things went awry en route to a 21-0 deficit after the first quarter.

Veteran quarterback Jon Kitna, who piloted the Lions to a 3-13 record in 2006 and 7-9 last season, said things snowballed against Atlanta.

"One of the things I've learned in 13 years is, sometimes openers get that way," Kitna said in his own conference call, "because you come out so high emotionally, and if something bad happens to you early and it doesn't quite go the way you think, the letdown is sometimes hard to overcome. I think you saw that through the league this week. There were a lot of lopsided scores."

Based on the teams' starts to this season, the Packers' six-game advantage in the standings last year, their five-game winning streak against Detroit and their 4-2 record at Ford Field — not to mention another big game next week against Dallas — it's easy to imagine the Packers looking past Detroit.

That doesn't appear likely. Coach Mike McCarthy said the first two practices of the week were strong.

"I think everybody has to guard against looking forward or the same thing, looking backwards too, coming off a big game, short week, ‘Monday Night Football,' the things you were able to accomplish in that game," McCarthy said. "That's not the way they're coached and that's not the atmosphere we work in."

Barnett has real-world experience about what happens when you look past an opponent. In 2000, Barnett was in his sophomore season at Oregon State. The Beavers were a perennial Pac-10 Conference doormat — "people thought we were a team they were going to run over" — but they finished a stunning 11-1.

So, Barnett said there's no danger of looking ahead to ... whoever the heck the Packers are playing next Monday, errr, Sunday night.

"It's like fighting a man who's right in front of your face and trying to see who's behind him," Barnett said. "You're going to get hit in the chin."

Bill Huber is editor of Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com

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