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 MILWAUKEE (AP) -When the Green Bay Packers reconvene for practice Wednesday, they're likely to hear another lecture from coach Mike McCarthy on a familiar topic: how to handle success.
Since taking over as the Packers' coach nearly two years ago, McCarthy has emphasized to his players that handling success is one of the most difficult - if enviable - problems a team can run into.
Now, after an embarrassing 35-7 loss in abominable weather conditions at Chicago on Sunday, McCarthy plans to go over the lesson again.
``I think you need to take a step back like we have the past couple weeks, and revisit talking about handling success,'' McCarthy said Monday in Green Bay. ``You're a 12-2 football team and you go down and play a football team that's out of the playoffs, they're a rival game, and to perform the way we did - that's something else we'll talk about.''
With the loss, the Packers allowed Dallas to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They're still assured of a first-round playoff bye and one home playoff game. But if the Packers face the Cowboys in the NFC title game, it will be in Dallas.
``Sure, we'd much rather play them in Green Bay, but judging by the way we played today, we may be better off playing somewhere else,'' Brett Favre said after Sunday's loss. ``I have no idea. I do know this: It can be a distraction. Now we know what's at stake. Let this be our wake-up call.''
All year, McCarthy and Packers players have faced questions about whether their pass-first, precision-based offense would run into trouble when the weather turned bad.
And while the answer appeared to be a resounding ``no'' on Sunday, the Packers are not likely to run into such an extreme combination of wind and cold again - even at Lambeau Field in January.
Beyond that, McCarthy said he is far more comfortable with his team's ability to run the ball now than he was earlier in the year.
``I think we've shown the flexibility to run and pass the ball,'' he said. ``I think if you had that opinion of us after Week 6, I'd totally agree with you, because I was concerned about the run game then. I am not now.''
The Packers didn't practice outside last week, because McCarthy believes it causes such a disruption to the regular flow of preparation that it outweighs any potential benefits. McCarthy wasn't second-guessing himself Monday.
``There's a point where the returns are not there,'' McCarthy said. ``When people are not focusing on practice, and the quality of practice decreases because you want to appease the weather pattern, that's counterproductive, in my opinion. That's why we practice inside. I don't think being outside would have factored at all as far as our preparation.''
The Packers' playoff position already has been determined, but McCarthy said the Packers will ``play to win the game'' against Detroit on Sunday. After last weekend's loss, it's the last chance for the Packers to regain momentum going into the playoffs.
``I'm clearly not happy with the way we performed yesterday,'' McCarthy said. ``So it's important to get back on the field and get going as far as playing to the level that we need to play. And, also with the fact that we won't play for another week, I want to make sure we stay sharp.
``We need to clean up a lot of things fundamentally just off of our last contest, and that will be our focus as we go through the week and have the opportunity to go out and compete and win the game against Detroit.''
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