Packers excited about NFC North title game

TAMPA, Fla. -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the Green Bay Packers' 20-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium:

Looking forward to the Lions: It didn't take long for the Packers to start talking about next Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. It's the second straight year the Packers are in a Week 17 game for the NFC North title. Last year, it was a winner-take-all game that they won in Chicago. This year, both the Packers and Lions already have clinched playoff spots. A Packers victory would give them no worse than the No. 2 seed in the NFC, a first-round playoff bye and a home game in the divisional round. The loser will play a wild-card game on the road. "That's definitely going to be a playoff game," Packers guard T.J. Lang said. "You've got a home game on the line, who doesn't want to play at home, especially the way we're playing at home? And I know they would love to have a playoff game at their field, too. So it's going to be a big game."

Captains speak up: Several players credited a players-only meeting on Saturday night at the team hotel as a spark for Sunday's victory. It came just days after the Packers elected playoff captains. Apparently most, if not all of, those captains spoke in the meeting. "We sat down and had a heart-to-heart; guys were fired up and ready," said safety Morgan Burnett, one of the defensive captains. "We treat these next two games like the playoffs. For us, the playoffs have already started. We have to bring that intensity every day." Said rookie center Corey Linsley of the meeting: "It was awesome. We get a chance to hear Aaron [Rodgers], and Jordy [Nelson] is kind of quiet, but we hear Aaron. Aaron is obviously the leader of the offense. We hear Jordy every once in a while. He's a quiet guy, but to hear the guys on the defense who you normally don't hear, you just get a little bit of that motivation there, a little bit into their psyche. It was awesome. Anytime I get a chance to hear Julius Peppers, Morgan Burnett or [Jarrett Bush] to speak, my ears are definitely listening."

Hail to the defense: There was praise all around for the Packers' defense, which recorded a season-high seven sacks and held the Bucs to just 109 total net yards. "Defense was unbelievable," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "It started up front with stopping the run, making them one-dimensional, the sacks, the constant pressure. Probably one of our best defensive performances."