It's been six seasons since Michael Vick started in a playoff game. One might expect a quarterback under those circumstances to feel some angst in the days leading up to Sunday afternoon.
But not Vick.
The Eagles quarterback has remained cool, calm and collected throughout his rise from role player to MVP candidate – something that won't change as Vick takes the field Sunday against the Packers.
"It's exciting," Vick said Wednesday. "Obviously this is a very intense time. But this is what you play for. This is why you play so hard in the regular season, to try to accumulate as many wins as you can so you can play in the postseason.
"I'll be very calm. I'll be excited to be out there, but very calm at the same time. You can't get too high in this league and you can't get too low. You have to stay even keeled and that's what I'll do."
Having secured the No. 3 in the NFC playoff bracket, the Eagles were afforded the opportunity to rest some of their banged-up starters in the regular season finale against the Cowboys - chief among them being Vick. Back in Week 16, Vick sustained a quad contusion on the first play from scrimmage in a loss to the Vikings.
Given two full weeks to heal, Vick thinks he'll be operating at full capacity when the clock strikes 4:30 PM on Sunday afternoon.
"I'll definitely be 100 percent based on the way I feel now," Vick said. "I give a lot of credit to the trainers for getting me in a position where I can go out and compete."
Waiting for Vick on the turf at Lincoln Financial Field this weekend will be a Packers defense that ranked fifth in the NFL in total yards and second in points allowed. Having played them in Week 1, Vick knows how much of a challenge they present, and admits that they've only grown as a defense since then.
"They're a very dangerous group," Vick said. "Clay (Matthews) is playing some of the best football you'll ever see out of an NFL defensive player, and Charles (Woodson) has been making plays since the beginning of his career. Based on what they've done, I think we might get some different looks. They've definitely gotten better as a defense, and we really have to be conscious about what they're trying to do.
"It's great to compete against those guys, and sometimes it brings the best out of everybody."
The last time Vick started a playoff game, he did so right here in Philadelphia. One thing he remembers most about the 2004 NFC Championship game is the crowd noise, and how difficult it was to conduct his offense with any sort of rhythm.
To say that he's happy to be on the other sideline this weekend is an understatement.
"Philadelphia is always going to be a tough place to play (in the playoffs)," Vick said. "I've witnessed it first-hand, and it was tough. This weekend, I know they'll bring that enthusiasm, bring that cheer and bring that fight with them. We're going to need a 12th man this week."
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 2:30 p.m., January 5