NFC CHAMPIONSHIP Bucs get another shot in the cold
Tampa Bay has lost four straight games to Philadelphia.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers do a lot of talking, and the Philadelphia Eagles aren't listening.
"We're not worrying about what they say," running back Duce Staley said Monday. "We do our talking with what we do on the field."
Led by trash-talking stars Warren Sapp and Keyshawn Johnson, the Buccaneers (13-4) are coming to Veterans Stadium for the third straight year in the playoffs.
Super Bowl ticket
This time, a berth in the Super Bowl is at stake when Tampa plays the Eagles (13-4) in the NFC championship game Sunday. The Bucs lost first-round playoff games in Philadelphia the last two seasons.
The Eagles knocked the Bucs out of the playoffs with a 21-3 victory in 2000, and a 31-9 win last season. Tony Dungy was fired after last year's loss, and replaced by Jon Gruden. The Eagles also beat Tampa Bay 20-10 earlier this season.
Return specialist Brian Mitchell hasn't forgotten the Bucs' incessant yapping from three months ago.
"They said I'm ancient, that I'm an old man," the 34-year-old Mitchell said.
"So I did what old men do, I slapped the young guys all around the field."
Now the Bucs are looking for payback. They insist this is the matchup they wanted, even though they've lost four in a row to Philadelphia.
"This is to exorcise all the demons," defensive end Simeon Rice said. "Definitely, we want this. If you don't want this, then you don't want to consider yourself the best because they're the best team right now in the NFC."
The Eagles have heard this before.
"Let them talk," right tackle Jon Runyan said.
The Eagles had success running against Tampa Bay's top-ranked defense in their first matchup this season. Staley had 152 yards on 24 carries.