"It's a lot of pressure. When you come out and basically say, 'We're a Super Bowl team,' that's what everyone's going to look at," Mikell said. "When you have the expectation that you're in it for the Super Bowl or nothing . . . you add unneeded pressure on yourself."
The only pressure on the Rams right now is to be respectable in the woeful NFC West, won by the 7-9 Seahawks last season.
"Here, nobody's giving us a [chance] to win this game, let alone the Super Bowl," Mikell said. "We can just come out and play ball. We don't have to deal with all the craziness that comes with the high expectations."
Mikell doesn't appear to be dealing with much bitterness, either.
Like mentor Brian Dawkins 2 years ago, the Eagles declined to re-sign Mikell after Mikell went to the Pro Bowl. After Mikell signed with the Rams, Dawkins, a Bronco the past two seasons, called Mikell to commiserate.
Both wish they could have stayed in Philadelphia, but both understand the Eagles' choices. Two years ago, the Eagles banked on Sean Jones. The Eagles, last year, drafted safety Nate Allen in the second round. This year, they took Jaiquawn Jarrett in the second round.
They also traded for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and signed free agent gem Nnamdi Asomugha, both of whom will make money that could have been used to retain Mikell, who will turn 31 next week.
"It was a little bit weird seeing some of the things they did," Mikell said. "Maybe we just weren't doing a good enough job and they had to bring in a whole different look."
That look is untested, and wavering. Allen's lingering knee problems have made free-agent signee Jarrad Page a likely starter Sunday, and second-year man Kurt Coleman - a seventh-round pick with two starts - is looking over his shoulder at Jarrett.
Which means the Eagles' safety position is anything but secured. For $28 million, maybe it could have been.
"Maybe the Rams value that a little bit more than the Eagles organization," Mikell said.
Maybe the Eagles will value it more after Sunday's game.