Rodgers powers Packers into Dallas, unbeaten Chiefs visit Houston

AFP

Washington (AFP) - Aaron Rodgers leads the Green Bay Packers into Dallas while Kansas City risks its undefeated record at Houston as the NFL's feature matchups Sunday kickoff in gridiron-loving Texas.

The Packers return to Cowboys Stadium, where they defeated Pittsburgh in the 2011 Super Bowl, with a 3-1 record and a share of the NFC North division lead to face a 2-2 Cowboys team coming off a 35-30 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

"I have some great feelings about that stadium, winning that Super Bowl, standing on that stage, holding that (trophy), nothing better than that," Rodgers said.

Rodgers has completed 107 of 160 passes for 1,146 yards and 10 touchdowns, with five scoring tosses to Jordy Nelson. He ranks third in the NFL in completions, accuracy and yardage and shares the touchdowns lead with New England's Tom Brady.

But Dallas counters with a formidable defensive unit that includes the NFL leader in quarterback sacks, Demarcus Lawrence, who has 7 1/2 sacks in only four games.

"We have to go out and do our job to the best of our ability," Rodgers said. "It's a 'no excuses' mentality."

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, whose teams lost their first playoff game to Green Bay last season and after the 2014 campaign, regards Rodgers as a rare talent.

"He's just exceptional," Garrett said. "He's exceptional in every way. Really smart, really experienced. He has rare athletic ability, both his feet and his arm talent are off the charts. He has a great feel for the game and is an incredible competitor. He always plays with great poise and composure. He makes everyone around him better."

In addition to the playoff losses to the Packers, Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli went against Rodgers as coach at Detroit and an assistant at Chicago with the Packers as division rivals of each club. Green Bay won 13 of 15 matchups against Marinelli's schemes to stop him, with Rodgers producing 29 touchdowns against only eight interceptions.

"I don't think it has anything to do with Rod," Rodgers said. "He always puts together a solid squad on that side of the ball."

The Kansas City Chiefs, the last unbeaten NFL club at 4-0 after a 29-20 home win Monday over Washington, have a short rest week ahead of facing the Texans (2-2) and hot rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, who threw for four touchdowns and ran for another in a 57-14 rout of Tennessee last week.

- 'A damn good football team' -

In other top games Sunday, 3-1 division co-leaders Carolina and Detroit meet in the Motor City while 3-1 division leaders Pittsburgh host Jacksonville (2-2), the Rams host Seattle (2-2) and Philadelphia entertain Arizona (2-2).

The Buffalo Bills, who lead the AFC East at 3-1, haven't won a playoff game since the 1995 season and haven't reached the playoffs since the 1999 campaign. They have only managed one winning season since 2004, but they visit 1-3 Cincinnati with renewed vigor.

"People (said) we suck a few weeks ago. Now everyone's like: 'Oh the Bills are good,'" rookie receiver Zay Jones said. "In house, we have process and we know what we have. We are a damn good football team."

The NFL's longest active playoff drought could end after 17 years, but as rusher LeSean McCoy put it: "Nobody gets crowned or is champs in five games."

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