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Packers visit Bucs as Rodgers-Brady duel spices NFL slate

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, right, will lead the unbeaten Packers into Tampa Bay on Sunday for a rare NFL matchup against six-time Super Bowl champion signal caller Tom Brady, left, and the Buccaneers - Maddie Meyer / ©AFP
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, right, will lead the unbeaten Packers into Tampa Bay on Sunday for a rare NFL matchup against six-time Super Bowl champion signal caller Tom Brady, left, and the Buccaneers - Maddie Meyer / ©AFP

(AFP)

Aaron Rodgers leads the unbeaten Green Bay Packers, with the NFL’s top-scoring attack, to Tampa Bay for a rare showdown with Buccaneers star quarterback Tom Brady in Sunday’s feature matchup.

Rodgers, who led the Packers to their most recent Super Bowl victory in 2011, has powered the Packers (4-0) to a league-best 27.9 points a game.

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“We’re up against one of the best teams in the league,” Brady said. “We’ve got to go out there and play a great game if we’re going to beat them.”

Six-time Super Bowl champion and three-time NFL Most Valuable Player Brady, who joined the Bucs this season after 20 years with New England, has Tampa Bay sharing the NFC South division lead at 3-2.

The 43-year-old signal caller has thrown for 1,375 yards and 12 touchdowns with four interceptions while two-time NFL MVP Rodgers, 36, has thrown for 1,214 yards and 13 touchdowns with no interceptions 

“Everybody is pretty much in awe of how he makes it look so easy,” Brady said of Rodgers. “It has just been unbelievable to watch over the years and he has really kept it going.

“He’s a great passer. He’s very efficient. He basically doesn’t throw interceptions and throws a lot of touchdowns. His decision-making is just phenomenal.

“When you do that as a quarterback, you put your team in a position to win. He’s one of the great quarterbacks to ever play the game.”

Rodgers praised Brady as one of the NFL’s greatest as well.

“Fans should enjoy what they get to watch because there are some guys they get to watch for 15 or 20 some years who are some of the greatest talents to ever play the game,” Rodgers said.

“We should enjoy it and have respect and admiration for what they have done and that their careers are still going on.”

It’s only the third time that Rodgers and Brady will meet as NFL rivals. Rodgers led the Packers over New England 26-21 in 2014 and Brady sparked the host Patriots over Green Bay 31-17 in 2018.

The Packers have allowed only three sacks this season while Tampa Bay has made 17 sacks. The Packers rank fifth in the NFL with 5.1 rushing yards a carry but the Bucs boast the NFL’s top defensive unit against the run, permitting only 58.4 yards a game on the ground with an NFL-low 2.7 yards a carry.

While the Brady-Rodgers matchup grabs the spotlight, each will face a top defensive unit, although ball control will allow them to frustrate their rival if they can manage it.

“I’m not defending (against) Aaron,” Brady said. “I can play a role in that by doing our job on offense so a guy like that doesn’t have his offense on the field trying to score points. You just can’t give guys like that an extra opportunity because they make you pay.”

– Mahomes ready for Bills –

Reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City and Buffalo will meet Monday in a showdown of 4-1 division leaders.

“Anytime you get to play one of these great games, against great opponents, it’s always an exciting challenge and I’m ready for it,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said.

The Chiefs are trying to bounce back from a 40-32 home loss to the Las Vegas Raiders last weekend while the Bills seek a rebound after falling 42-16 at Tennessee on Tuesday.

Two other unbeaten division leaders will put their perfect marks on the line as Tennessee (4-0) plays host to Houston (1-4) and Pittsburgh (4-0) entertains Cleveland (4-1).

Sunday’s other games find Chicago (4-1) at Carolina (3-2), the Los Angeles Rams (4-1) at San Francisco (2-3), Denver (1-3) at New England (2-2), Baltimore (4-1) at Philadelphia (1-3-1), Washington (1-4) at NY Giants (0-5), Atlanta (0-5) at Minnesota (1-4), Detroit (1-3) at Jacksonville (1-4), the New York Jets (0-5) at Miami (2-3) and Cincinnati (1-3-1) at Indianapolis (3-2). Arizona (3-2) visits Dallas (2-3) on Monday night.

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