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Packers, Cowboys try to bounce back after first NFL losses


Washington (AFP)

Dallas Cowboys rusher Ezekiel Elliott and Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, coming off sub-par performances, try to revive their NFL clubs after losses when the Packers visit Dallas on Sunday.

The Texas showdown is the only NFL game of the weekend pitting clubs with winning records, both of them 3-1 after defeats last week, the Cowboys falling 12-10 at New Orleans and the Packers beaten 34-27 by visiting Philadelphia.

"A loss is definitely a loss but the most important thing is seeing growth and I thought we showed some of that," Rodgers said. "We moved the ball efficiently, but we're going to be our biggest critics. Myself and our offense have got to play better in the red zone and be able to put good teams away when you get down there.

"You've got to get touchdowns."

Rodgers has thrown for 1,069 yards and six touchdowns with only one interception through four games, shredding the Eagles for 422 yards last week as the attack found a rhythm.

"We'd like to be scoring 30 a game," Rodgers said. "The goal with this offense is to be explosive and put points up and take pressure off the defense. Last week we needed to outscore them, and we didn't get the job done."

The Cowboys hope Elliott, coming off a 35-yard rushing effort against the Saints that was the third-worst of his career, bounces back against a Packers defensive unit that ranks 26th among 32 NFL clubs against the run, allowing 142.3 rushing yards a game.

"You've got to take it personally, but you've also got to take what you've learned from the game and move on," Elliott said. "We're on to a new opponent, a new team this week. We've just got to figure out the best way to overcome this one."

At 5.0 yards a carry, Green Bay foes have the fouth-best run average allowed by any NFL defenders. Elliott is averaging 4.4 yards a carry.

- focused on a 'W' -

"Some teams have had some good running games against them, but we've got to go out there and play our football," Elliott said. "I'm not really too focused on them, just focused on us and getting better as a team and getting a W."

The Packers own a 19-17 edge in the all-time rivalry, which dates to the Cowboys' first season in 1960. Green Bay beat Dallas on the way to winning the first two Super Bowls and the Cowboys downed the Packers in the conference finals before winning Super Bowl 30 in 1996.

Since Rodgers lost his first start in the Cowboys-Packers rivalry in the first Dallas victory at Green Bay back in 2008, the Packers are 7-1 against the Cowboys, the only loss coming in 2016 in Dak Prescott's first start against Green Bay as the Dallas quarterback.

The NFL's three remaining undefeated clubs are all playing this week with New England (4-0) at winless Washington (0-4) and Kansas City (4-0) hosting Indianapolis on Sunday while San Francisco (3-0) entertains Cleveland (2-2) on Monday night.

On the other end of the league, Arizona (0-3 with one drawn) visits Cincinnati (0-4) in a matchup they can't both lose.

And the Chicago Bears will face the Oakland Raiders at London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the first of four NFL games scheduled in England this season.

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