Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott's NFL career is off to a great start. Veteran Aaron Rodgers is looking for more consistency in Green Bay.
It's a surprise that the Cowboys' young signal-caller has been more accurate than the two-time NFL MVP more than a month into the season. They'll meet for the first time on Sunday when Dallas (4-1) visits Lambeau Field to face the Packers (3-1).
Prescott, fourth in the league in completion percentage at 69 percent, has yet to throw an interception. Rodgers is 31st in the NFL at 56 percent, with three picks.
"He looks like he's played in the offense for quite some time," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said about Prescott. "He's done a really good job particularly ... as far as his decisions with where he goes with the football."
Quite impressive for a rookie who took over after veteran Tony Romo went down with a back injury in the preseason. Prescott has attempted 155 passes without an interception, second most by a quarterback to start his NFL career behind New England's Tom Brady (162). Prescott is off to the best interception-free start for a rookie.
"I've got high expectations for myself. I only want to get better," Prescott said.
It sure helps to be able to hand the ball off to the league's leading rusher in rookie Ezekiel Elliott (109.2 yards per game).
Rodgers' completion percentage may be uncharacteristically low, though it's not like the Packers' offense is stuck in neutral. Rodgers has thrown nine touchdown passes, five to Jordy Nelson. Green Bay amassed a season-high 406 yards in total offense in last week's 23-16 victory over the New York Giants, when Rodgers showed vintage touch with a sideline pass to Davante Adams for a 29-yard score.
But given the high standards set by McCarthy's offenses in recent years, Green Bay's choppy start does stand out.
Penalties maligned a couple other big plays last week. Timing seems to be just a touch off at times, and there have been uncharacteristic drops by receivers.
"I'm not worried about that at all. Those things happen," Rodgers said. "I missed some passes. Those guys shouldn't be worried about me, either. We're going to get better. We're not going to have inconsistent performances like that."
Other notes and things to watch Sunday:
What Will Dez Do?
Star receiver Dez Bryant returned to practice this week but wasn't sure he would be available against the Packers after missing two games with a hairline fracture in his right knee. He came back after getting hurt against Chicago and scored a touchdown, but it's been a cautious approach since the injury was revealed.
"I'm OK with it because we are sitting at 4-1," said Bryant. "It's no need to rush things."
The Packers' top-rated run defense (42.8 yards per game) faces its biggest test yet in Elliott and Prescott. It's the first time this season Green Bay will face a mobile quarterback. The Cowboys' offensive line has played well, but the Packers might have their best defensive front in years. The line could be reinforced if key backup Mike Pennel returns to the active roster after being suspended for the first four games by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Bullish lineman Mike Daniels leads the push in the middle, while Clay Matthews and Nick Perry spark a deep group of outside linebackers who have extended the wall against the run to the edges.
Romo vs. Prescott
It's looking more like Romo won't be ready Oct. 30 against Philadelphia after the Cowboys' bye. If Prescott wins again, the chorus will grow louder for him to keep the job once Dallas' 10-year starter is ready to play again.
Prescott, Elliott and Bryant shrugged off such talk this week.
"That's my job, is to win," Prescott said. "I'm going to focus on that. If you want to make it bigger, that's up to you guys."
Packers running back Eddie Lacy bowled over the Giants last week for 81 yards on 11 carries before leaving with a left ankle injury. He was limited at midweek in practice, though it appears Lacy has a good shot to play Sunday. Lacy's hard-charging style won over the Lambeau Field faithful last week, when they chanted "Ed-die! Ed-die" after the big back lowered his shoulder to power past defenders.
The Packers plan to honor former quarterback Brett Favre again at halftime, when they will unveil his name along the southeast facade inside Lambeau alongside other Packers enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Favre, who was inducted in August, will also be presented with his Hall of Fame ring.