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Brady, Rodgers set to finally meet

Ken Powtak
Associated Press

Foxborough, Mass. — Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers really do have a lot in common.

During this season's first month, the star quarterbacks of the Patriots and Packers were facing questions about their teams' slow starts.

It's no coincidence New England and Green Bay are now playing at extremely high levels. Consistent, outstanding play by both quarterbacks, who never have played against each other, has their clubs on similar paths.

Heading into Sunday's showdown at Green Bay's Lambeau Field, Brady's Patriots and Rodgers' Packers are riding high in their respective conferences.

New England (9-2) owns the AFC's best record, coming in riding a seven-game winning streak. NFC North-leading Green Bay (8-3) has won seven of eight.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked if he saw any similarities in how they've elevated their play after the slow starts.

"They both wear No. 12," he said, breaking into a grin before he left the podium.

Belichick was more expansive in praising Rodgers.

"He's great," he said. "He's quick, he's big, he throws the ball very accurately, has great vision down the field. He finds guys that there's not a lot of space, but he finds them and he hits them."

Rodgers has thrown 30 touchdowns and three interceptions this season, completing 66.7 percent of his passes for an NFL-leading 119.2 rating. Since a 1-2 start, he has 25 touchdowns to two interceptions, matching Brady's 2007 record of four straight games of three or more touchdowns with no interceptions.

"He's the best quarterback I've seen on tape," said New England safety Devin McCourty, who has already faced Denver's Payton Manning and Indianapolis' Andrew Luck this season.

"He's the guy that commands that team," Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis said.

Rodgers' run started after he told Packers fans on his radio show in September: "Five letters here, just for everybody out there in Packer land: R-E-L-A-X. Relax. We're going to be OK."

He couldn't resist that answer when asked about the turnaround again this week.

"I think we've been pretty relaxed," he said, smiling.

As for Brady, following a blowout loss in Kansas City on Week 4, the former Michigan quarterback's ability was questioned.

Instead, during the winning streak, Brady, 37, has thrown for 22 touchdowns and four interceptions, completing 67.3 percent of his passes.

"What we went through, we went through, and we've moved past that," Brady said.