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Packers feel they're 'better all around' since October

If you're the Dallas Cowboys, you have to ask how you manage to go 13-3 and nab the NFC's top playoff seed -- only to draw the white-hot Packers come playoff time.

While the 'Boys decisively dumped Green Bay way back in October, that 30-16 romp came against a Packers club that looks vastly different from the surging fireball heading toward Texas.

"We're more experienced,"Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday, per The Dallas Morning News. "We've played a lot of people. I think that hopefully will benefit us this week ... coming off a tough physical game and getting ready.

"We're definitely more prepared to go into an opposing stadium to win the game. ... We're definitely battle-tested. We're a better football team today than we obviously were then."

Winners of seven straight, the Packers are coming off their largest postseason romp since 2010. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was picture perfect in Sunday's lashing of the Giants, throwing four touchdowns and extending his league-leading streak of attempts without a pick to 285.

The Packers opened slow against New York with five straight punts, but that's really the thing with Rodgers, isn't it? You can keep him down for only so long.

"It's clearly one of his better stretches," McCarthy said.

The X-factor for Green Bay is the health of star receiver Jordy Nelson, who fractured at least two ribs against New York and looms as an unlikely participant for Sunday's divisional-round tilt.

In Nelson's absence, though, fellow wideouts Randall Cobb and Davante Adams combined for an outrageous 241 yards and four touchdowns off 13 grabs against New York's vaunted defense.

"It felt like early in the season we were depending on just a few guys to make plays," left guard Lane Taylor said. "Now, we have young guys making plays, everybody making plays. We're just a better all-around team."

The counter-argument to all of this glowing Green Bay ink? The Cowboys, of course. A team that has found a way to overcome every challenge, injury and lingering doubt with the finest season from a Jerry Jones team since Troy Aikman and the 'Boys danced their way to three titles back in the 1990s.

While the wild-card round gave fans a rash of hideous games, Sunday's Cowboys-Packers tilt is emerging as the most fascinating showdown of the year. It's up to both clubs to live up to the hype.

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