Rodgers: Game about teams, not QBs

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers doesn't view Sunday's game between the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots as him against Tom Brady, but unless they meet in the Super Bowl, which is possible the way they are playing, it could be the one and only meeting between two of the game's top quarterbacks as starters.

Their teams have played twice since Rodgers was the Packers' first-round pick in 2005, but Rodgers played only in backup duty in the 2006 game and missed the 2010 meeting because of an injury.

As an NFC quarterback, Rodgers' chances to play against Brady and Peyton Manning are few and far between. He's played against Manning only once his career, in 2008.

"I don't have a void in my career for not playing them more times," Rodgers said Tuesday on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show. "I have a ton of respect for them in their careers, but again I don't ever look at it like it's one quarterback against another. It takes 11 every single play to be effective. We play against some great teams in the NFC all the time. They've spent their careers in the AFC and that's kind of the way it's gone.

"I'd like to think that at some point by the end of my career, I'll have a number of matchups against a quarterback in the NFC who they like, much in the way that they like Brady and Manning, and they can make some comparison there, but I won't have any void from not playing those guys. I'd rather not; they're great players."

Rodgers and Brady have been around each other more off the field than on it. They struck up a friendship several years ago and often hang out during the offseason. They have attended the Kentucky Derby together.

"Tom loves talking ball," Rodgers said. "So every time we get together it's always fun to talk football and see what he's been thinking about and talk about his season and maybe throw some film on and watch a little bit of stuff."

Sunday's game features the top team in the AFC in the Patriots (9-2), and the NFC's No. 2 team in the Packers (8-3). Both teams overcame early season struggles. The Patriots have won seven straight, while the Packers have won seven of their last eight since Rodgers made his memorable R-E-L-A-X comment after their 1-2 start.

"That's kind of what happens at times in this league," Rodgers said. "You go through some rough points and it kind of reveals the character of the football team and obviously they have a lot of character in that locker room and guys who stuck together, and that's the most important thing when you're facing adversity. And our team had to go through it as well and we stuck together and got on a roll and won seven of eight, so it's a couple of hot teams coming together, and it will be a great matchup."