Julius Peppers would prefer Green Bay's defense stays out of the limelight.
"We just want to continue to get better. We just want to continue to fly under the radar," the 36-year-old linebacker said this week. "We don't want anybody to talk about us, to tell us how good we are."
A wish for such anonymity could be fruitless if Peppers and his defensive teammates continue their strong start to the season on Sunday. The Packers (3-1) host the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys (4-1) in a marquee matchup of top teams in the conference.
The surging Cowboys come to Lambeau Field with the NFL's best rushing offense and an astounding average of 155.2 yards per game.
Green Bay, which is in second place in the NFC North, will counter with the league's premier run defense. The Packers have allowed a total of only 171 yards in four games.
"It's going to be a big challenge this week, stating the obvious," Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday. "We've been playing excellent run defense, and they're running the ball as efficient. ... It's the starting point each and every week for both football teams."
Green Bay hasn't given up more than 50 rushing yards to any of its first four opponents.
The 171 yards on the ground is the fewest allowed by a team after four games since the San Francisco 49ers surrendered all of 157 yards in 1995.
"The amount of rushing yards they've given up in four games is incredible," said Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, praising the defense as a whole and, in particular, the defensive line.
Green Bay's scant average of 42.8 rushing yards allowed is far and ahead of the New York Jets' No. 2-rated clip of 68.4.
The Packers also have allowed a league-low average of 1.99 yards on 86 run plays. The 1995 49ers allowed their 157 yards after four games in 74 run plays -- an average of 2.12.
"Our defense has just been outstanding," right guard T.J. Lang said. "You look at what they've been doing, especially against the run, it's been really, really impressive. We need to raise our level of play (on offense) to match them consistently."
Green Bay's offense has bogged down far too many times early in the season.
Though the defense has struggled, too, by giving up big chunks of passing yards, it's not a stretch to say that unit has carried the team in the early going -- a reversal from recent seasons.
"We've been saying for the past four years that I've been here that we're a defensive team," defensive back Micah Hyde said with a smile. "We like to say that, joke around, get the offense stirred up, get some arguments going. We kind of square up on top of the G (in the middle of the field) every now and then."
Still, the Cowboys' vaunted running attack presents a new kind of challenge for the Packers defense.
Ezekiel Elliott has taken the NFL by storm in his debut season, leading all players with 546 rushing yards. He has five rushing touchdowns and five runs of at least 20 yards.
The Packers have allowed only one rushing touchdown and zero runs of 20 or more yards. Teams have only two runs of at least 10 yards against Green Bay, which also is the fewest in the league.
"It'll be an excellent matchup," McCarthy said.
Even in Week 6 of a 17-week regular season, Rodgers feels much could be at stake for the Packers, starting Sunday with the Cowboys. That will be followed by a short turnaround to play the rival Chicago Bears at home on Oct. 20, and then traveling to Atlanta to play the NFC South-leading Falcons on Oct. 30.
"It's been ugly at times," Rodgers said of the 3-1 start. "So, this will be an important stretch for our season."