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NFC focus shines on Favre and Romo

MINNEAPOLIS - Brett Favre's performance for Minnesota this season has defied much skepticism. But he still has work to do.

When the Vikings take the field for today's playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys, the pressure on Favre to deliver a victory will never be more clear.

"I know how difficult it is to get here. I know how difficult it is to go on," Favre said. "I'm sure that's one of the reasons why I'm here is to help this team advance."

During a lifetime of watching Favre work, Tony Romo also has dealt with doubt about his ability. The Cowboys just won a playoff game for the first time in 13 years, and now they've got another goal of ending a streak: Their last postseason win on the road was all the way back in the NFC Championship Game at San Francisco after the 1992 season. That sent "The Triplets" - Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith - to their first Super Bowl.

This Dallas team suddenly is the trendy pick to get back there, with a rare December surge and two wins over division rival Philadelphia behind the push. Just as with Favre, the focus is on Romo. "I think the standard just gets higher and higher for him," tight end Jason Witten said. "He realizes that, and he doesn't really worry about it."

Earlier in the season, Favre described a startling depth of insecurity still present for him at age 40 as the uncertainty of his arm's response to surgery complicated his decision about playing another year. This past week, he acknowledged that he deals with that regularly despite a season that went better than everyone anticipated.

"I think it's human nature," he said. "For me, I know it's always been a source of drive or a sense of always needing to prove myself, not ever being satisfied. I think it's OK to be confident. I don't think it's OK to be overconfident. Doubt to me at times is a good thing. It makes you work harder. You never get complacent."

Perhaps out of respect for Favre or simply because no two quarterbacks can truly be the same in such a complex game, Romo has brushed off all the attempts at comparisons to a decade-ago Favre.

"Brett's in a class by himself," Romo said. "No one is really similar to him. A lot of people try to create some similarities, but when he's done, you're not going to see a guy like him. That's a testament to how great he's been for so long."

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