GREEN BAY, Wis. -

Head coach Mike McCarthy is preaching caution in this short week for the Packers.

McCarthy called off practice on Wednesday, instead putting the team through relaxed paces in the team's workout facility inside Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

That will leave the team with only one true practice - Thursday -- before Green Bay (5-6) hosts the Houston Texans on Sunday. The early kickoff of noon local time will come less than 130 hours after the Packers returned to Green Bay in the wee hours Tuesday morning following their 27-13 road win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

"When you look at schedule, we're not only coming off a Monday night game on the East Coast, it was a Sunday night game (the previous week) on the road," McCarthy said Wednesday. "Stress adds up. This plan was in place in the spring when the schedule came out. We knew this was going to be a unique stretch."

After salvaging a win in the final leg of an unusual three-game road swing that started with two crushing losses, the Packers move into December looking at an advantageous schedule. They play three of their upcoming four games at Lambeau Field, including the next two.

If the Packers can knock off the AFC South co-leading Texans (6-5) before the NFC West front-running Seattle Seahawks visit Green Bay, getting right back in contention for the NFC North title is a good possibility.

The Detroit Lions, who lead the division by one game over Minnesota and two games over the Packers, play at the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. The Vikings host the seemingly unstoppable Dallas Cowboys, who have the NFL's best record at 10-1, on Thursday night.

"We've got to keep it going now that we're back on our high horse," linebacker/defensive end Datone Jones said after the Packers ended a four-game losing streak Monday. "You could just see it (during the skid), there was a dark cloud around Green Bay and it's not a good feeling driving home. At the beginning of the year, everybody was so hyped."

Packers fans, who haven't seen their team play at Lambeau since a humiliating 31-26 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 6, may receive a boost by game time Sunday if quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews are in uniform.

Both players are trying to bounce back in short order from hamstring and shoulder injuries, respectively, sustained Monday night. Rodgers and Matthews finished the game.

McCarthy said Wednesday that the team's medical staff expects both to play against the Texans.

Rodgers knows every game from here on out is ultra-important, considering the late-season comeback the Packers are trying to make after their recent free fall.

"There's a big difference between 4-7 and 5-6, for sure, but I hope there's not a ton of relief setting in because we still have a lot of things in front of us we'd like to accomplish," Rodgers said.

And, just how vital will it be for the Packers to avoid the trap of complacency after an abbreviated week with little prep time?

Green Bay is 1-2 against AFC South opponents this season. The Texans are the last team from the division on the Packers schedule.

The Packers have finished with a losing record in the four games they play against teams from an AFC division each season only twice in McCarthy's previous 10 years as coach. In both instances, when they went 1-3 against the AFC East in 2006 and 1-3 against the AFC South in 2008, Green Bay didn't advance to the playoffs.