Don Beebe commentary

The Green Bay Packers can win the Super Bowl this season as long as No. 4 stays healthy, the Packers play good defense and the team stays on the plus side of the turnover ratio. But first, the Packers need to find a way to get home-field advantage. <p>

Obviously we all know that the key to winning the Super Bowl is getting home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Playing in Lambeau Field is as much of an advantage as anywhere in the National Football League.

Earlier this season the wideout situation was a question mark. But as I said at the beginning of the year, Favre will make any wideout look good. That's not taking away the fact that Green Bay's receivers are very talented. They have performed above everybody's expectations. As far as a wideout situation, the Packers are fine.

The Packers' offensive line is playing as good as any unit, despite season-ending injuries to Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton. But if they sustain another injury or two, that could hurt Green Bay's chances of going anywhere in the playoffs.

Defensively, the Packers cannot afford anymore injuries. Fortunately, they have guys coming back from injuries at the right time, like nose tackle Gilbert Brown and cornerback Tyrone Williams. If those guys come back and stay healthy, and the rest of the defense avoids serious injuries, the Packers could hit the playoffs just right.

The big thing with the Packers in their fight for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs is that the starters are playing well and jelling together. That's a key. In late November and earlier this month, the Packers have not played great football. They hit a lull. Even though the Packers beat the Vikings and Bears at home, they got off to slow starts in both of those games. That came after back-to-back losses against the Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

With three good football teams coming up in the San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, the Packers need to play better as they enter the playoffs. That could be a big boost.

Overall, I feel the Packers have played good all year. Offensively they have been consistent. The defense definitely has improved since earlier this season, despite season-ending injuries to guys like Joe Johnson and Bhawoh Jue.

It will be important for the offense to play up to the level it was playing at earlier this season. And the defense will have to take it up another notch.

The Packers enter their game at San Francisco having allowed opponents to convert only 31.0 percent of third downs, the league's best mark. The Packers also have produced a takeaway in 22 consecutive games. That's impressive, but the team's run-defense, which has been ranked near the bottom of the league lately, has to get better. With Gilbert Brown back, this will certainly help.

Mike Sherman made a great move this week by waiving Darrien Gordon. As far as fielding the ball and not turning it over, Gordon did a great job. But to go to a Super Bowl, you need special teams to make some big plays. Let's be honest, it just wasn't getting done with Gordon. The move could have been made earlier this season, but Sherman was fair in giving Gordon every chance to prove himself. It just wasn't getting done.

Personally, if Robert Ferguson or J.J. Moses are shaky, I would use Darren Sharper as a punt returner. He's a veteran guy. He's returned punts before, plus he's a great athlete with speed and elusiveness to go the distance. I worry about using a young guy to return punts in a playoff situation. You can't afford a turnover or a bad decision in the playoffs. Therefore, I would put Sharper back there in the playoffs.

If the Packers can continue to create turnovers like they have this season in the playoffs, play good defense and put their trust in Favre, they have every chance of going to the Super Bowl. Turnovers are even more import ant in the playoffs than regular season games because they are amplified that much more. The momentum is that much higher in the postseason. So it is so important to take care of the ball and get turnovers. Secondly, you have to play good defense and have a good quarterback, and the Packers have the best in Favre.

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