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Packers playoff primer

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By PFW staff

PFW examines the Packers as they prepare for the playoffs, identifying the keys to the offense and the defense, a player to watch, and what they have to do to win the Super Bowl.

Green Bay Packers
10-6 / Second place in NFC North

Keys to offense: With five players each catching more than 40 passes — WRs Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones and Jordy Nelson and RB Brandon Jackson — the Packers remain a high-powered passing offense first and foremost, with all of the receivers shifting more this season into different personnel groupings that have kept opposing defenses off balance. Jennings has been on fire since TE Jermichael Finley was lost for the season in Week Five. In Ryan Grant's absence, the RB corps, headed by Jackson and burly John Kuhn, deserves a lot more credit than it's gotten.

Keys to defense: In a perfect world, Green Bay's four best pass rushers — LOLB Clay Matthews, DRE Cullen Jenkins, NT B.J. Raji and ROLB Frank Zombo — will be good to go in the playoffs. But both Jenkins (calf) and Zombo (knee) have been wounded warriors down the stretch. Matthews also had been playing hurt with a nagging shin injury, but he is feeling a lot healthier now and continues to be a relentless playmaking force. Pro Bowlers Charles Woodson and Nick Collins and Pro Bowl alternate Tramon Williams give Green Bay one of the better starting secondaries in the league.

Player to watch: QB Aaron Rodgers bounced back from his second concussion of the season with perhaps the finest performance of his career in a must-win game against the Giants. After he sat out Week 15, Rodgers' arm never looked stronger in his return to action. It's hard to argue with Michael Vick and Drew Brees as the NFC's Pro Bowl quarterbacks, but in the second half of the season, there wasn't a better QB in the NFL than Rodgers when healthy.  

They'll win the Super Bowl if ... they avoid their knack for losing close games and manage to win what figures to be at least one really down-to-the-wire playoff game on the road to Cowboys Stadium. They also must win the turnover battle and make defenses at least acknowledge their ground game.

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