Editor's Note: Packers wide receiver Donald Driver has enjoyed his finest NFL season in 2002 with career highs in receptions, receiving yardage and touchdowns. In a series of NFLPLAYERS.COM journals, Driver will document his experiences on and off the football field as Green Bay moves through the final stages of the regular season into the playoffs.
We were definitely going into this season thinking about the playoffs. We wanted to get the jump on most teams and get some wins so we wouldn't have to fight for a spot at the end of the season like we did back in 1999 and 2000. We had our goals set before the season that we wanted to get to the Super Bowl and to do that, we had to get to the playoffs first.
We worked hard this off-season and in training camp and got into the flow of the season early on. We were able to get some wins under our belt early and we were the first team to clinch a playoff spot. It was the first time ever a team had clinched a playoff spot before week 12.
Right now, we're trying to fight for home field advantage. We know that nobody wants to come to Lambeau Field and play in December or January. That's our focus right now and right now; we're doing a good job at it since we've been winning. We had a tough game against Minnesota and then we came back and played San Francisco last week. They were two tough games, but we pulled them out to stay at least number three in the home-field advantage race in the NFC. But we know that we need some help and some other teams to beat Philly and Tampa so we can get home field. But right now, it looks like we will have one home game in the playoffs at least.
Not only is the winter weather in Green Bay a factor, but also our fans. Our crowd is much better for us than when we are playing away. A lot of teams have their home crowds breathing down our backs when we are on the road. We know we have a great home crowd and we are not going to let them down. We are going to try to win the game. With them screaming every down and cheering us on, that's something that we look forward to.
In the locker room, we're not really talking about the playoffs yet. We're still focused on one game at a time. Our focus right now is that we have to play the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and we need to get ready for those guys. We can't look ahead to the playoffs. Once we get in there, we'll figure out who we are playing and go from there. But right now, we are focusing on the Buffalo Bills and hoping we can win these last two games to finish with a good record of 13-3. If we can get some help from some other teams, we could be sitting on top of the NFC and get home field throughout the playoffs.
For me personally, I am going to try to take my game to another level for the playoffs. Nobody knew who Donald Driver was until this season. I have the opportunity now to go out there and prove that I can play this game. For me, the biggest thing is getting respect. I feel like this is the season that I pushed to try to get that respect from every team in the National Football League and I think I have proven that. But every guy has to step their game up to another level once you hit the playoffs. You have to look at the playoffs and say, 'do I keep the level of my game the same or do I step up and make all the plays count?' And that's what I have to do. Me and (fellow wide receiver) Terry Glenn are focusing on making every play count. That's what we went into last week's game saying. Every play we get an opportunity, we have to make it count.