Packers 20, 49ers 14

-- Brett Favre fought through the biting winds and whipping rain one last time to shake Steve Mariucci's hand in the middle of Candlestick Park.

"That one could have gone either way," Favre told his former quarterbacks coach in Green Bay.

Actually, when Favre faces the San Francisco 49ers, the Packers almost always earn the breaks. Things went their way again today in a rain-soaked 20-14 victory that kept the Packers on pace with the NFC's top teams.

Favre passed for 201 yards in a steady downpour, and with memories of Terrell Owens's famed 1999 game-winning catch reverberating in the stadium, the Green Bay defense stopped the 49ers' last drive at the Packers 11 with 22 seconds left.

"I had confidence in our defense, but man, I was also pretty confident they could score," said Favre, who improved to 10-1 against the 49ers.

Ahman Green ran for 90 yards and a touchdown, and Donald Driver caught a touchdown pass as the Packers (11-3) shrugged off the miserable conditions to score 17 points in the second half while holding San Francisco (9-5) scoreless in the fourth quarter.

Green Bay won its third straight while limiting the 49ers' offense to 263 total yards and earning home-field advantage in any possible playoff meeting between the division winners.

But it wasn't over until the Packers' maligned defense stopped Jeff Garcia's hopes of emulating Steve Young, who hit Owens for a 25-yard touchdown with three seconds left in the 49ers' 30-27 playoff victory over Green Bay four seasons ago.

"We didn't need to come out here and win this game to prove that we're a playoff team," Garcia said. "It's not like we got blown out of the water or anything."

After Ryan Longwell's 28-yard field goal with 4 minutes 41 seconds left, Garcia drove the 49ers from their 26 to the 11 before throwing three incompletions, including a low throw under pressure to Eric Johnson on fourth down.

Garcia has driven the 49ers to similar last-minute victories this season -- including last week's come-from-behind win over Dallas -- but the Packers' defense followed the offense's lead with inspired play at crucial times.

"This game should propel us through the last two games and into the playoffs," Green Bay safety Darren Sharper said.

Both teams already clinched their divisions and playoff berths with victories in recent weeks, but both clubs have been dogged by injuries that were partially responsible for their mediocre play over the past month.

Owens caught eight passes for 75 yards and a touchdown -- which he punctuated with a pompom-waving celebration -- but the 49ers again struggled to move the ball.

Some of the worst rains in recent years pelted the San Francisco area all weekend, and the field was soaked through. Flooded parking lots made tailgating difficult, and nearly all the fans in the sellout crowd wore rain gear.

"I've played in a lot of games, but that's one of the best games I've played in," Favre said. "Just a well-played game by both teams in some terrible conditions."

Packers wide receiver Donald Driver, left, is congratulated by tight end Bubba Franks after catching the winning touchdown on pass from Brett Favre.