Packers' Jaire Alexander: Justin Jefferson's 184-Yard Week 1 Performance Was 'Fluke'

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 30, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 24: Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) warms up before before a game between the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants on December 24, 2022, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers will play the Minnesota Vikings Sunday in a rematch of their Week 1 game when Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson caught nine passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-7 win.

On Thursday, Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander offered his perspective on that game to reporters, per ESPN's Rob Demovsky, calling the performance a "fluke."

"You've just got to be real: He don't jump in no super suit and get dressed and jump outside, you hear me? I don't either, sometimes. But he [is] human, is what I'm saying. We ain't putting too much on nobody.

"He's a really good receiver. But at the end of the day, I'm a really good corner. We've got really good corners. We've got really good linebackers, D-line, whatever it is. You don't want to put too much focus on that one person because it's like, the first game, that was a fluke."

John Miller @JohnMillerNBC26

Jaire Alexander's thoughts on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Vikings?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Vikings</a> WR Justin Jefferson. Said he's a top-3 receiver in the NFL, but JJ's 9 receptions for 184 yards and 2 TDs in Week 1 against the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Packers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Packers</a> was a "fluke." <a href="https://t.co/yqZIoP6ktM">pic.twitter.com/yqZIoP6ktM</a>

On one hand, using "fluke" to describe another great single-game performance from the unquestioned top wide receiver in football this year could be seen as unconvincing.

In 15 games, the former LSU star has caught 123 passes for 1,756 yards and eight touchdowns, and he's a near lock for the Associated Press' Offensive Player of the Year award.

However, the "fluke" comment didn't necessarily come off as disrespectful to Jefferson's talents based on the context of Alexander's other remarks.

Of note, Alexander said that he feels Jefferson is a top-three NFL wideout, with Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver (and ex-Packer) Davante Adams No. 1 and Miami Dolphins wideout Jaylen Waddle in the top three as well.

He also stressed the quality of the Packers defense, which got off to a rough beginning but has improved lately.

For starters, the pass defense is now eighth in Football Outsiders' DVOA metric. Green Bay has also registered six interceptions over the past three weeks and seven sacks in the last two.

The Packers won all three games, including an impressive 26-20 road win over a Miami Dolphins team that was held scoreless in the second half.

Ultimately, Green Bay's defense is playing better now than it was when Minnesota's passing attack sliced through the Packers over three months ago, and fellow cornerback Rasul Douglas has moved forward.

"I don't really remember that game," Douglas said. "I kind of knocked all the first-half-season games away."

It's unlikely that Jefferson authors a repeat performance with a stat line akin to 9/184/2, but days like that haven't been outliers for him either.

Remarkably, Jefferson eclipsed his 184-yard total against the Packers in two other games this year (223 yards against the Detroit Lions and 193 yards versus the Buffalo Bills). He's also caught 10 or more passes six times this year.

Kickoff Sunday will go down at 4:25 p.m. ET from Green Bay's Lambeau Field. It's a big game for both teams: The 7-8 Packers are looking to win out to make the playoffs, while the 12-3 Vikings still have an outside shot at the NFC's No. 1 seed. They can do that with a pair of wins and two Philadelphia Eagles losses.