The Green Bay Packers had no answer for Justin Jefferson when they played the Minnesota Vikings in their season-opening defeat.
They must have a better plan this time around if they hope to beat the Vikings and keep their playoff dreams alive.
Jefferson caught nine passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the Vikings’ 23-7 win over the Packers in Week 1.
However, slowing him down may be easier said than done.
Jefferson has already been voted to the Pro Bowl and there’s little doubt he’ll be named a first-team All-Pro this season.
He leads the NFL in receiving with 123 catches for 1,756 yards and eight touchdowns.
Jefferson needs another 208 receiving yards in the final two games to set a new NFL record for receiving yards in a single season. His 2022 numbers currently rank seventh in league history.
His stats are absolutely incredible.
In Jefferson’s past eight games, he has caught 71 passes for 1,004 yards and six touchdowns. Opposing defenses haven’t been able to stop him.
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry doesn’t always match up Jaire Alexander with opponents’ number one wide receivers, but he should in this game.
Alexander is the Packers’ top corner. He is a Pro Bowler this season and a former All-Pro. If anyone can slow down Jefferson, it’s Alexander.
But if Jefferson moves around and gets more favorable matchups, it could be another long afternoon for the Packers’ defense.
Jefferson will make plays. He is too talented not to make some key contributions in the game. What the Packers can’t allow is for Jefferson to dominate like he so often does.
They must force the Vikings to find other ways to move the football.
Green Bay’s defense faces one of its toughest challenges of the season on New Year’s Day.
The number one priority for Joe Barry? Find a way to stop Justin Jefferson.