The Packers have to take care of business regardless

Morning Wes. What are your thoughts on Jaire Alexander’s comments on Justin Jefferson? Gamesmanship or poking the bear? Thank you.

Knowing how the industry works, I figured that part of Alexander’s comments would get pulled for Friday headlines. What didn’t get nearly as much play was the respect Alexander showed Jefferson by speaking his name in the same breath as Davante Adams’ when talking about the NFL’s top receivers. Jefferson is one of the game’s very best. Unfortunately for the Packers, they’re going to be dealing with him for a very long time. Alexander typically plays big in the big games. It’ll be an entertaining matchup to watch.

Sitting in Lincoln Financial Field a few weeks ago, seeing the Packers go down 14-0 early against the best team in the NFC, I thought to myself I’d learn who this team is in the next three quarters, and I did. They started pushing an arrow that was pointing straight down to a slightly more favorable position and have kept doing so since. Let’s hope that continues at Lambeau Field this weekend.

The Packers still have so far to go to make a postseason push, but I find it interesting that this potential run started in Philadelphia – much like it did in 2016. Now, the Packers didn’t win this year’s tussle with the Eagles, but they came out of that a much different team. That was the moment Green Bay could’ve tapped out. They chose not to and here we are.

The Packers had no defensive strategy for Jefferson in the first game. Did the DC learn from this mistake?

I think so. The Packers’ coaches and players recognize their Week 1 shortcomings. Honestly, the defense has played some pretty good ball since Philly. Jefferson is going to get his catches. He’s been one of the league’s biggest playmakers for the past month and a big reason the Vikings are 12-3. The Packers can’t give him free releases and room to run in the open field. More than just matchups, I think that’s what went wrong in the opener. Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill were a good test last week in Miami and hopefully Green Bay’s performance in the second half against those two elite receivers carries into this one.

Robert from Corpus Christi, TX

Congratulations to Aaron Jones on moving up on the Packers’ all-time rushing leaders list. He and AJ Dillon are a great one-two punch. Can Jones stay healthy enough to get us to the playoffs?

That depends on the ankle. He had some issues with it during the second half of the year. Jones only touched the ball eight times on 25 snaps in Miami. It would be ideal if the Packers could double those figures Sunday. Jones has rushed for 587 yards and five touchdowns on 108 carries (5.4 yards per carry) in eight games against Minnesota. He’s rushed for 412 yards and four TDs on 70 carries (5.9 ypc) in the four wins. He has 175 yards and one TD on 38 carries (4.6 ypc) in the losses. So, you tell me how important Jones is to this offense.

Patrick from New Market, MD

I was surprised to see the 1,000 yards from scrimmage duos did not include Edgar Bennett-Dorsey Levens. Never checked that, but they were a great tandem back there. For my question, does Cliff have a piece on Goldenberg Buckets, a Packer in the ’30s and ’40s? Buckets was a friend of mine’s uncle.

Bennett and Levens were highly effective running backs for the Packers but really only had that Super Bowl XXXI season together. Bennett ruptured his Achilles the following year and moved onto Chicago, while Levens didn’t really come into his own until that 1997 campaign. Also, here’s Cliff’s entry on Goldenberg.

Keith from Dodgeville, WI

Guys, I can’t believe Allen Lazard got a fine for taunting after throwing the best block by a WR this season and the no-call for PI, come on man!

I expected nothing less from the NFL. That’s kind of been the league’s MO Emphasize calls on the field that impact the actual game.

Lori from Cherry Valley, IL

Do the players and coaches on both Green Bay and Minnesota have curfew rules since they are playing on New Year’s Day? Go Pack Go. Happy New Year to both Wes, Mike, all employees, coaches, staff, trainers, players and fans. Cheers to 2023!

Matt LaFleur was actually asked that exact question on Friday. The Packers know what’s at stake here and will act accordingly. The team has a full workday on Saturday, too. I doubt many guys will make it to midnight.

Wes, if you were going to give either team an edge based on health, which team and why? Which team will have more of its preferred starters in the Sunday lineup?

I’d say the Vikings have the edge there. Minnesota has 10 guys on IR right now but only four players listed on the injury report. This will be Austin Schlottmann’s fourth straight start at center for Garrett Bradbury, too.

What if the Pack and Vikes tie?

I head to the cabinet with the Advil.

Peter from Morganfield, KY

David from El Segundo said he’d like a bomb to Christian Watson on the first offensive play on Sunday. While that would be amazing (if it worked), I think that if the coaches are trying to be cute, it would be more likely that Watson runs that route as a decoy while the intended focus of the play is elsewhere. ML and AR can always circle back around to Watson deep in drive two or three. Can’t wait to find out!

I just want to see Watson on the field. This is not the same No. 9 the Vikings faced in September – and that one was pretty dang good. Patrick Peterson has had a terrific year since getting burned off the line of scrimmage at US Bank Stadium. Watson has made his share of rookie mistakes, but the Packers have a different offense when he’s on the field.

Richard from Lac du Flambeau, WI

Hi Mike and Wes, will you be nervous if the Packers are leading at halftime 32-0?

I have a little more confidence in Matt LaFleur to handle such a scenario.

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