Justin Jefferson has been putting up gaudy numbers on defenses all season. Jaire Alexander believes his explosive Week 1 performance against Green Bay was just an outlier.
Alexander told reporters on Thursday that he believes Jefferson’s nine-catch, 184-yard performance in Week 1 was “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 human, is what I’m saying. We ain’t putting too much on nobody,” Alexander said. “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.”
Jaire Alexander’s thoughts on #Vikings 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 #Packers was a “fluke.” pic.twitter.com/yqZIoP6ktM
— John Miller (@JohnMillerNBC26) December 29, 2022
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Jefferson went off against the Packers, hauling in nine catches, including two touchdowns, in a 23-7 Week 1 victory over the rival Packers that sent the stage for what has been a standout 2022. The Vikings won the NFC North for the first time since 2017, and have a chance to set the stage for a Week 17 playoff elimination for the Packers with a win and a win by either the Lions or Commanders.
While Jefferson put up impressive numbers, they weren’t on Alexander. PFF did not list any targets or receptions for Jefferson against Alexander in Week 1. Here’s how he fared against each other Packer defender:
No Packers defender forced a pass breakup of Jefferson, and only Douglas received a coverage grade in the 70s (75.6) for his work on Jefferson.
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Throughout his three-year career, Jefferson has tormented most teams he’s faced, but he’s often been held relatively in check by the Packers. In the two games in 2020, he combined for just five catches on seven targets for 52 yards. He went off in Week 11 of 2021 against Green Bay, catching eight of 10 targets for 169 yards and two touchdowns, but then was relatively quiet in Week 17 with just six catches for 58 yards and no touchdowns.
Alexander did not play in either of the 2021 matchups, but he did log two games against Jefferson in 2020, and did an effective job in his limited chances against the star rookie corner.
Still, tempting Jefferson is a dangerous game, particularly given the year he’s having. He’s threatening Calvin Johnson’s receiving yards record, and has been routinely gashing teams. That 184-yard performance against Green Bay? That’s only his third-most yards in a single game this season, behind 223 against the Lions in Week 14 and 193 against the Bills in Week 10.
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Alexander has had a solid season in his own right, currently ranking 10th in PFF’s pass coverage grade at 78.8. Jefferson has only matched up with one other top-10 corner this season when he faced Jets rookie Sauce Gardner, the league’s top coverage corner, in Week 13. Jefferson was targeted only twice when matched up with Gardner and caught one pass for 10 yards. He finished that game with seven catches for 45 yards and a touchdown.
Alexander might not be matched up with Jefferson often on Sunday. But given the comments from the Green Bay corner already, expect to see some potential fireworks if the two are lined up on one another.
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