Jaire Alexander must step away from the lathe of heaven. Shortly after the Packers gave up 17 straight points and lost to the Giants in Week 5, the cornerback set a hypothetical loss to the Jets in Week 6 as the point when the Packers should begin to panic. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers scolded his teammate for his comments, because the universe picks up on the vibrations we emit into it, and he was worried that Alexander would manifest an even more embarrassing home loss to the lesser New York-based team. The universe did indeed listen.
For the first time in the Matt LaFleur era, the Packers have lost back-to-back games in the regular season. The Jets won comfortably on Sunday, 27-10, due to a dominant ground game and a stifling defense from their youngsters. Rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner was feeling so good after shutting down the Packers’ limp cadre of receivers that he ran around after the game with a cheesehead on, while defensive tackle Quinnen Williams had essentially a perfect game in the middle of the line, sacking Rodgers twice, forcing a fumble, and blocking a field goal. For the Packers, pretty much nothing worked. The offensive line allowed Rodgers to get hit nine times, Green Bay’s receivers dropped six passes, and Rodgers missed a bunch of throws (though he did fling one incredible long ball).
Is Rodgers playing poorly relative to MVP standards, or is the team around him worse this year? Probably both. Without Davante Adams, the Packers lack a true pass-catching threat; a different player has led the team in receiving yards each week. Rodgers has often played with flawed teams around him and made it work, but he’s dealing with fewer clean pockets and tighter windows to receivers than he has in years, so his margin for error is nonexistent. He hasn’t been himself this season, which makes everything that much more fraught.
After the loss, Rodgers offered a few ways the Packers could get themselves back on track. On the offense: “Simplify some things.” On his own level of play: He needs to raise it “probably a little tick.” On the team’s horrific lack of competent wide receivers: “[I]f there’s an opportunity, I would expect that [Packers GM] Brian [Gutekunst] will be in the mix.” On the great week of practice ahead of a surprisingly bad performance against a worse team, and the ambient resonances of an attentive universe:
Seems like there’s an obvious solution to all that ails the Packers: Manifest wins instead of losses. Repeat mantras such as, “I think we will defeat the Washington Commanders in football next Sunday,” and the universe will smile upon you. It’s unclear what you should do if your opponent also tries to manifest the same energy. Maybe Aaron can explain that part.