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Packers look to recalibrate at home against resurgent Jets

After shunning the early bye, players eager to put London loss behind them

LBs Rashan Gary & Preston Smith
LBs Rashan Gary & Preston Smith

GREEN BAY – Historically, this would have been a bye week for the Packers.

For years, it was customary for NFL teams to take their one-week sabbatical following a long-distance international contest.

That ideology changed, however, after the NFL reimagined its scheduling process with addition of a 17th game in 2021, which now made Week 6 the first prospective open week for clubs.

Prioritizing a balanced schedule over an early break, the Packers chose not to take their bye after Sunday's game against the New York Giants at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

Considering the outcome, a lost lead and 27-22 defeat, the Packers are now thankful for the opportunity to recalibrate back home at Lambeau Field this Sunday against the New York Jets.

"I want to get back going and get a win," said Adrian Amos said after the game. "It's good we have a game next week."

To be certain, the Jets are no pushover. At 3-2, New York is already one win away from matching its total number of victories from Robert Saleh's first season as head coach.

The Jets have won back-to-back games since quarterback Zach Wilson's return against Pittsburgh, which coincided with rookie running back Breece Hall shouldering a larger role on offense.

A second-round pick out of Iowa State, the 21-year-old Hall has combined for 275 total yards and two touchdowns on 39 touches over the past two weeks, including a 79-yard touchdown catch in Sunday's 40-17 rout of Miami.

It was the first time New York had scored more than 40 points in a game since a 42-34 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 14, 2018.

As much as he enjoyed the win over the Dolphins, Saleh acknowledged in his post-game news conference how motivated the Packers will be to defend their home turf after the letdown in London.

"Obviously, this is just one game and I'm sure they're going to be (ticked) off next week," Saleh said. "The challenges for this group do not stop but it's fun to watch them playing, especially when they play so free."

Despite the Jets being an uncommon opponent for Green Bay, LaFleur knows them quite well. Saleh is one of his best friends, while LaFleur's younger brother, Mike, is the Jets' offensive coordinator.

The Packers have seen most of the Jets' personnel, too, after practicing twice against New York prior to the two teams playing a preseason game at Lambeau Field in August 2021.

Watching today's film, LaFleur sees a maturing team whose confidence is growing after fashioning its first winning record since the Jets started 3-2 in 2017.

"We know we're going to have our hands full," LaFleur said. "Just to see how much they've improved, they've got a lot of young talent on that football team, and I think they're doing a really good job with those guys. We know it's going to be a physical game."

Mindful of the quick turnaround, LaFleur said the Packers will use a modified practice schedule this week. The team plans to start later on Wednesday, which will be more of a mental day for players.

Review of Sunday's loss, specifically the second half, will be essential to the corrections Green Bay must make. Offensively, the Packers were shut out during the final two quarters, while the Giants scored on five straight possessions to pull out the win.

Like the Giants, the Jets have turned out to be more formidable than it would've appeared a month ago. Six different receivers have caught at least 16 passes this season, while Saleh is beginning to make his imprint on New York's defense.

The Jets are tied for fourth with seven interceptions this season, with six different players contributing to that total. Veteran linebacker C.J. Mosley is fourth in the NFL with 51 tackles.

"We're not going to let this feeling linger around because we know what's coming up in the next week," linebacker Preston Smith said. "We're playing against the Jets. They're not going to feel sorry for us; we shouldn't feel sorry for ourselves.

"We've got to be critical of the mistakes, move forward, make sure that when we play against the Jets, give them a different team than what y'all saw (Sunday)."