As the Patriots and Bears face off on Monday Night Football this week there are quite a few things up in the air for New England. As they look to extend their winning streak to three games, the mood around Foxboro is promising as Mac Jones is looking to make his first start since his injury. The Patriots had him taking snaps again today with the first team as todays practice mainly focused on the offensive side of the ball.
This is on the early side for Jones’ return, it will be exactly four week and a day on Monday Night, which is quicker than many expected. With Zappe holding the fort for New England for three weeks it is now no debate who the quarterback will be when Jones is happy.
There is no QB controversy in New England. When Mac Jones is healthy enough to return to play, he’ll be the starter, per sources. @TheAthletic
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) October 20, 2022
With “Zappe Fever” running rampant through the Patriots fan base, the Patriots look to continue their scoring pace with Jones behind center. Patriots fans excitement may be due to Jones’ early season interceptions while Zappe is the new shiny toy but disregarding that Zappe has been a treat to watch.
Patriots Offense, Mac Jones Game plan
With Jones’ hopeful return Monday the Patriots must focus on protecting him. Between all three quarterback this year, the Patriots have allowed 13 sacks and 29 quarterback hits. Jones also was hit on four of his five interceptions this season as well. Jones’ turnovers were inexcusable but as the Patriots ran more of an Alabama style offense Jones ran in college that the way the cookie crumbles. The first three weeks of the season the Patriots were out of the shotgun in 11 personnel, 11 personnel is three receivers and one tight end and running back on the field. Alabama was able to run this due to their elite skill but in New England you cannot get away with that.
Given too that the Patriots running game was basically non existent in the first three game the Patriots couldn’t run play action. Now with a run game that has dominated the past three week I would expect Jones to be under center a lot more than before. With the Patriots practicing Jones under center and running play action today I would like to see a healthy balance of shotgun and under center.
Besides that I would expect a lot of Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris, which looks like a possibility.
Dropback. Play-action fake. Mac Jones’ movement during warmups more extensive than what we’ve seen from him previously. pic.twitter.com/WO9NF7MY4Y
— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) October 20, 2022
Patriots Defense, Stop The Run
After blanking the Lions and shutting down Nick Chubb. and the Browns, the Patriots need to focus on stopping the run. Chicago is top yards behind Cleveland for the top rushing team in the league. Between Justin Fields, Khalil Herbert, and David Montgomery the three headed rushing attack is a problem for teams. Fortunately for the Patriots that about all that Chicago can do.
They are dead last in passing yards, attempts, and touchdowns in the NFL. With a one dimensional team I would expect the Patriots to stack the box and play press man on the outside forcing Fields to try to beat them with his arm. Expect a lot more of Kyle Dugger defensively making plays, after being the Patriots leading tackler last weekend.
Even though there is not much to expect out of this game it is nice to see Jones returning. Shaking off the rust may cause a few issues for him but I do not expect him to be as careless with the ball as he was before the injury. With the announcement of Jones’ possible return today the line went from 6.5 point to 9 in favor of the Patriots. If i were a betting man I would still take the Patriots at that point today after seeing them dismantle far superior teams in the Lions and Browns.
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