Poll: What’s more important…making playoffs or Mac’s development?
Through what used to be the first half of the NFL season (now the first 47% of the season) the New England Patriots sit at 4-4. They're last in their division and 8th in the AFC playoff standings, yet just 0.5 games behind the L.A. Chargers for the conference's final wild card spot.
It's been anything but consistent for the Pats over the first eight games. From Mac Jones to Bailey Zappe to 3-game win streaks and 3-game skids. It's been a herky jerky ride thus far to be sure.
Sunday at The Meadowlands, the Pats were able to take down the Jets for an NFL record tying 13th consecutive meeting as Mac returned under center from start to finish. And if not for a stellar performance from the D, mind-boggling gifts from Zack Wilson and the right leg of Nick Folk, the Pats probably would've left Jersey two games under .500.
So let's talk about Jones for a second. It has not been a very ceremonious return to action for last year's 1st round pick. From being booed off the field and replaced by Bailey Zappe the prior Monday night vs. Chicago to Sunday's performance, where his greatest contribution was drawing a questionable roughing the passer penalty to spur a 16-0 Patriots run between the 2nd and 3rd quarter.
In parts of six games, the second year QB has thrown for 993 yards, 3 TD, 7 INT, has completed 65.9 percent of his passes and possesses a QB rating of 73.1. Only Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford and Kenny Pickett have thrown more interceptions and only Pickett, Wilson and Baker Mayfield have worse QB ratings among qualified starters.
Listen, coming into the season, I had convinced myself that Mac Jones was ready to take that proverbial leap we see from top QB's, guide the Pats to a double-digit win total and play like a top-12 QB in the league. Few people were higher on Jones' prospects than I was. Instead, he's been a bottom-3 QB for the first half.
I'd love to see the Pats playing into the third weekend of January as part of the AFC playoffs, but the most important thing for the future of this franchise is getting Mac right and back on track. Maybe that coincides with a run to the postseason, maybe it doesn't. So I ask you, what's more important to you as a fan of this team, making the playoffs or feeling good about your QB situation moving forward?