Will Mac Jones, Patriots Starters Play Vs. Panthers After Skipping Giants Game?

The Panthers are set to play mostly backups


August 18

FOXBORO, Mass. — It sounds as if Friday night could give fans their first look at Mac Jones and the much-maligned 2022 Patriots offense.

Jones and most of New England’s starters sat out last Thursday night’s preseason opener against the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium. Bill Belichick’s decision irked many but likely was done out of an abundance of caution given the meaningless nature of the game.

But Belichick wouldn’t consider doing the same thing this week, would he? Teams now only play three preseason games, after all.

We won’t know the official lineups until Friday evening, but all indications are that Jones and the starters will suit up against the Panthers.

“I hope so,” Jones said Wednesday when asked whether he expects to play against Carolina.

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule revealed his own plans after Wednesday’s joint practice with New England, while also offering a potential clue toward the Patriots’ intentions.

“We’re planning on playing most of our (second- and third-stringers) in this game,” Rhule said. ” … We know that they’re probably gonna play their starters cause they played their (backups) probably last game.

“Again, I don’t know what they’re gonna do, but we’ll play a lot of our more younger guys trying to make the team.”

The Patriots and Panthers are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. ET. The two teams will do battle following two days of fight-filled joint practices in Foxboro.

NESN.com’s coverage of New England Patriots preseason is presented by Cross Insurance, protecting your team since 1954.

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