Mailbag time! Let’s dive right into your Patriots questions as New England looks to avoid its first 0-3 start since 2000.

With the weather looking to be less than pleasant, who has the advantage between the jets and pats?

Indeed, with a tropical cyclone set to hit the East Coast this weekend, Sunday’s Patriots-Jets game at MetLife Stadium could be played in the pouring rain.

Which side does that favor? I can see arguments for both.

On one hand, Zach Wilson has thrown seven interceptions in four career games against the Patriots, and throwing a wet ball could make him even more prone to poor passes and turnovers. On the other, you could say a bad-weather game benefits the team with the stronger rushing attack, and the Jets have had more success in that area so far this season.

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New York couldn’t run the ball at all in last week’s blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys — Breece Hall, Dalvin Cook and Michael Carter were held to 24 yards on 10 carries — but Hall torched the Buffalo Bills for 127 yards on 10 attempts in Week 1. The Patriots’ defense also is coming off a game in which it allowed 127 yards and two touchdowns to Miami’s Raheem Mostert.

New England’s ground game has been stuck in neutral thus far, with Rhamondre Stevenson averaging a mere 2.8 yards per carry and Ezekiel Elliott sitting at 3.5. Mac Jones has nearly a quarter of the Patriots’ rushing yards and their longest run of the young season — an 18-yard scramble on third-and-15 against the Dolphins.

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

If this does prove to be a soaked, sloppy game, the Patriots will need their ground game to be more potent than it has been. The good news: Most of their problems there can be chalked up to poor offensive line play, and they could be healthier up front this week than they’ve been all season. Left tackle Trent Brown has practiced in a limited capacity this week and said he hopes to play Sunday after missing the Miami game with a concussion.

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Hi Zack, with Anderson struggling at RT the first two weeks, who do you think gets the start against the Jets? Would you try Sow, Wheatley, Onwenu, Lowe or do they stick with Anderson?

Calvin Anderson deserves credit for being able to play every snap in the first two games after missing all of training camp with what he called a “serious” illness. But you’re right, he was not good in those games.

The former Denver Bronco has allowed nine quarterback pressures this season, per Pro Football Focus, tied for fifth-most among NFL tackles. He’s also had some costly mistakes in the run game and was flagged for holding in Week 1, wiping out a successful two-point conversion.

Anderson enters Week 3 as PFF’s fourth-lowest-graded offensive tackle, ranking 68th of 71 qualifiers. Right tackle isn’t his primary position — he’s played far more on the left side in his career — and the Patriots have to seriously consider trying someone else in that spot, especially if Brown is healthy enough to return this week.

I think Riley Reiff or Conor McDermott would have gotten a shot there by now if either was available, but Reiff is on injured reserve for at least two more weeks and the Patriots released McDermott with an injury settlement. (Wouldn’t be surprised if he returns at some point, but he’s not an immediate solution.)

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Rookie Sidy Sow played a lot of right tackle in training camp, but he appeared to hit a setback in his recovery from a concussion and did not practice Thursday.

As for Mike Onwenu, I’ve been arguing since last season that the Patriots should move him from right guard to right tackle, but at this point, I’ll believe it when I see it. Bill Belichick and his staff seem dead set on keeping him inside. Onwenu returned from ankle surgery to start last week’s game but was replaced by Atonio Mafi in the fourth quarter as part of a planned substitution.

I’d give Vederian Lowe a look at right tackle against the Jets. He held up decently well on the left side against Miami in his first NFL start, though the sack he surrendered on the final drive was a killer. Tyrone Wheatley Jr. is another possibility if the Patriots believe he’s ready to play the first regular-season snaps of his career.

Honestly, it’s hard to feel great about any of the options New England has here, which speaks to how poorly Belichick constructed this position group before the season. The Patriots chose to patch their biggest roster hole from 2022 with a couple of mid-to-lower-tier free agents (Anderson and Reiff) and a fourth-round rookie who played guard in college (Sow), then needed to pull two late-summer trades (for Lowe and Wheatley) for inexperienced reinforcements.

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The Patriots’ O-line will face another stiff challenge this week against the Jets’ talented defensive front, then an even larger one in Week 4 when they see Cowboys superstar Micah Parsons.

With Marcus Jones and Jack Jones both potentially out for Sunday do you think we see Jalen Mills more at CB 2 in place of Bryant?

Both of the second-year Joneses officially are out for Sunday after the Patriots placed Marcus — who left the Miami game with a reported torn labrum — on injured reserve on Thursday.

A move to IR requires that player to miss at least four games, so the earliest he can return is Week 7 against Buffalo. Jack Jones, who landed on IR before the season opener, will be eligible to play in Week 5 against New Orleans, but one report suggested he could miss another month on top of that.

So, the Patriots might not have either player back until around midseason, if not longer. The good news is Jonathan Jones returned to practice this week after sitting out the Dolphins game with an ankle injury, and this position group is still in pretty good shape if he’s available.

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A top trio of rookie Christian Gonzalez and Jonathan Jones on the outside and Myles Bryant in the slot is solid, especially with how well Gonzalez has played to start his career. The Patriots also have a deep and experienced safety corps that can offset some of their newfound depth issues at cornerback.

But that corner group is perilously shallow without Jack and Marcus Jones. The only options below the aforementioned top three are Shaun Wade, who’s been a healthy scratch for most of his career, and practice squadders William Hooper, Breon Borders and Azizi Hearn, all of whom signed within the last 10 days.

I think either moving Jalen Mills back to cornerback or at least giving him practice reps there would be a smart move. I do believe he’s better suited for the versatile safety role to which he transitioned this spring, but he’s played just 22 defensive snaps through two weeks.

If any of Gonzalez, Jon Jones or Bryant were to go down, Mills would be a better corner option than any of the other depth players they have.

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It’s also worth noting Marcus Jones is the Patriots’ top punt returner — and a first-team All-Pro at that — so they’ll need to find a fill-in there, too, for at least the next month. My money would be on either Bryant or rookie receiver Demario Douglas.

Douglas was the next man up after Jones’ injury, but that might’ve only been because Bryant was forced to play every defensive snap with Jonathan Jones also sidelined. Whoever steps in there could face a tough test this Sunday if the weather proves to be as gnarly as the forecast.

What’s your evaluation of Marte Mapu so far ? I’ve seen him playing but I don’t know how well he’s really doing.

Unfortunately for Mapu, his most visible contribution so far was a negative one: the helmet-to-helmet hit late in Sunday’s game that wiped out a rare Matthew Judon pass breakup and landed Dolphins receiver Jaylen Waddle in concussion protocol.

But Mapu has impressed teammates and coaches with his versatility and above-average intellect, and the Patriots have put a lot on his plate already. He played 30 defensive snaps against Miami — 14 as a deep safety, 11 in the box and five in the slot, per Pro Football Focus.

Through two games, the third-round rookie out of Sacramento State has logged more snaps (39) than veteran defensive backs Adrian Phillips (30) and Mills.

“Sometimes he’s playing ‘backer, sometimes he’s playing safety, so he’s wearing different hats a lot of times,” linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley said this week. “So it gives the offense problems. They want to try to figure out what he’s doing and stuff like that, so it kind of works in our favor. We just look to add more and more to his plate here and there, but he’s been handling it well.”

when are we gonna take a lead
Gotta hope that happens soon, right? This was the first time the Patriots did not lead for a second in either of their first two games since 1992, when they went 2-14 in the final year of the brief Dick MacPherson era.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images