The betting market has told us for days that New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones won’t play this weekend against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
Hours after Jones exited with an injury against the Baltimore Ravens, the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas opened Green Bay as a 7.5-point home favorite against New England. However, that line was predicated on Jones being available for the game and it quickly got bet to Packers -9.5 as morsels of bad news began to leak out about the severity of Jones’ ailing left ankle.
Naturally, the other shoe dropped Monday afternoon via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Green Bay ballooned to 11-point chalk after Pelissero’s report and the market is now sitting -10.5.
“I have Jones worth three points to the line on this Patriots team,” longtime Las Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White told NESN. “You weigh Jones’ value along with the experience of the backup (Brian Hoyer) and the gap is a field goal. And even that might be a little high.”
Jones racked up plenty of passing yards (321) against the Ravens, but yards don’t win football games. He hurled three interceptions and posted his lowest quarterback rating of the entire season. It’s no secret Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is a stickler for protecting the ball, so Jones’ six turnovers — five interceptions, one fumble — through three games didn’t exactly have him trending in the right direction.
Mac Jones’ 2022 passer ratings:
87.2 at Miami
79.7 at Pittsburgh
62.1 vs. Baltimore
“I’ve never been high on Mac Jones,” one professional bettor told NESN. “He is mostly a one-read guy and can’t throw the deep ball with any accuracy. There was a lot of smoke and mirrors with his college statistics (at Alabama). Throwing short passes to wide-open guys like DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle works against Ole Miss and Tennessee, but you have to throw guys open in the NFL.
“Jones is never going to be the best player on the offense. He needs better players around him.”
NESN Patriots beat writer Zack Cox says it’s almost a certainty that Belichick rolls with veteran backup Brian Hoyer this Sunday at Lambeau although things could get interesting if Jones misses close to a month. Hoyer is serviceable, but it’s obvious the 36-year-old journeyman is not a long-term solution.
Rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe threw for almost 6,000 yards with 62 touchdowns last season at Western Kentucky and it’ll be interesting to see if the Patriots give him a shot after a week or two of Hoyer.
“Belichick should see what he’s got in Zappe,” the bettor added. “He has great awareness in the pocket, makes quick decisions and can zip it downfield. He’s much more valuable than Hoyer over time.”