There is one NFL quarterback with a lower passing touchdown total than Mac Jones ahead of the 2023 season.
Atlanta Falcons QB Desmond Ridder saw his touchdown total open at 15.5 with Jones’ total set at 16.5 at Caesars Sportsbook. Ridder threw for just two touchdowns in four starts last season. Jones, meanwhile, racked up 14 … in 14 games.
Jones found the end zone fewer times than Davis Mills, Jimmy Garoppolo and Russell Wilson. For perspective, Garoppolo played only 11 games and Mills was under center for a team that had three wins, while Wilson’s Broncos were a five-win team. Jones also had the fourth-worst quarterback rating by ESPN?s rankings, better than just Mills, Carson Wentz and Baker Mayfield.
Failure to find paydirt was a symptom of a struggling offense all season. New England finished dead last in red-zone touchdown percentage last season, tallying six less than 43% of the time.
Things won’t get any easier this season since the Patriots have the toughest schedule, based on the projected win totals for each team. Facing the NFL’s best defenses in the AFC is no easy feat.
Sure, it’s possible Mac Jones made offseason improvements. Early indications are he’s in a much better spot with new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. It’s certainly possible he finishes with a TD number similar to his rookie year when he threw for 22 in 17 games.
Still, there likely will be an adjustment period for him to spark chemistry with his new weapons. Last year, Jakobi Meyers led the team in targets, catches, yards and touchdowns. The veteran receiver left for Las Vegas and the Patriots will try to replace him with former Chiefs receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and second-year wideout Tyquan Thornton. DeVante Parker is not a new addition, but he has been with the team for just one season, so there?s still time needed to build rapport there.
There’s also the concern that Belichick has yet to confirm Jones’ role as QB1.
When asked about the quarterback competition between Jones and Bailey Zappe, Belichick said: “Everybody will get a chance to play, and we’ll play our best players.”
Is that motivation for Mac? A confidence killer? It’s too early to know for sure. However, when you consider the possibility of Jones not playing all 17 games due to getting benched or sidelined with injury, the under on this futures bet looks even more enticing.