Mac Jones is in an absolutely insane spot for Patriots vs Eagles
It cannot possibly be overstated how much pressure is on Mac Jones this weekend.
No, one game does not define a season, and the New England Patriots are going to have a tough time actually winning Sunday’s 2023 season opener against the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles. But the pressure will be on for Jones and the retooled Patriots offense to move the ball, avoid backbreaking mistakes, and preferably score some points.
And they need to accomplish that in the first half. They need to keep it close and Jones needs to look solid. Because if he doesn’t? If the Patriots get to halftime down multiple scores, Jones looks bad, and he’s subjected to overwhelming cheers and chants for Tom Brady as he’s honored on the same field? Massive YIKES.
That is a major talking point of this week, as the Patriots and Eagles are set to clash at Gillette Stadium. Alex Barth and I talked about it on the newest Sports Hub Patriots Podcast, which you can watch above, and I also talked about it with Ty Anderson in the newest episode of the Sports Hub Underground.
It’s worth noting that Jones had a good training camp, and that new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien seems to have clicked with him. O’Brien has buy-in across the board, and as a group, they’re confident heading into Sunday. Jones himself is doing his best to ignore the Brady noise.
“Yeah, I think we have a lot of great former players that have played here,” Jones said Thursday. “It’s a very fortunate place, and won a lot of games and championships. So, definitely looking forward to it, but main focus is definitely the game. Just trying to play my game and not get distracted by anything, and hopefully we come out with a win and everyone’s happy.”
There’s an incredible amount of pressure on Jones throughout the season, if only for his own sake. This season could very well determine his future not just in New England, but across the NFL. Can he be a starting quarterback worth keeping and building around? Or will he start his path down Journeyman Road?
That may not all be on the line just in the one game on Sunday in Foxborough, because it’s a long season and Jones has flashed resilience in the past. But he better put together a solid first half. The Patriots better be in that game at halftime. Because if not…
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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.
The Brady 23: Recounting the 23 best games of Tom Brady's career
When Tom Brady first ‘retired’ after the 2021 season, the Sports Hub’s Alex Barth, Matt McCarthy, and Tim McKone compiled a list of ‘the 22 best Tom Brady games’ for his 22 years in the NFL. That list was originally going to be accompanied by a podcast including highlights and reflection on those games.
Before the whole project could be put together though, the unimaginable happened – Brady returned for a 23rd NFL season. Suddenly, his resume was one again ‘in progress.’
This past February Brady retired again, this time for good (we think). With his playing days now behind him (again, we assume), he’ll return to Gillette Stadium this Sunday to be honored by the Patriots on the first Sunday he won’t be on an NFL roster since 1999.
In celebration of Brady’s return, we’ve dug up the original ‘Brady 22,’ and turned it into the ‘Brady 23’ to accommodate his final season in the NFL. Unfortunately, the podcast is lost to the ages, but here is the list of the top 23 Tom Brady games of his NFL career from Barth, McCarthy, and McKone…