Mac Jones needs to step up for the New England Patriots against the Bills

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s time for New England Patriots rookie sensation Mac Jones to step up, put the team on his back, and lead them to a victory over the Buffalo Bills in Week 16.

As Andy Gresh of WEEI radio in Boston would say, “it’s nut cuttin’ time“. That means it’s crunch time folks. It’s time for the team to say, we’re the New England Patriots, we’re the best, and we’re back.

The main players in this on-field drama will be the two quarterbacks, Josh Allen of the Bills and Jones of the Patriots.

Mac Jones must shine for the New England Patriots

The battle of these two gladiators and their fellow warriors takes place in Week 16. The winner is most likely heading to the AFC East title. The loser may be out of the running entirely.

The keys to the title are in the hands of these two top guns. Allen, a bonafide winner in his fourth season, and Jones, the rookie with the wherewithal to lead his team to titles.

But since this is a New England Patriots space, let’s talk about what Jones’ mission has to be to take down the Bills and maybe put them behind the eight ball in the race for the top of spot in the AFC East.

Jones is coming off his worst game as a professional. Since there have only been 14 of them, that’s not a huge sample from which to draw any conclusions. In the Pats tough loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 15, Jones completed only 57.7 percent of his passes. That’s not good enough.

It’s also nowhere near his outstandingly accurate 69 percent completion rate for the season to date. Worse yet, he threw two interceptions, an absolute deal-breaker against good teams like Indianapolis and Buffalo.

If he does that on Sunday, expect a loss and a drop down to second place in the AFC East behind Buffalo who’d have the tie-breaker on head-to-head competition. That’s not where this Patriots team wants to be.

Conversely, a win puts the New England Patriots two games ahead of Buffalo, which effectively locks up the top spot in the division for them. That’s where they have to be.

What Mac Jones and the New England Patriots have to do to beat the Buffalo Bills

It’s not rocket science to suggest what Jones needs to do to beat the Bills, with a little help from his friends, of course. He has to bounce back big time with a great game.

First, he and his teammates need to have a clean game. That means no turnovers, period. Lose the turnover battle to Buffalo and it’s game over. Win it, and you’re a likely winner. Then, Jones has to step up, shed the doldrums of his performance against Indy, and become the leader of this team.

Jones was called out by former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson this week for comments about the week of practice prior to the Indy game in Week 15,

"“And him saying they had a bad week of practice and that their energy level was low — you’re a rookie, keep your mouth shut. That’s not going to play well in the locker room…”"

Johnson was right and wrong. He was right that Jones shouldn’t be blabbing about such matters in the media. What’s a “bad week of practice” anyway?

Johnson was wrong in that Jones as the quarterback is the de facto leader of this team, period. As such, he has every right, rather the duty, to step up and put a verbal lashing on both himself and his teammates if it’s warranted. He owns that right or he’s not the right guy for the job.

That lashing should be unleashed by Jones, and frankly, also by the coaching staff during a lousy practice, not after the team gets dumped by Indy in a winnable game. It can be justifiably asked where the heck Bill Belichick and his staff were while these “lousy practices” were being held?

The best scenario would have been that Jones should have stopped his offense, taken them aside or even off the practice field, and lit into them whether the coaches liked it or not. He probably should also have ordered himself and his own offense to run the hill until they literally ran that languor out of their systems.

Hopefully, this week’s practices will be “good practices”.  But Johnson’s comment notwithstanding, if the offense has issues, it’s Jones, rookie or not, who has to take charge. It goes with the turf, Ted, as you well know. But he was right to say don’t do it in the media.

What Jones has to do against the Bills is what he didn’t do in the first game, the Run Bowl in Buffalo; throw the ball, and throw it well.

Next. Toughness is the deciding factor between the Pats & Bills. dark

He has to make it clear that he’s in charge of the offense, and ensure that it’s a multi-faceted one unlike their previous meeting in the snow. Do that, run the ball well, and stop the turnovers and they likely win.

Otherwise, it will be a long cold afternoon in Foxborough and the result will be the Patriots once again looking up at the Bills on top of the AFC East. If that unfamiliar and totally unacceptable situation again eventuates, what a revolting development that would be.