I don’t know what’s going to happen Saturday night when the Patriots play the Bills in the Wildcard matchup. I feel pretty safe in saying that if Coach Bill is going to beat the Bills, he’ll need a game plan that does not involve much from Mac Jones.
Look, I like the kid. I’ve enjoyed watching him this season and I do think the next few years look pretty bright in Foxborough, and not just because they’re building a new lighthouse in the Gillette end zone.
But let’s be real. Mac Jones’ season is essentially over.
Here’s why I say that.
First of all, he has hit the rookie wall. The tank is empty. It’s understandable. He’s never played this many games in his career at any level. He’s had to play basically an extra half season and, with the exception of the beat down of the hapless Jaguars, in December and January Jones has been playing poorly. The NFL is a much longer season than college in many ways. I’m sure mentally and physically he is exhausted.
Take the scrimmage against Jacksonville out of the equation and in the four other games since Dec. 1, he’s thrown three touchdowns and five interceptions and posted a subpar quarterback rating of 74.
He did throw for 299 yards against the Colts, which brings me to the second reason his season is in the books: cold weather.
It takes a while to learn to be a cold-weather quarterback. Remember all those playoff games when Peyton Manning came to New England? Most of those games didn’t turn out well for him.
Tom Brady obviously developed into a fantastic cold-weather quarterback but don’t forget he played college ball in Michigan.
Mac Jones is from Jacksonville. He played at Alabama. To him 45 degrees Fahrenheit might as well be the next Ice Age.
I know you remember the last time New England was in Buffalo. The Big Mac Attack consisted of two passes and a grand total of 19 passing yards.
Right now, the weekend forecast in Buffalo is a high of 20 degrees Fahrenheit with an inch of snow and winds up to 20 mph. You don’t get many of those days in Tuscaloosa. Or anywhere in the SEC.
Not saying the Patriots can’t win. But I am saying that just like the last time they were in Buffalo, the outcome of this game will have very little to do with Mac Jones.
Jeff Solari is the founder of the Maine Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free weekly sports email newsletter. He has been in sports media since he was 17 and is not shy with his opinions or perspective on the world of sports. The longtime sports broadcaster is a graduate of Mount Desert Island High School and the University of Southern Maine. Previous gigs included WLBZ-TV and WCSH-TV, host of “The Shootaround” talk radio show on WZON and stints with “Downtown” and “The Drive.” Solari has won more than 15 Maine Association of Broadcasters and AP broadcaster awards.