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Patriots Preview: Mac Jones Healthy and Starting

Mac Jones is back for the New England Patriots as they travel to the Meadowlands for a divisional matchup with the Jets. Jones started last week's game against the Bears but was benched shortly in to the first quarter for rookie Bailey Zappe. Jones had a very slow game after a 3-game layoff, going 3-for-6 with 13 yard and an interception. On the other hand, the Jets are in the middle of their best season since 2015; they stand at 5-2 and are on a 4-game winning streak.

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In a matchup the Patriots have had circled as an "easy win" for the better part of two decades, the Patriots will enter as 2.5-point favorites. This number is a bit questionable seeing as the Jets 4-game winning streak has come at the expense of great teams like the Dolphins and Packers, and have an average of 14 points against and 26.8 points for. The Patriots on the other hand are 2-for-5 in their recent stretch of games with an average of 19.3 points against and 26.3 points for. Both teams are in the middle of the league as far as yards per game in rushing and passing offense, but the teams' defensive stats are both top-10. The Patriots specializing in pass defense and the Jets in rushing.

This game will be a true test in the AFC North as both teams are vying not to be the bottom-dweller. One of the best divisions in all of football, the Patriots are the last seed at 3-4 but only 3 games out of first place. This will be both teams' second divisional game having both played the Dolphins with the Jets having their best performance of the year and the Patriots their worst. With both teams needing a win to stay in the hunt for divisional supremacy and another matchup between the two in week 11, just under a month away, this is a win both teams want desperately.

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The Jets suffered a huge loss last week as rookie running back Breece Hall went down with a torn ACL. Hall was one of the leaders for rookie of the year with almost 100 total yards a game and 5 touchdowns through 7 weeks. Wide receiver Corey Davis is also on the short list for missing this game as he's dealing with a knee injury suffered last weekend. For the Patriots, Mac Jones is said to be "completely healthy" for the first time since week 4 and will start for the Pats. The Pats have 7 players listed as questionable in a usual Patriots fashion of never letting the other team see up their sleeve.

The biggest question for this game will be the performance of Mac Jones. In last week's game he was obviously rushed into play before he was ready and suffered, but his replacement Zappe had a rough game when it wound down as well. Jones didn't have a smooth start to the season either but Bill had decided he will start Jones over the rookie's hot hand. One thing is for sure, Jones will be on a very short leash throughout the season and especially this week on the road against the division rival.

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