The Jets got some clarity on their upcoming matchup with the Patriots when New England coach Bill Belichick announced that quarterback Mac Jones would start the game on Sunday.
Belichick’s announcement came amid a quasi-quarterback controversy in New England, after Jones was benched during their game last week against the Chicago Bears, and backup signal caller Bailey Zappe took the field after just three offensive possessions.
“That’s the decision, so that’s where we are now,” Belichick said. “I talked to all the quarterbacks. So everybody knows where we’re at.”
Belichick later said that he’d been planning to play both passers in the game, and pulling Jones wasn’t a result of his lackluster performance, when he threw an interception and did not score any points.
It was unclear throughout the early days of the week whether the team would start Jones of Zappe against Gang Green, which made it somewhat difficult for the Jets to create a game plan.
Zappe, a fourth-round rookie, first took the field in Week 4 of this season when Jones went out with a knee injury.
Last Sunday was Jones’ first time back on the field since then, but Belichick said his injury did not influence the decision to play both quarterbacks.
“I’m just sticking to my routine and trying to get back into that and become a better football player,” said Jones. “We have a plan. And for me right now that’s to become a better quarterback individually and a better player.”
“I’m doing everything I can to do that. I just want to prove that everyday and that’s what I’m going to do.”
When he’s been on the field this year, Jones has boasted a 65.05% completion rate, while throwing for nearly 200 yards per game. He has two passing touchdowns and six interceptions.
New England, who have long been a rival of the Jets, is 3-4 on the year, while the surging Jets are 5–2 after winning their last four games.
This is the first time the teams will meet while the Jets have a winning record and the Patriots are below .500 since Week 7 of 2000 season.
Sunday will be the first of two matchups between the Jets and the Patriots. They will meet again in New England on Nov. 20.