The New England Patriots will indeed have Mac Jones returning to quarterback his team on Monday night against the Chicago Bears.
Jones has been sidelined with a high ankle sprain for the last three weeks, but he is being put back into the starter’s role, NBC Sports Boston reported.
Jones has been practicing all week and took all the Patriots’ first-team reps on Saturday, NFL Network reported. It is the best indication that the Patriots are confident in Jones being able to start.
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Since being out, though, the Patriots haven’t sputtered. They’ve gone 2-1 in those three games missed by Jones, and third-stringer Bailey Zappe has a lot to do with it.
Jones’ backup Brian Hoyer didn’t last one half, as he left against the Green Bay Packers with a head injury, forcing Zappe to make his NFL debut in one of the hardest stadiums to play: Lambeau Field.
He relied on his run game in that contest, throwing for just 99 yards with a touchdown pass in what would eventually be a Packers overtime victory.
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But Zappe led the way to a victory over the Detroit Lions, a 29-0 rout at home. Then, he lit up the Cleveland Browns through the air, throwing for 309 yards and two touchdowns in the patriots 38-15 victory.
Zappe is expected to back up Jones in this Monday night battle with the Bears.
The run game has also been crucial for this offensive unit, as Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris have set the tone and allowed Zappe to work on play action and feel comfortable due to the defense having to respect the legs of those two. Harris is also back for the Patriots Monday after sitting out the last two games.
And of course, the Patriots’ defense has also helped matters. They currently sit 13th in yards allowed per game this season at 337.8.
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But, despite the Bears having struggles offensively to start the season, Jones is going to have to go against the third-best pass defense in the league. Chicago has allowed just 178.7 yards per game through the air.
Jones has had a bit of an interception problem to start this season, with five through three games to two touchdowns. Three of them came in the Patriots’ loss to the Baltimore Ravens, which is when Jones got hurt.
Through 20 career games, Jones owns an 11-9 record with 4,587 passing yards and 24 touchdowns to 18 interceptions.