The New England Patriots endured a ropey season with Cam Newton, 32, at quarterback in 2020. He was signed two months before the start of the season as the franchise scrambled to acquire a replacement for Tom Brady, 44.
However, Newton failed to hit the mark as the Patriots finished with a losing record for the first time since the first season of Bill Belichick, 69, in Foxborough and consequently missed out on a post-season berth. The Patriots surrendered their AFC East crown with a whimper to the Buffalo Bills, proving the need for quality from the signal-caller position.
Belichick moved to address the situation in the off-season, using the 15th-overall pick on Mac Jones, 23, after he put forward an outstanding season for the Alabama Crimson Tide in the college game. Jones beat out Newton for the starting role.
Although Jones’ first National Football League game ended in defeat to the Miami Dolphins, there was plenty of promise from the rookie. The Patriots is not the juggernaut it was with Brady in the position and is now backed as a rank outsider at +3300 in the NFL odds from Betfair to win the Super Bowl.
If Jones continues to develop, they could be a useful team in the playoff picture. Therefore, keeping an eye on the Patriots in the NFL betting tips would be a prudent option.
Belichick’s teams usually improve towards the end of the season. Given the extended campaign and additional playoff places on offer, the Patriots could be a prime candidate for a spot in the Wildcard Round.
With Jones in the position, the Patriots can return to their preferred offense that was so effectively run by Brady for almost 20 years. Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, 45, prefer their quarterbacks to make quick reads and limit their mistakes.
It was certainly evident in Jones’ debut as he played beyond his years against a Miami Dolphins defense that he not only has great familiarity with the Patriots’ system but also possesses great quality particularly with their cornerbacks Byron Jones, 29, and Xavien Howard, 28. Jones was efficient, completing 29 out of his 39 passes and connecting with Nelson Agholor, 28, for his first NFL touchdown.
Jones maneuvered the Patriots into a position to take a lead late in the game, only for a Damien Harris fumble to cost the Patriots the game, losing by a single point. Although it was a disappointing start to his career, Jones will give the Patriots’ fans confidence that the heir to Brady has come forth and they can once again return to the top of the AFC East and the conference itself.
It may not come in the near future as there is a great deal of deficiencies in the Patriots’ roster, starting with the talent at wide receiver. Quality was one of the primary reasons that Brady was unwilling to extend his tenure in Foxborough, growing tired of Belichick’s misfires in free agency and the draft.
If those issues continue, Jones will have a tough time taking the Patriots forward but he appears to have the attributes required to succeed in the NFL and was not overawed by the occasion. Compared to other rookies that have entered the league in recent years, he has passed his first test with flying colors.