Tonight’s Patriots-Bills showdown on Monday Night Football features an interesting quarterback matchup between Mac Jones and Josh Allen.
In several ways, these two signal callers couldn’t be more disparate. Jones is a pure pocket passer while Allen is an elite athlete who is perfectly comfortable operating on the move or running the football. Allen is also a four-year vet with multiple playoff appearances, while Jones is still a rookie.
So why does ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith “trust” Jones more than Allen tonight? Well, a lot of it comes down to what each player has around him.
“Mac Jones, this is a brother right here, what is he doing here? Completing 70% of his passes as a rookie? Not making mistakes, OK?” Smith said earlier today on ESPN. “I’m seeing Nelson Agholor looking like he got a pulse. I’m seeing (Kendrick) Bourne balling. I’m looking at their running game, it’s stout. Their defense is real. I think that Mac Jones is going to be put in a situation where he’s able to say, ‘OK, just play your game, minimize the mistakes. Let’s run our offense.’ Josh Allen is going to be asked to save the day and with Tre’Davious White gone — with him being down with the ACL injury — you got a problem.
“See, New England don’t have that problem. …I’m not trying to imply that Mac Jones at this point is better than Josh Allen. I’m saying that the defense that Josh Allen has to go against is entirely different than what Mac Jones has to face. The supporting cast that Mac Jones has available to him I think is an upgrade from Buffalo.”
This is a pretty bold take. Jones has been impressive this season, and he does have a strong defense and running game to lean on. But the Bills also boast one of the top defensive units in the league, and Allen has already thrown for 25 touchdowns in 11 games.
Furthermore, the Patriots are also the road team tonight. This will be the most hostile environment they will play in all season, at least until the playoffs.
We’ll know soon if Stephen A. was on the right track here. Kickoff for Bills-Patriots is set for 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN.