Thursday, December 8

Mac Jones doubtful for Week 5 vs. Lions as rookie third-stringer Bailey Zappe expected to start


The New England Patriots officially listed quarterback Mac Jones as doubtful with the ankle injury he suffered in the Week 3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. With backup Brian Hoyer listed as “unspecified” with a concussion, this means third-string rookie Bailey Zappe is expected to make the start on Sunday against the Detroit Lions. 

This will be the fourth-round pick’s first NFL start. 

Jones’ status on when he will return is still unclear, as he deals with recovering from the high ankle sprain and was limited in practice all week. Zappe got his first chance to play in an NFL regular-season game last week against the Green Bay Packers, when Hoyer was ruled out with a concussion.

The rookie was presented with a difficult first game, going against future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau Field. Zappe impressed in his first showing, going 10-for-15 for 99 yards and one touchdown and helped the Patriots get to overtime in a game many expected to be a blowout loss. Zappe and Co. ended up losing 27-24, but the 23-year-old got good experience and held up to the pressure.

The Lions are 1-3 and despite what their record looks like, their offense has shown up this year. They lead the league in points per game and points. 

The Lions defense is their team’s weak spot, with the most points allowed across the league and the third most passing and rushing yards allowed. 

The Patriots are also 1-3, but have not had as much offensive success. Their offense is in the lower half in total yards, passing yards and points and the questions about their offense have been looming since the offseason.

Heading into the season, who was calling the offensive plays was a question mark, with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge sharing the duties in the preseason, but neither impressing. Now the offense is dealing with quarterback injuries and will need to rely on the little experience Zappe has to outplay the Lions.

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