The NFL's second season with an expanded playoff began on Saturday night, and in a three-day span, six teams came up short during wild-card weekend. Those losers were the Las Vegas Raiders, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Arizona Cardinals.
All six teams were plotted on the line between contender and pretender, and have entered the offseason hoping to solve on-field problems and avoid yet another first-round exit next year. The question is, which team is best-suited to take big strides forward in 2022? Right now, JR believes it's the Patriots.
"Mac Jones, rookie quarterback, getting indoctrinated into the NFL. Not too shabby of a first season: 22 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. He had the best rookie season for a quarterback," JR said on Tuesday night. "How's he going to move forward with a 70-year-old Bill Belichick?... If I'm going to have faith that any of these teams can continue to grow, I'm going to think it's the Pats. They have the best coach, and he had success with a rookie quarterback."
Jones, who was selected 15th overall by New England in the 2021 draft, was head and shoulders above his rookie competition. The Alabama product led all qualified first-year players in touchdowns (22), passing yards (3,801), and completions (352) this season, and helped the team clinch a wild-card spot. His campaign didn't end on a high note, however, as the Patriots lost against the division rival Buffalo Bills, 47-17, on Saturday night at Highmark Stadium.
JR's complete thoughts on this season's wild-card losers can be accessed in the audio player above.
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