Sure, the Week 4 matchup with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers had tons of hype, but when it comes to meaning, this coming week against Buffalo will be the biggest game in Mac Jones’ young pro career.
The Patriots have won six straight games and are 8-4 on the season, while the Bills are slightly behind them in the AFC East at 7-4.
Obviously, this game has huge implications relating to the division, as it is the first of two meetings over the next few weeks, but also the rest of the AFC standings.
This will also be Jones’ first game on Monday Night Football and his first time playing in Buffalo, which is widely-regarded as one of the toughest places to play for opponents in the NFL.
“I know they are a great fan base," Jones said on Merloni & Fauria. "They have a lot of passion and they bring a lot of energy to the games. Even before the games, I have seen a lot of crazy videos and stuff.”
He added: “Obviously, where we’re playing [it’s] a great football city that cares a lot about football. They have a really good team. I think we have to go in there, have fun and enjoy the moment and I know both teams are going to play really hard. It will be a really good atmosphere and all that. I am excited for it. It will be fun.”
Not only will it be the toughest environment he’s played in as a professional — Jones is a perfect 5-0 on the road this season — it may be the toughest defense he's faced, too.
Buffalo will enter the game with the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL and unlike the Titans, who were solid in defending the run but struggled with the pass, the Bills are good at both. They are No. 2 in defending the pass and No. 5 defending the run.
So, Jones and the Patriots offense will have its toughest test of late, possibly of the year, and so will the Patriots defense.
Buffalo comes into the game with the fifth-ranked offense and have averaged the second-most points offensively. Over the course of the Patriots’ six-game winning streak they have outscored opponents 211-63, so they haven’t really trailed by double-digits or had any games ever really be in doubt. This has made things a lot easier on the rookie.
The potential certainly is there this week for that to change and if it does, we’ll see how Jones reacts. The rookie hasn’t faced much adversity within a game and played in a true hostile environment, which are really the last boxes he needs to check to truly say he’s made it as a NFL quarterback.
Jones has passed every other test this season with flying colors, but these may be the toughest.
Monday night will be interesting, and like Jones said, fun.