In week 4 of the 2022 NFL season, Mac Jones and the New England Patriots head to Lambeau Field to face off against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. A rematch of Brett Favre's only Super Bowl victory, and it's sure to be a good one. There's a lot of hoopla surrounding Mac Jones and whether or not he's good. The Packers will get a first-hand look as he takes on their ferocious defense in the first quarter of the season. I'd reckon the Patriots are a tier below Green Bay, but Bill Belichick assembling a surprise Super Bowl squad wouldn't shock me either.
New England Patriots Season Preview
The rumors of Matt Patricia becoming New England's offensive (yes, offensive) play-caller must be making Pat's fans sick. After burning out with the Detroit Lions, it appears Belichick has Patricia on tap to replace play-calling prodigy, Josh McDaniels. Say what you will of McDaniel's stint with the Denver Broncos and his spurning of the Colts; he's a magnificent offensive coordinator. He made the playoffs with Tim Tebow.
Another area of concern was New England's draft. Post-draft grades after often meaningless. The media universally panned the Seattle Seahawks following their 2012 draft; it turned out so well that John Schneider has been dining off it for years. Maybe Belichick knows something we don't, but when multiple media outlets from Pro Football Focus to Sports Illustrated and everybody in between has something to say, it's not a great look.
Mac Jones will have a ton riding on his shoulders this year. As a rookie, he was better than serviceable, but the problem of playing for the Patriots is Bill gets all the credit before you. That shouldn't overshadow the progress he made throughout the season. If it weren't for losing his offensive coordinator, I'd expect a big jump in production. The loss of McDaniels might hurt that; it's never good for a young quarterback to be cycling through play-callers. The losses of Shaq Mason and Ted Karras could spell doom as well. Offensive linemen don't get a lot of love, but those guys were rock solid for New England.
The Pat's defense ranked 4th in the NFL according to Football Outsiders DVOA. The loss of J.C. Jackson is going to hurt that. He proved to be a premier, ball-hawking corner in 2021, and the Chargers decided he was worth dropping the bag for. New England picked up a pair of corners in the 3rd and 4th rounds, but who knows how long until they're ready for the show.
How do the Patriots Matchup with the Green Bay Packers?
In a season that New England should've been taking a step forward, it appears they'll be taking a step back, barring a herculean effort from 2nd-year quarterback Mac Jones. McCorkle faces a murderer's row of defenses through the first four weeks of the season; Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, and then the Green Bay Packers. Three of those games are on the road. Patriots fans will know soon enough whether Jones is better than cromulent.
New England has an excellent run game behind Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris; it'll be a perfect test for Green Bay's newly acquired front. Unlike the Buccaneers, the Patriots don't have the receivers to test the Packer's secondary. If the Patriots pull this game out in Lambeau, it'll be an all-timer from Belichick.