The Patriots haven’t named a starting quarterback for their Monday Night Football matchup with the Bears.
Bill Belichick’s exact quarterback plans remain unclear as the Monday night matchup at Gillette Stadium approaches, after Bailey Zappe started in place of an injured Mac Jones for three consecutive games. Despite reports this week that Jones is trending in the right direction, the Patriots are holding information close to the vest as usual.
Patriots Starting Quarterback vs. Chicago Bears
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Monday that Mac Jones is expected to make his return from a high-ankle sprain that cost him three weeks, but he added that the Patriots’ exact plan at quarterback is “unclear.”
Jones hasn’t fully practiced since he went down with the injury in Week 3. While he’s ramped up football activities and is believed to be in a position to play, it’s possible the Patriots start Bailey Zappe and make Jones active as an emergency backup option. The Dolphins had a similar plan earlier this month when Teddy Bridgewater was active as the backup to rookie Skylar Thompson.
With a shortened week ahead and a matchup with the 5-2 Jets looming, there’s still a chance Belichick gives Jones one more week to fully recover, but reports continue to indicate the second-year quarterback is the most likely starting option – especially after he took “the bulk” of reps during Saturday’s practice.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 24, 2022
Zappe is 2-1 as the Patriots’ starter and is coming off his best performance of the season, when he finished 24-of-34 for 309 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win over the Browns. The rookie has thrown only one interception in his three starts. Jones has thrown five in three starts this season.
Mac Jones vs. Chicago Bears
If Mac Jones makes his return, he’ll be up for a challenge against a Bears defense that has performed well this season. As much as Chicago has struggled on the offensive end, the defense has had some highlights. The unit is 12th in yards allowed per pass attempt, and they have allowed the fewest first downs via pass (52) of any team.
While the Bears aren’t generating as much pressure as they hoped, they have only allowed 4 passing touchdowns this season – the fewest in the NFC. The Patriots might stick with the run-first approach that has helped them climb out of a 1-3 hole regardless of the quarterback.
Bears vs. Patriots Monday Night Football Odds
The Patriots are clear favorites at home against the Bears even with an uncertain quarterback situation. New England is favored by 8.5 points and sits -400 on the moneyline against an offensively-challenged Bears team.
Given how solid Zappe has been in place of Jones, late news that Jones isn’t ready to start likely wouldn’t move the line much. In typical post-Brady fashion, expect the Patriots to play conservatively and run the ball often – particularly if Jones gets the start.