All eyes will be on the quarterbacks in Monday night's much-anticipated Week 13 game between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots at Highmark Stadium.
Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones has played quite well this season, establishing himself as the favorite for the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He's also 5-0 on the road and has helped lead the Patriots to a six-game win streak entering Monday night.
Josh Allen is one of the league's top 10 quarterbacks and the leader of a Bills offense that ranks No. 2 in the league with 29.6 points scored per game.
Which quarterback should fans trust more to earn a victory in this pivotal matchup? ESPN's Stephen A. Smith is going with Jones, but not for the reason you might think.
“Mac Jones, what is he doing here? Completing 70 percent of his passes as a rookie? Not making mistakes, OK,” Smith explained Monday on "First Take". “I’m seeing Nelson Agholor looking like he's got a pulse. I’m seeing (Kendrick) Bourne balling. I’m looking at their running game, it’s stout. Their defense is real. I think that Mac Jones is going to be put in a situation where he’s able to say, ‘OK, just play your game, minimize the mistakes. Let’s run our offense.’ Josh Allen is going to be asked to save the day, and with Tre’Davious White gone, with him being down with the ACL injury, you got a problem.
“See, New England doesn't have that problem. As a result, Josh Allen is almost by default -- I’m not trying to imply that Mac Jones at this point is better than Josh Allen -- I’m saying that the defense that Josh Allen has to go against is entirely different than what Mac Jones is going to have to face. The supporting cast that Mac Jones has available to him I think is an upgrade from Buffalo.”
Smith's co-host and Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin went with Allen in the "which QB do you trust more?" debate. Here's a video of the entire segment from "First Take":
The Patriots enter this game as the conference's No. 1 seed and the first place team in the AFC East . If the Patriots lose to the Bills, they will fall all the way to the No. 5 seed. A defeat also would give the Patriots just a 19 percent of winning the division, per FiveThirtyEight.
It's safe to say this game is quite important to the Patriots and will have a tremendous impact on the AFC playoff race. New England will need another excellent performance from Jones to extend its win streak to seven games and remain atop the division standings entering a Week 14 bye.