The New England Patriots are going to start a rookie quarterback Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins after Mac Jones beat out veteran Cam Newton during training camp and the preseason.
Jones' poise, accuracy throwing the football, work ethic and command of the offense were all impressive over the last month. In the end, it wasn't a shock Jones won the job, but it was a little bit of a surprise that Newton was released Tuesday.
The decision to go with Jones impacts a lot of things, including the updated betting lines for various NFL and Patriots-related wagers.
The Patriots now have the second-best odds to win the AFC East division, just ahead of the rival Miami Dolphins, who will travel to New England for a Week 1 matchup at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 12.
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Here are the latest AFC East betting lines following the news of Jones being the Patriots' starting quarterback -- odds provided by our partner, PointsBet Sportsbook.
|New England Patriots||+300||3rd|
|New York Jets||+2000||4th|
The Patriots' streak of 11 consecutive division titles ended in 2020 with a disappointing 7-9 record. They posted a 3-3 record versus divisional opponents, including an 0-2 mark against the new division champion Buffalo Bills.
The Bills are favored to repeat as AFC East champs, which is far from a surprise given the talent and depth on their roster. Bills quarterback Josh Allen also is among the top MVP candidates after a breakout 2020 campaign.
The Patriots are a real threat to win back the division crown, though. New England was aggressive in free agency -- bolstering several roster weaknesses by signing players such as linebacker Matthew Judon, tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, and several others.
Jones gives them an upgrade at quarterback, which was a major position of weakness last season as New England finished last or near the bottom of several passing statistics.
The games against the Bills will be pivotal to the Patriots' chances of winning the division. New England should be able to at least split their two games against the Dolphins and beat the Jets twice (The Pats have a nine-game win streak over New York). The Patriots don't play the Bills until Week 13 and 16, which should result in some exciting and consequential late-season games in the AFC East title race.