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Mac Jones is officially doubtful (unofficially, he won’t be playing)

From Kenny Pickett looking to deliver big in his first NFL start to Kyler Murray having the opportunity to knock off the last undefeated team, Mike Florio and Peter King name who needs to impress most in Week 5.

Several years ago, the NFL changed the injury designations to expand the percentage chance a player has to play when given the “doubtful” label. In theory, “doubtful” goes up to 49 percent. However, teams continue to use it primarily to reflect a low chance that the player will play, however.

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, who suffered an ankle injury 12 days ago, officially is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s home game against the Lions. Unofficially, a source with knowledge of the situation tells us that Jones will not play.

That means rookie Bailey Zappe will get his first career start, one week after replacing Brian Hoyer, who started the game at Lambeau Field and suffered a head injury.

It also means that the Patriots will elevate Garrett Gilbert from the practice squad, making him the game-day backup to Zappe.

As to Jones, it’s still not clear when he’ll play. There’s actually some chatter he may not even be present for Sunday’s game, in order to reduce the time that he’s putting weight on his ankle. (And, yes, that would be odd, given that he was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.)

A loss on Sunday would drop the Patriots to 1-4, making the task of winning enough games to secure a playoff berth even more daunting. The schedule has plenty of games the Pats can win, but games against Buffalo loom in Week 13 and 18. They also face the Dolphins again, and the Bengals. With those four games still to come, four losses in five games could make anything better than 9-8 for the season a pipe dream.