SPORTS-FBN-DANIELS-COLUMN-GET

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones before the Dec. 6 game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y.

The Patriots are in dire need of a “get right” game.

After suffering losses to Indianapolis and Buffalo, and essentially getting punched in the mouth in both games, the Patriots need to right the ship.

The two-win Jacksonville Jaguars should be just what the doctor ordered, especially for Mac Jones, who needs to get his mojo back especially after seeing his performance slip in recent weeks.

Going against a defense that currently ranks 30th in the league in DVOA, Football Outsiders’ opponent-and-situation-adjusted efficiency metric, should help Jones get back in the groove. The offense as a whole should also get the needed jump start.

Naturally, Jones isn’t taking the Jaguars lightly, even if they’re surrendering 26.4 point per game, and have been decimated by COVID-19 cases.

“This week, I know the Jags have a good defense and they bring a lot of different looks, a lot of different pressures, spin-the-dial, and all that,” he said. “It’s what they do, they’re really good at it, and they bring a lot of pressure. We know we have to be ready for it.”

Here’s how Jones and the offense can get back into a groove against the Jags:

1. Get Mac back in rhythm

Of late, Jones and the offense have started slowly. They haven’t scored in the first quarter the past two games, and have just scored seven points heading into halftime taking into account both games.

That has to change.

And to accomplish the mission, the Patriots have to get Jones back in a groove, back into a rhythm throwing the football.

Josh McDaniels can design some simple throws at the outset to get that in motion, and get Jones in rhythm right away.

Along with that, receivers have to run good routes, and secure the football. There have been a few too many drops of late.

2. Win the trench war

Whether it’s protecting Jones, or setting the run game in motion, the Patriots’ line needs to once again assert itself.

The Patriots need to get back to dictating play offensively, which was their forte before the bye week. In order to do that, it has to start with the line.

Jacksonville doesn’t exactly feature the best defensive front, so it behooves the Patriots to take advantage.

3. Unlock Jonnu Smith

It’s Week 17. And nary a peep from tight end Jonnu Smith, save for his blocking in the run game.

He’s too talented to be just a blocking tight end. McDaniels has to find ways to make him a more relevant piece of the offense.

He needs to find ways to get the ball in Smith’s hands to give the offense a lift. Jacksonville is a good place to start.

The Patriots offense has struggled across the board the last couple of weeks. To this point, Smith has just 27 catches for 274 yards and a touchdown. McDaniels needs to see if he can squeeze more out of the tight end.

Report: Pats get Judon, Bentley back

The Patriots got quite a bit of good news on New Year’s Day.

Matthew Judon, Ja’Whaun Bentley and Brandon King will all be activated from the COVID-19 reserve list, according to the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride. In addition to that, McBride reports Dont’a Hightower — who missed Friday’s practice with a knee injury — is “good to go” for Sunday.

Earlier in the week, Hightower was direct when speaking about what the Patriots need to do to get back on track against the Jaguars this weekend.

“Enough talk,” Hightower said. “It’s time to work and it’s always been time to work but there’s no more of the little cliché lines and all that stuff. Now it’s really just about time to work. These last two games mean a lot to us and we worked really hard and let some games slip from our hands but hopefully, we learn from that and we’ll get things going this week.”

Pats, Phillips agree to extension

It was a busy Saturday for Bill Belichick, as the team also reportedly agreed to a three-year extension with safety Adrian Phillips.

The extension will keep Phillips with the franchise through 2024, a source confirmed to the Boston Herald. The deal reportedly carries a maximum value of $14.25 million and $7.25 million guaranteed.

Phillips is one of the Pats’ top defensive playmakers, ranking third on the team with 76 tackles.

and second with four interceptions this season.

SiriusXM’s Adam Caplan first reported the extension. In November, Bill Belichick called Phillips, 29, one of the Patriots’ best players.