Patriots take another step closer to playoffs, Jaguars take another step closer to first overall pick

The Patriots are heading toward the playoffs after a one-year absence, and the Jaguars are heading toward the first overall pick in the draft for the second consecutive year.

New England obliterated Jacksonville today, 50-10, improving the Patriots’ record to 10-6 on the season. Although they haven’t officially clinched a playoff berth, they’re getting very close to the postseason.

The Jaguars, meanwhile, fall to 2-14, and they’ll have the first pick in the 2022 NFL draft if they lose next week, or if the Lions win one of their two remaining games.

Jacksonville, of course, also had the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, and one of the reasons they’re in this position is that No. 1 overall pick, quarterback Trevor Lawrence, has fallen far short of expectations. The Jaguars are a mess for lots of reasons that aren’t Lawrence’s fault, but any honest evaluation of this season has to acknowledge that Lawrence has played poorly.

The rookie quarterback who has played the best this season is New England’s Mac Jones. Jones was excellent today, completing 22 of 30 passes for 227 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions, before giving way to Brian Hoyer in garbage time.

Jones is going to give the Patriots a real chance to win in the playoffs. The Jaguars hope Lawrence can win for them in the playoffs some day, but that appears to be a major rebuild away.