FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Colts want to see what Mac Jones can do.

Well, take a number.

So does everyone else in New England. And so does every team that comes up against the Patriots. Their goal has been to make the rookie throw the football.

Thus far, Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels haven’t had to go to that well. More to the point, they haven’t had to let Mac air it out to win a game. And if current trends continue, don’t hold your breath waiting for a Jones launch party on Saturday night in Indianapolis.

If the defense continues to play the way it has, Jones will continue to aid wins as a game manager. During the recent seven-game winning streak, in fact, the Patriots have only trailed once heading into the fourth quarter. And even then, the Chargers were only up 17-16 on Halloween.

So, while the Colts are game-planning to push Jones to the forefront, there hasn’t been a huge need for the rookie quarterback to sling it around the lot thus far. Prior to his three-throw effort against the Bills in gusty conditions, Jones averaged 29 attempts the previous six games.

That’s a decent amount, but nothing like the 54 heaves Josh Allen put up against the Buccaneers on Sunday, feverishly trying to rally the Bills from a 24-3 halftime deficit during an eventual overtime loss.

Thanks to the defense keeping opposing offenses in check, along with the success of the run game, McDaniels and the Patriots have been able to manage Jones, and not have him throw a majority of the time.

While the Patriots trailed on several occasions during the first six games of the season, there was only one game during that stretch where they were behind by more than a touchdown heading into the fourth quarter. That was Week 3 against New Orleans, with the Saints up 21-6 with a quarter to go.

So for the most part, McDaniels has been able to bring Jones along at a slow and steady pace, throwing when the occasion warrants it. Ultimately, there’s been a healthy mix of pass and run, with more emphasis on the latter in recent weeks.

The Colts can talk all they want about making the Patriots one-dimensional, but actually making it happen is another story.

The Bills, who sport a higher-rated run defense than the Colts, couldn’t keep a lid on the Patriots’ ground game. They routinely loaded the box but still had trouble. The scoreboard also wasn’t in their favor.

So let’s see what the Colts can do. It might not have been the best thing for linebacker Bobby Okereke to tip their hand, but again, it’s the same strategy the Patriots have faced every week with opposing defenses.

They all want to do the same thing – make Mac throw!

If the Colts can shut down the Patriots’ ground attack, forcing longer distances on second and third down, good for them. Mission accomplished.

But there’s also another element here: Be careful what you wish for. They’re assuming Jones won’t be able to handle it. They’re assuming Jones won’t be able to beat them.

Again, be careful what you wish for.

Jones has looked pretty good running the no-huddle in drives before halftime. More times than not, he’s produced points. While the three pass attempts against Buffalo raised some flags, the Indy game will be played in a dome. So, no wind, and no weather.

Who knows, maybe McDaniels starts Jones in an empty backfield with five wide and lets the kid fire away. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see the Patriots let the Colts load up the box to stop the run, only to have Jones pick them apart using play-action. He’s been effective with that, so if the Colts want to go all out to stop the run, that’ll play right into the hands of Jones making play-action throws, especially on early downs.

As it is, most metrics suggest the Patriots will want to throw more in this game given the Colts are better at stopping the run than the pass. The trick will be not getting behind in the game, and making gains on early downs.

Ultimately, the answer for the offensive game plan is this: doing whatever is necessary to win. If it means relying more on Jones, so be it. If it means continuing to play bully ball, and beating the Colts’ defense at its so-called strength, they’ll go that way, too.

“I don’t think you know exactly what they’re going to do, they mix it up pretty good,” Belichick said when asked if taking shorter gains was the way to go given the Colts haven’t allowed many explosive plays on defense. “We just gotta read the coverages, do a good job with our pass protection, run good routes, have good spacing … and read the play wherever the coverage tells (Mac) to go.

“That’s where he should go. That’s what he’s trying to do, and what we’re trying to get him to do.”

Saturday night, let’s all see what Mac can do.

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