The Backstretch Blog's Top 16 in '18: No. 14 Erik Jones

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 17: <>talks to the media during media day for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship at the Loews Hotel on November 17, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

I worked last night, so I don't have a Super Bowl hang over per-say. But do have the feeling of the sports void that is this week or so between the Super Bowl and NASCAR's Speedweeks. Thankfully we have each other to talk about racing. From now until the Daytona 500, I'll be counting down the 16 drivers I think will make the NASCAR Playoffs. Without further's today's driver...

Number 14- Erik Jones, Joe Gibbs Racing

Who says you can't go home again? Certainly not Erik Jones. Though it was more Jones was on a college internship last season than the prodigal son. Back from a one year study at Furniture Row Racing, Jones is hoping to be the next in the long line of successful drivers for JGR.

There is no doubt Jones is talented, just look at the numbers in Xfinity and Cup. I mean, he probably should have won a race last season. It will be interesting to see how the JGR fans embrace him, following Matt Kenseth is not easy. Kenseth was a former champ and his fans loved his sarcastic whit. Jones is not that guy. That's not to say fans wont love him or that he wont be successful, he just different than the guy who was in the 20 car last season.

It will also be interesting to see where he falls in the Gibbs pecking order. He was a Gibbs guy before and he drove for a Gibbs affiliate last season. But the other three Cup drivers where at Gibbs last season. Is he the new guy, is he Daniel Suarez equal, is he ahead of the 19. I know they say all cars are equal, but you can usually see a clear order. Right now Kyle Busch is one, Denny Hamlin is two. The rest is to be determined,

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