Previewing NFL Week 3

It’s very interesting that nine teams started off 2-0 and nine teams started off 0-2 this year.

Last year, seven started off 2-0 but only two of them made the playoffs. Six started off 0-2, then two of them made the playoffs. So we’ll see what the early records wind up meaning.

It’s noteworthy that four teams that started off 2-0 and ended up with losing records – the Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins — started off 0-2 this year.  The Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs are only teams to start off 2-0 both years. Last year, both Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks started off 0-2 and are 2-0 this year.

Game of the Week

Two young guns, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, will duel in Kansas City. Both have thrown seven touchdown passes and no picks in their first two games. The NFL apparently didn’t expect this to be a big early season game. It not only isn’t being played in primetime, but it isn’t even a late-afternoon game. It is being played at noon in Kansas City.

Game of the Weak

None of the 0-2 teams are playing this weekend, so Carolina’s trip to Arizona, which is 0-1-1, qualifies. Kyle Allen is expected to start for 0-2 Carolina because Cam Newton has a foot injury. It’s a chance for Kyler Murray to get his first NFL win for the Cardinals.

Five things to watch

–Can the NFL quarterbacks stay healthy this week? Five teams – the New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Panthers, Jaguars and New York Jets – have their starters on the shelf because of injuries or illness. A sixth, Indianapolis, lost its starter when Andrew Luck retired and a seventh, the New York Giants, benched their starter, Eli Manning. Ben Roethlisberger is out for year with an elbow injury, Drew Brees is out for several weeks with a thumb injury and Nick Foles is out until November with a broken clavicle. Despite all the backups playing, Colin Kaepernick, remains unsigned.

Luke Falk gets the start for the Jets because Sam Darnold has mono and Trevor Siemian was sidelined for the year by a Myles Garrett hit that got a roughing-the-passer penalty. The Jets go to New England and are underdogs by slightly more than 20 points.  Miami is also an underdog by more than 20 in Dallas. It is the first time since 1993 that two teams have been underdogs by more than 17 in the same week and the first time since the 1987 strike season that two have been underdogs by more than 20.

Mason Rudolph steps into the starting lineup for Pittsburgh at San Francisco. The Steelers must believe in him because they traded their 2020 first round to Miami for cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick. It is the first time they traded a first-round pick since 1967, two years before Chuck Noll was hired and turned the team into a dynasty. If Rudolph flops, the Steelers won’t have a first-round pick to try to get a young quarterback.

Teddy Bridgewater decided to stay in New Orleans rather than sign with another team and battle for a starting job. He wasn’t going to play in New Orleans as long as Brees was healthy. Well, now that Brees is out indefinitely with his thumb injury, Bridgewater gets to start at Seattle. This is his chance to show he can be an NFL starter. His future will be determined the next few weeks.

–The Patriots have outscored their foes by 73 points in their first two wins. With the next game up against the Jets, they should become the first modern team to outscore their foes by more than 99 points in the first three since the 1968 Dallas Cowboys outscored their foes 132-33. Kind of fitting in the NFL’s 100 season that the all-time record was set in the league’s first year, when the Rock Island Independents outscored their foes 119-0.

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