Going into Week 3 of the NFL season, intrigue could not be higher after an electric opening to the season. We’re going to go over the three best potential games, some big storylines and a few players who might be trending up or down heading into the week.
QB Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers:
Carolina shocked much of the NFL community when it acquired Sam Darnold for three draft picks this offseason. He has done nothing but solidify the Panthers front offices’ thought process when they traded for him. What remains to be seen is if Darnold can elevate his game when it comes to an end-of-game scenario.
2021 Stats: 50/73 comp/att., 584 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, 100.5 passer rating
RB Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys:
After a quiet Week 1 against the Buccaneers, Pollard exploded in Week 2 and brought back whispers of him possibly replacing or earning more carries with Zeke in the backfield. While Zeke is more of a bruising back, Pollard provides more explosiveness across the board and could be intriguing to see in a lead back role elsewhere.
2021 Stats: 16 carries, 123 yards, 7.7 yards per carry (ypc), 1 touchdown
WR Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers:
Fantasy owners all over the country are irate with Brandon Aiyuk, and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan doesn’t seem eager to get Aiyuk touches any time soon. After being drafted as a first-round choice, Aiyuk impressed many down the stretch last season, and expectations were high for him entering the season. The statline for his season below tells you all you should know.
2021 Stats: 1 reception, 2 targets, 6 receiving yards
RB James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars:
James Robinson cannot catch a break. After being a breakout 1,000-yard rushing rookie and looking like the future at running back for the Jaguars, Travis Etienne was drafted. It looked all offseason like Etienne would supplant Robinson in the backfield until his season was announced over with a Lisfranc injury. While Robinson has garnered a 68% snap share, he has no numbers, given that the Jaguars have been behind consistently throughout the season and needing to pass.
2021 Stats: 16 carries, 72 yards, 4.5 ypc
Aaron Rodgers rebounded against the Lions after a downright anemic opener against the Saints, throwing for four touchdown passes.
Carson Wentz, amongst a becy of quarterback injuries, sprained both of his ankles in the Colts’ 24-27 loss to the Rams. Wentz is a game-time decision for this weekend. Eagles fans will be very intrigued by this, as Wentz’s health determines the draft pick that the Eagles have to trade away this year.
Seven undefeated teams remain, with the Rams and Buccaneers set to play as the only matchup this week between teams without a loss. A few of the surprises amongst the seven include the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, who moved to 3-0 on Thursday night.. Both teams are led by a stingy defense, while surrounding their quarterbacks with talented weapons, and I’d expect both the Panthers and Broncos to continue their high level of play.
Three games to watch this weekend:
Saints vs Patriots at Gillette Stadium (NE -3.0)
This game is one of the more intriguing ones this week, as it is Mac Jones’ first true test against a talented NFL defense, while the Saints’ offense needs to get back on track. After shocking the NFL with a 38-3 walloping of the Packers in Week 1, the Saints came out flat and never got the offense running against the Panthers. Jameis Winston is still very unproven and will need a bit more time to settle back into the pace of the game after not playing last year.
Prediction: Saints 28 Patriots 24
Buccaneers vs Rams at SoFi Stadium (TB -1.0)
As the Vegas line does indicate, this game is practically a toss up between two elite teams. The Rams’ offense has looked electric with the addition of Matthew Stafford right from the first drive of the season. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers have looked like they haven’t skipped a beat, picking up right where they left off in their Super Bowl victory. This should be the best game of the week. Find a couch at 4:25 because you’ll want to watch this game.
Prediction: Buccaneers 35 Rams 38
Seahawks vs Vikings at US Bank Stadium (SEA -2.0)
Don’t let the Vikings’ winless record fool you. They’re a good football team who played two unlucky games against talented teams. They’ll be hungry for a win against a Seattle team who won’t go down easy, having looked extremely dangerous through two weeks. While 0-3 wouldn’t be the end of the season, it would be a huge step back in the playoff race for the Vikings.
Prediction: Seahawks 21 Vikings 27