We're only entering the third week of the schedule and the 2020 season can already be called the year of the rookie quarterback.
Six have already attempted a pass this, including five who were selected in the first round of the NFL draft (third-round selection Davis Mills out of Stanford by the Houston Texans is the exception). The six through two weeks is tied with 1971 for the most, although that year had the advantage of being right after the league merger in 1970.
So far, Mac Jones has performed the best. He's completed 74 percent of his passes and has a 96.7 passer rating (the pro ratings are based on a different scale than the college quarterbacks), both of which are the best of the group. His 467 passing yards are second.
Last week, Jones completed 22 of 30 passes (73.3 pct.) for 186 yards while totally outperforming Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, the second-overall pick who had four passes picked off in the game.
The former Alabama quarterback also had the best numbers of the rookies during the preseason, as well.
A big difference why Jones is off to a great start is the team he's on and the circumstances of his addition. We've been saying all along he's the perfect fit for the Bill Belichick and the Patriots, and so far there's been nothing to indicate otherwise.
Maybe Justin Fields, Trey Lance and Trevor Lawrence, who were all selected before Jones, will go on and prove worthy of their selections and have terrific careers.
But none of them are a better fit than Jones in New England.
Matchup of the Week
Eagles at Cowboys: Their division rivals, the Eagles are led by former Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts, and the Cowboys seem determined to have every game go down to the wire this season. Both of Dallas' games have been decided by three points or fewer, including last week's crazy win over the Chargers. Hurts passed for 190 yards and rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown last week against the 49ers, but the last time he faced the Cowboys threw for a career-high 342 yards. The guy we're watching, though, is Amari Cooper, the Eagles killer. During his three home games against Philadelphia has averaged 148 receiving yards. He also has a history of playing big on Monday Night Football.
Trip of the Week
Dolphins at Raiders: Miami has to travel across three time zones to play at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, but as announced today by Dolphins coach Brian Flores, the team will be without its starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The second-year player suffered a rib injury in week two to Buffalo, and Flores said the extent is worse than previously believed. Tagovailoa is now out with a rib fracture whereas a few days ago he was listed as 'Day-to-Day' with a bruise.
Boosted by numerous former Crimson Tide players, Las Vegas is averaging 458.0 offensive yards per game, which tops the league. Additionally, the Dolphins essentially knocked the Raiders out of the playoffs last year, so there's a little extra motivation that come into play.
Here's the very unusual stat that will be on the line: Through the season’s first two weeks, NFL teams traveling at least two times zones to play on the road are an impressive 11-3 (.786). They're 5-1 (.833) when traveling across three time zones -- not including the 49ers opting to stay out on the East Coast and practice in West Virginia between games.
NFL Week 3 Schedule
All Times CT
Carolina at Houston, NFLN, 7:20
Washington at Buffalo, Fox, noon
Chicago at Cleveland, Fox, noon
Baltimore at Detroit, CBS, noon
Arizona at Jacksonville, Fox, noon
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City, CBS, noon
New Orleans at New England, Fox, noon
Atlanta at New York Giants, Fox, noon
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, CBS, noon
Indianapolis at Tennessee, CBS, noon
New York Jets at Denver, CBS, 3:05 p.m.
Miami at Las Vegas, CBS, 3:05 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Los Angeles Rams, Fox, 3:25 p.m.
Seattle at Minnesota, Fox, 3:25 p.m.
Green Bay at San Francisco, NBC, 7:20 p.m.
Philadelphia at Dallas, ESPN, 7:15 p.m.
• It'll be interesting to see how things play out over the course of the season, but Crimson Tide running backs are making a push to be considered the best of the former Alabama position groups this season. Derrick Henry's 237 scrimmage yards (182 rushing) top the league this season, and he has 1,036 scrimmage yards during his last six games overall. Rookie Najee Harris had 81 scrimmage yards and his first receiving touchdown last week, and if you haven't seen the Damian Harris bulldozing touchdown yet check it out:
• Cornerback Levi Wallace keeps plugging away in Buffalo. Last week he had his fifth career interception and two passes defended. Meanwhile, Denver safety Kareem Jackson also had his first pick of the season to go with six tackles (the Broncos face the Jets, so he might have a good chance for another one this week), and Chicago safety Eddie Jackson had his eighth career forced fumble.
• Could former Alabama linebacker Terrell Lewis find himself in pass protection of Rob Gronkowski this week? Probably not, but you never know. Gronk has two touchdown catches in each of his games this season, giving him 19 for his career, the second most by a tight end in NFL history. If you watch the matchup of undefeated teams in Los Angeles (there's that time zone thing again), keep an eye out for No. 52.
This report will be continually updated as necessary, and through the final game on the schedule.