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NFL Week 3 Rookie Quarterback Predictions

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We have a season-high five rookie quarterbacks starting this week as both the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans will be trotting out their 2021 draft picks. Let’s see how they will fare!

No.6: Trey Lance

As mentioned last week, this ranking is a tad unfair to Trey Lance. However, he did not play a snap in San Francisco‘s victory over the Eagles last Sunday. Five meaningful rookie quarterbacks will start in Week 3, and Lance may not see the field at all. He only gets mentioned here because he has played snaps in special packages as he did against the Lions in week one. However, Kyle Shanahan is not obligated to play the No.3 overall pick, so he lands in the bottom spot of the list.

No.5: Davis Mills

The first of two rookies making his NFL debut as a starter, Davis Mills subbed in for Tyrod Taylor when the elder statesman sustained an injury. With Taylor on the shelf for several weeks, Mills will step in to start. His first task is a rather daunting Carolina Panthers defense that currently leads the NFL in the scoring defense and total defense. Mills will likely not do much to change this as even the loftiest of expectations for the third-round pick fall short of even Sam Darnold and Jameis Winston, two quarterbacks victimized by Carolina in recent weeks.

Mills might toss a touchdown or two, but expect a couple of turnovers to accompany any positive plays. By proxy of being the starting quarterback for an NFL team, Mills will likely end up with around 200 passing yards as the Panthers blow out the Texans.

No.4: Zach Wilson

Even though his four-interception game against the Patriots was not entirely his fault, Zach Wilson faces yet another strong defense in Denver. Wilson and the Jets head to Mile High to face certain doom. Even with the Broncos missing Bradley Chubb, the Broncos’ defense is loaded at other positions, and they should neuter the rookie quarterback. Wilson may not throw four interceptions in a game again, but he is unlikely to look competent against a star-studded Denver defense.

Expect Wilson to have an interception or two that overshadows any potential touchdown tosses. He may end up with between 200 and 250 passing yards.

No.3: Justin Fields

The second rookie quarterback to make his starting debut this week, Justin Fields will step in for the injured Andy Dalton. Fields is still technically the backup, and it appears that Dalton will regain the starting role when he returns from injury. This is stupid by the Bears, but they think higher of Dalton than most sane individuals.

It was a brief stint as a package-specific player, but Fields struggled so far in his NFL tenure. Last week, he tossed an interception out of his 13 pass attempts in relief of Dalton.

With the Cleveland Browns on the docket for Week 3, Fields may get some gratuitous garbage time yards as the Browns pound the Bears for 60 minutes. Fields can make it on the board with a rushing touchdown, but expect his passing production to be limited to garbage time as Cleveland asserts its dominance.

No.2: Trevor Lawrence

Trevor Lawrence ends up in the No.2 spot because he has an easier matchup than the other three starters. Lawrence is going to be attacking a softer Arizona defense that just got sliced and diced by Kirk Cousins to the tune of 33 points and a heartbreaking defeat. Lawrence may make his characteristic mistakes as he has made in the first two weeks, but at least he will show the fans a good time with several air-mailed deep passes. So far, Lawrence has the highest rate of inaccurate throws in the NFL, and while it remains to be seen if that continues, it is certainly not a good omen facing a defense with the likes of Budda Baker.

For Lawrence, expect a couple of touchdowns, a couple of interceptions, and potentially up to 300 yards. While the Cardinals are a softer defense, Arizona is significantly better than Jacksonville in all phases, so much of his yardage might come in garbage time.

No.1: Mac Jones

For the second consecutive week, Mac Jones tops the list. Jones faces a New Orleans defense. New Orleans is perhaps more fierce than some other defenses on the list, they have yet to play a true home game. This tired defense allowed 26 points to Sam Darnold and the Panthers last week and will likely not be able to force any turnovers against Jones and the rather conservative Patriots‘ offense. Jones is the most likely of the quarterback to get a win this week, and he should have a fairly pedestrian stat accumulation. He may even throw a touchdown.

In terms of projections, expect Jones to throw for 200 yards and maybe add a touchdown or two while avoiding turnovers like the plague. Jones is far from being a special quarterback, but he is at least competent enough to run an NFL offense.


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Ryan Potts is an avid football and baseball fan. He covers the NFL and Major League Baseball, focusing on the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Braves.