The second week of the 2021 NFL season is nearly in the books. We have a fun one in Green Bay tonight, but more on that in a minute. First, it’s time to take a minute and look back at what we learned from the second Sunday of the NFL’s regular season. Below are my three key takeaways from Week 2 so far.
There’s A Learning Curve For The Rookies
This shouldn’t be news, but we’ve seen some great quarterbacks roll out and look poised the last few years. The 2021 NFL Draft produced a celebrated set of First Round quarterbacks selected and we’ve seen many of them play significant minutes. Mac Jones has looked steady but hasn’t lit the world on fire. He’s the only rookie QB to have started a game and gotten a win. Trevor Lawrence, the No. 2 overall pick, has five interceptions in two games. He was up-and-down in Week 1 against the Texans but struggled at times in Week 2 against Denver. He got a big touchdown pass on the opening drive but after that struggled to find receivers, threw a pair of interceptions and finished with a sub-.500 completion percentage. Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick, looked awful in his home debut against the Patriots. He threw for 210 yards but took four sacks and threw four interceptions without a touchdown. Even Justin Fields, who played the entire second half after Andy Dalton went out, struggled. He played seven series and got seven first downs. The Bears held on to win, largely thanks to the defense, but Fields struggled, going 6-for-13 for 60 yards. He may get his first start next Sunday against the Browns. This group of rookie quarterbacks is talented with potential but it’s clear after two weeks there will be some growing pains.
Jimmy G. Might Be The Answer in San Francisco
Speaking of rookie QBs, much was made of the 49ers trading up to select Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick. There have been a number of questions about when Lance was going to take over. But the 49ers are 2-0 with Jimmy Garoppolo looking like the quarterback who led the 49ers to a Super Bowl following the 2019 season. He threw for 300-plus yards as the team put up 41 points in Detroit to open the season and followed that up with a solid day in Philadelphia, throwing for a touchdown and rushing for another in a 17-11 win. Lance has seen the field in both games, but it’s Jimmy G. carrying the load as the 49ers are undefeated in the tough NFC West.
The Deshaun Watson Question Isn’t Going Away
Watson was a healthy scratch for the second week in a row but there will be plenty of intrigue heading into Week 3 of the NFL Season. Tyrod Taylor was hurt in Week 2, pulling up lame with a hamstring injury. Rookie Davis Mills finished the game but with the Texans playing on Thursday night it seems doubtful Tyrod will be a go. Will the Texans consider Watson as a starter? Will he be at least active with Tyrod likely to miss? Then there’s the Miami question, again. Tua Tagovailoa was injured early and didn’t return. The Dolphins were blown out, 35-0. If Tua can’t go, do the Dolphins roll with Jacoby Brissett? Or do they once again consider a monster deal to bring Watson to South Florida? It’s going to be an interesting couple of days.
And now, let’s look at tonight’s matchup between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers.
Monday Night Preview
The Lions and Packers both roll into Monday Night Football 0-1. In the case of Detroit, it wasn’t unexpected. The Lions hosted the 49ers in Week 1 and the 49ers put up 41 points. But Jared Goff and the Lions made it fun, scoring 33 points to make it a game. They roll into this game without Jeff Okudah, meaning that secondary will be stretched thin. But the offense showed in Week 1 they could be fun to watch, if nothing else.
The Packers, meanwhile, rolled into Jacksonville, Florida last Sunday to battle the Saints. Most expected the game to be a blowout—one the Packers would control. But it didn’t happen. The Saints played them off the field in a 38-3 loss. It seems likely the Packers will come into Monday’s game looking for some measure of revenge.
Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones and Davante Adams all looked flat and failed to produce Week 1. I suspect that won’t be the case tonight. I’m starting all three and have all three decently high in my rankings. For the Lions, D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams are tearing it up in the backfield and in the passing game, while T.J. Hockenson looks like one of the bet tight ends in the game. I expect all three to be decent starts this week.
Hopefully it will be a fun game, but I think the Packers will get the win and get back on track.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.