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We’re still a week away from the official “dress rehearsal” week of the NFL preseason, but there’s still a lot of watch for this weekend. How will a few rookie quarterbacks that stood out in the first week handle their follow-up showcases? There’s also last year’s Super Bowl rematch to kick things off, and perhaps the most intriguing matchup is the final game of the weekend.
What’s in store for Baker Mayfield’s second opportunity?
A majority of the headlines were on Cleveland’s new quarterback and the great play he had in the first half of his debut preseason game. He completed 11-of-20 passes for 212 yards, threw two touchdowns, and he didn’t throw a pick. For now, he certainly looks like the leading option for the Browns under center, and it should be an entertaining game against Buffalo on Friday night as the Bills look for answers at the QB position as well.
Saquon Barkley meets expectations in debut
Not to be completely outshined by Mayfield and the Browns, the New York Giants’ rookie running back looked terrific in his debut. He ran it five times for 43 yards and didn’t have any action in the air yet. Criticism has come in about how he liked to run things on the outside, so we’ll see if he’s able to change his game up in the future.
Will Alex Smith make debut in Washington?
The Redskins’ new quarterback sat out of the preseason game against New England last week, a contest that featured the Patriots scoring the final 26 points after being down 17-0. Head coach Jay Gruden wouldn’t officially commit to starting Smith in their second game against the Jets. They’ve already lost their rookie running back Derrius Guice for the rest of the season, and the team has indicated that they’ll be using their offensive playmakers minimally.
Super Bowl rematch!
Philadelphia and New England get things started in Week 2 on Thursday night. It’s the rematch of the latest Super Bowl, and even if it’s just preseason, there are some good storylines heading into it. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who filled in and bailed the team out last season should be getting some action under center after missing the opener. As for the Patriots, the starting defense looked dreadful against the Redskins last week, and we’ll see how much that improves against a stronger opponent.
Can Lamar Jackson threaten for a starting role this season?
Another rookie quarterback has also been gaining attention after a better second outing. Jackson’s still passing under 40 percent when combining his first two games (11-for-28), but he still racked up 118 passing yards and added 21 yards and a touchdown on five carries. For now, barring injury, it looks like Joe Flacco’s job is safe. It might be a bigger storyline to follow wide receiver John Brown, who is looking to be the Ravens new top target on offense. On the flipside, we’ll see Andrew Luck for a second time with the Colts, after he went 6-for-9 passing with 64 yards last week, in his first action since 2016.