4 Things We Learned from Week 3 of the 2020 NFL Season
As a football betting enthusiast, I use my weekly observations to help me make informed betting decisions going forward.
With this in mind, these are some of the lessons I learned after reviewing all of the Week 3 action.
Drew Brees Can’t Stretch the Field Vertically
Drew Brees is obviously one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL when you look at his entire body of work. This being stated, the guy is 41 years old at this point, and age has taken a toll on his arm.
The numbers that he put up against the Packers look good on the surface: 29 of 36 for 288 yards and three touchdowns. However, if you watched the game, you know that Alvin Kamara consistently turned short passes into long gains.
Brees is savvy, so he makes the most of what he still has left, but he simply does not throw the ball down the field. Even when time was running out and they needed large chunks, they settled for short and intermediate passes. You see this from Brees week after week, and it was evident last year.
New Orleans is 1-2, and admittedly, the defense has given up a lot of points over the last two weeks. Still, when your quarterback is unwilling or unable to throw the ball more than 30 yards in the air, it’s tough to be an elite team.
The Patriots Running Game Can Deliver
New England doesn’t have the greatest receiving corps, and going into Sunday’s game, the running back situation was a head-scratcher.
First, there is the James White situation. He is still taking time off after the tragic accident that took the life of his father and severely injured his mother.
When White is available, he is more of a receiving threat than a runner, and the other options are Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, and 5’6″ rookie running back J.J. Taylor. They all have different strengths, and it appears as though the Pats will be using this unpredictability to confuse their opponents.
In Sunday’s game against the Raiders, Michel registered 117 yards on nine carries, and Taylor ran the ball 11 times for 43 yards. Rex was the wonder horse on Sunday, with 49 yards on six carries with two TDs and seven catches for 49 yards and another score.
Cam Newton ran nine times (albeit with limited success), and running plays were called for three different receivers.
When you can run effectively and you have a strong defense, you can go a long way, so there is reason for optimism in New England in the first post-Brady season.
Patrick Mahomes Is Better Than Lamar Jackson
I don’t know about anybody else, but I learned that Patrick Mahomes is a much better quarterback than Lamar Jackson. Mahomes is the consummate polished professional QB with the added benefits of personal creativity, vision, field intelligence, and the ability to throw effectively at many different arm angles.
Lamar Jackson is a really, really fast guy with good instincts that can throw a football pretty well. I apologize to Jackson and his fans if this sounds dismissive, but that’s the way I see it.
If he somehow lost his blazing speed, I don’t think he would be able to play in the NFL. Of course, he does have the legs, and that makes him an elite football player in the here and now. He’s just not in the same class as Mahomes when it comes to the overall quarterback skill set.
Nick Mullens Could Create a QB Controversy in SF
Jimmy Garoppolo missed Sunday’s game with a high ankle sprain, and he was replaced by backup Nick Mullens. Unphased, the San Francisco 49ers went out and mauled the Giants in East Rutherford by a score of 36-9, and Mullens excelled.
He completed 25 of 36 passes for 343 yards and a touchdown, and he didn’t throw any interceptions. Jimmy G is still the guy and he hasn’t done anything to lose his job. At the same time, everyone knows what Garoppolo can do, and his ceiling is limited.
After seeing what Mullens accomplished in a starting role, Kyle Shanahan may be inclined to make a change at some point if he thinks it will help the team.
These are a few of my observations for this week, and now we turn the page to start handicapping next week’s games.
If you are looking for some added insight, visit our NFL betting picks where we have analyzed NFL matchups and provided pro football selections for the upcoming Week 4 four slate.