NFL Week 3: Trends which will decide each game

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 20: Quarterback Gardner Minshew #15 of the Jacksonville Jaguars plays against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on September 20, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

This week’s NFL slate features a half-dozen interconference match-ups.

For the first time since 2008, there are 11 NFL teams that have won their first two games. Conversely, it’s also the last time that the same amount of clubs opened the season 0-2. Six of those teams 2-0 squads would reach the postseason while three of the 0-2 clubs also went to the playoffs.

Of course, that was during the 12-team format. This year, 14 teams will be headed to the postseason. So much for those winning much-discussed winning percentages from 1990-2019.

Hence, here’s some trends to keep an eye on this week.

NOTE: All times ET

Thursday, Sept. 24

Miami Dolphins (0-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1), 8:20 pm

Dolphins: Brian Flores’ team is off to a 0-2 start for the second consecutive year, although this club has been much more competitive than the squad that opened the season a year ago. Two weeks into 2019, the Dolphins had been outscored a combined 102-10. This time around, the club has been much more competitive but has really struggled early in games. All told, the ‘Fins have scored a combined 39 points in losses to the Patriots and Bills. But the club has totaled just 16 points and one touchdown in the first three quarters, compared to 23 points and three TDs in the final quarter. The running game and rushing defense were issues in ‘19 and that has continued to date.

Jaguars: A club that has finished dead last in the AFC South the previous two seasons and a franchise that parted ways with several prominent players this offseason was thought to be in rebuilding mode. But Doug Marrone’s squad stunned the Colts in Week 1 and gave the Titans all they could handle in Nashville last Sunday. Second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew is hitting on 75.4 percent of his throws, rolling up 512 yards through the air and toss three TD passes in each of these first two games. Despite being sacked six times, he’s fumbled just once and did avoid a turnover. As a rookie, he coughed up the ball a disappointing 13 times and lost seven of those fumbles.

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