There were no all-rookie quarterback matchups in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season because only three first-round picks started. However, it could be the beginning of a terrific AFC rivalry between promising rookie QBs on Sunday in Week 2 when Mac Jones and the New England Patriots visit Zach Wilson and the New York Jets, who opened as 4.5-point underdogs on the NFL odds.
I guess you could call the Patriots and Jets rivals simply because they play in the same division and are geographically close – plus, the whole Boston vs. New York thing (although technically neither football teams plays in one of those cities). However, it hasn't been much of a rivalry in recent years simply because when Tom Brady was around, the Pats dominated it. New England also won both meetings last year with Cam Newton under center and is on a 10-game winning streak against Gang Green.
Both Jones and Wilson are still looking for their first NFL wins. The Pats were upset 17-16 at home by Miami on Sunday. Jones was 29-for-39 for 281 yards and a score. New England outgained the Fins 393-259 and dominated time of possession but turned it over twice. The Jets lost 19-14 at Carolina. Wilson was 20-for-37 for 258 yards, two TDs and a pick while being sacked six times. Jones is a +350 favorite to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year with Wilson at +750.
The Jets should have No. 1 wideout Jamison Crowder after he missed the loss to Carolina in the COVID protocols. He was the team's leading receiver in both 2019 & '20. Crowder totaled six catches for 57 yards and a TD in the two games vs. New England.
The most important game of Week 2 is probably Kansas City at Baltimore with a potentially huge playoff tiebreaker on the line, although the Ravens are in tatters injury-wise after losing the likes of JK Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Marcus Peters for the season and first-round rookie WR Rashod Bateman out until at least Week 4. The Chiefs opened at -2.5 but that spread could change depending on what Baltimore does on Monday night in Las Vegas to close Week 1.
The Ravens haven't been home underdogs in a game that mattered since Nov. 3, 2019, against the Patriots. Baltimore won that 37-20. The Ravens were short home dogs in the 2019 regular-season finale against Pittsburgh, but Coach John Harbaugh rested nearly all of his starters with the AFC's top seed wrapped up at that point. The Ravens won anyway and are 4-1 ATS in their past five as home dogs.
For the Thursday night game, it apparently will be Taylor Heinicke under center for Washington as Ryan Fitzpatrick could miss the rest of the season with a dislocated hip suffered in Sunday's loss to the Chargers. Let the Cam Newton to Washington rumors begin.
Opening Week 2 NFL odds
- Thursday: Giants at Washington (-4)
- Saints at Panthers (+3)
- Texans at Browns (-12)
- Bengals at Bears (-3.5)
- Raiders at Steelers (-6)
- Bills at Dolphins (+3.5)
- Rams at Colts (+3)
- 49ers at Eagles (+3)
- Broncos at Jaguars (+6.5)
- Patriots at Jets (+4.5)
- Vikings at Cardinals (-4.5)
- Falcons at Bucs (-12.5)
- Titans at Seahawks (-6)
- Cowboys at Chargers (-3)
- Chiefs at Ravens (+2.5)
- Monday: Lions at Packers (-10.5)
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