Storylines for Week 3 of the NFL preseason

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The 2021 NFL preseason winds down this weekend, with all 32 NFL teams in action starting tonight. Over the next few days quarterback battles will be decided, roster spots will be won, and teams will finalize the process of trimming their rosters down through final cuts.

Here are some storylines to watch for during Week 3 of the NFL preseason.

Cam Newton or Mac Jones?

(Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)

The last time the New England Patriots suited up for a game, both Cam Newton and Mac Jones looked solid. Newton completed all but one of his passes last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, throwing for a touchdown. Jones then took over and was also efficient and operated the New England offense well. Still, if you were placing bets on the Week 1 starter after that performance, odds are you were placing them on the veteran. Then, the real world stepped into the situation. Newton was required to stay away from the team for five days due to COVID protocols, allowing Jones to get a full day in joint practices with the New York Giants as the number one quarterback. By all accounts, Jones had a great day Wednesday in that role. Newton is now back with the team, but as head coach Bill Belichick admitted this week, this was an opportunity for Jones to showcase what he can do. I would still anticipate Newton being named the starter for Week 1, but the trend does seem to be moving in Jones' direction.

Trey Lance or Jimmy Garoppolo?

(Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

The quarterback situation in New England is not the only one worth monitoring over the next few days. Kyle Shanahan has yet to make a decision about the starter in San Francisco, although both he and Jimmy Garoppolo seemed to indicate this week that they knew who that player will be. Here at Touchdown Wire we have been pretty clear in that if it were up to us, Trey Lance should get the nod. He has the athleticism and talent to unlock portions of Shanahan's playbook, pushing the 49ers' offense to new heights. Still, there are areas where he can improve, such as reading the field and getting ahead of decisions from the pocket. He'll get one more chance Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders to perhaps force Shanahan's hand.

The 2021 debut of Joe Burrow

(AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

The last time we saw Joe Burrow in an NFL game it was not a pretty sight, as the rookie quarterback was being carted off the field after suffering a knee injury against the Washington Football Team. Burrow will take to the field Sunday for the first time in ten months, as the Cincinnati Bengals host the Miami Dolphins. The miracle of modern medicine has enabled players to return from ACL tears at a lighting pace. However, there is another part of the body that needs to heal as well: The mind. Quarterbacks coming off this injury need time to rebuild confidence in the lower body, and to learn to trust that when they step up in the pocket and/or try and drive through a throw, that knee is going to hold up to the pressure. Sunday will be the first step towards Burrow finishing that part of the healing process.

The debut of D'Wayne Eskridge

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

On Saturday night Seattle Seahawks fans might finally see the debut of rookie wide receiver D'Wayne Eskridge. Eskridge recently came off the Seahawks' physically unable to perform list, and according to beat reporters he has been impressive in practice. Seattle is hoping that he can lock down that third receiver spot alongside D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Eskridge was one of last season's draft risers, thanks in large part to a standout performance down in Mobile during the Senior Bowl. As argued earlier this off-season, he could be the piece to truly unlock what the Seahawks offense could become. Seattle fans might get a quick glimpse of that potential this weekend.

The Baltimore Ravens stare down history

(Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports)

Yes, the Baltimore Ravens are on the cusp of NFL history. As pointed out last week, the Ravens have not lost a preseason game since the 2015 season, and their victory last week tied them with the 1959-1962 Green Bay Packers with 19-straight preseason wins. Standing in their way? Their "rivals" down I-95 in the Washington Football Team. Rookie running back Jaret Patterson has shined for the Football Team, but perhaps the chance to make football history pushes the Ravens over the top Saturday night.

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