Every Wednesday during the NFL season, USA TODAY Sports will be assessing everyone's favorite topic: the quarterbacks. Who's hot? Who's not? Who has the most exciting matchups?
Here's this week's QB Hot Sheet:
Five to watch this weekend
1. Carson Wentz, Eagles: He’ll make his first start of the season Sunday against the Colts since he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament last December. It will be fascinating to see whether he shows any signs of rust or returns to his MVP-caliber form in short order, as well as whether he’ll change his style of play to minimize his rushes and hits.
2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers: The Redskins have limited offenses to 13.5 points per game and have allowed an NFL-low 161 passing yards per game, though some of that stems from facing Sam Bradford and the struggling Cardinals in Week 1. Rodgers has said his knee sprain “could linger for a while," so his playing style bears watching.
3. Tom Brady, Patriots: New England is coming off a flop against the Jaguars that confirmed the team needed help with its receiving corps. But after swinging a trade for the talented but often-troubled Josh Gordon, Brady might have his most athletic receiver since Randy Moss. Facing the Lions, who are tied with the Bills in allowing an NFL-worst 39 points per game, should help get the passing attack back on track.
4. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs: He's now appointment television after setting an NFL record for touchdown passes (10) through the first two weeks of a season. After Week 1, we suggested he work on spreading the ball more. In his six-score outing against the Steelers, five different players hauled in a touchdown. A 49ers secondary that has been gashed might be in for a long day.
5. Russell Wilson, Seahawks: His offensive line has ceded an NFL-worst 12 sacks. The Cowboys are fresh off a six-sack showing. And, perhaps due to a thin receiving corps, Wilson looks like he’s pressing. Two fourth-quarter turnovers (including a pick-six) against the Bears were uncharacteristic. He'll have to be careful against an aggressive Dallas defense.
Three trending up
1. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins: In his last 10 starts, Tannehill is 9-1. Fully healthy after two knee injuries that sidelined him since late 2016, Tannehill is in command of coach Adam Gase’s offense. Against the aggressive Jets, he threw just six incompletions and didn’t force the ball, finishing with just 168 passing yards but also two touchdowns. Another sign that knee issues are in the past? He ran the ball eight times for 44 yards against New York.
2. Blake Bortles: Jaguars: His knock was that he doesn’t have the talent to carry a team in a big game. In a rematch of the AFC Championship Game against the Patriots, Bortles delivered with 377 yards, four touchdowns and only one interception. He stayed aggressive and took calculated risks that maintained Jacksonville’s steady lead in a huge victory.
3. Derek Carr, Raiders: He faced criticism after a Week 1 dud when he played tense in the pocket and struggled to find receiver Amari Cooper. In a tight loss to the Broncos, he was poised and misfired on only three passes for a career-best 90.6 percent completion rate. Cooper caught all 10 of his targets for 116 yards. Now the challenge is to demonstrate consistency.
Three trending down
1. Sam Bradford, Cardinals: This season, he has completed 37 passes for only 243 yards and has no touchdowns with two picks. Rookie coach Steve Wilks is sticking by Bradford, for now, but he might not for much longer with No. 10 overall pick Josh Rosen on the bench.
2. Deshaun Watson, Texans: The second-year passer had a head-scratching sequence in a loss to the Titans when he bounced around in the pocket and burned the final 17 seconds, despite Houston just needing to get in field goal range to tie. After lighting up scoreboards in an injury-shortened rookie campaign, Watson and his output (three total touchdowns against three turnovers) are key reasons for a 0-2 start.
3. Mitchell Trubisky, Bears: Unsettled in the pocket when pressured, Trubisky dumped off passes or scrambled against the Seahawks when he could have stepped up or shifted to allow receivers to get open. He flashes potential on some passes but just as easily misses his targets.
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