There’s no shortage of intrigue in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season, especially in the quarterback position. We get to see Aaron Rodgers without Davante Adams and Patrick Mahomes without Tyreek Hill. We get to see how well Adams and Hill can make Derek Carr and Tua Tagovailoa. Hopefully we’ll get to see the start of a jump for Jalen Hurts and find out if there will be a drop-off for Tom Brady and Dak Prescott. But none of that is as intriguing to me as what we get from a pair of sophomore quarterbacks going head to head in Chicago.
Trey lance and Justin Fields have a lot in common as we go into this season. They were both selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft and they both showed brilliant flashes and also showed why their team’s plan was to sit them out in 2021. They both possess elite skills as rushers and plenty of question marks as passers-by. But there are also things that set them apart.
The lead for Lance is in his environment. He makes Kyle call Shanahan plays and he throws to Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle. Fields will be with his second play-caller in as many years, and it will be Luke Getsy’s first time playing in the NFL. Fields’ No. 1 wide receiver, Darnell Mooney, would finish third on the 49ers and Cole Kmet really doesn’t compare to George Kittle.
The lead for Fields would come in his experience. He started 10 games last year and attempted 210 passes in the NFL. Lance has started three games since 2019 and that includes one game at North Dakota State. The experiential advantage certainly extends to college. Lance threw 2,947 yards in 19 games against low-level competition. Fields threw more than 5,000 yards in 22 games at Ohio State.
In Week 1, Lance has another advantage, which is that he faces the Bears defense, while Fields has to face a much more stingy 49ers unit. Before the season, Fields may have another advantage, as Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t look over his shoulder when things go wrong.
For now I agree that Lance is the better option for both week 1 and the rest of the season. I just don’t think the gap between them is as big as most. Their Week 1 matchup will be one of the games I watch the most to see which of them looks like they can duplicate the second season of Jalen Hurts.
Let’s go to the rest of the preview:
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QB sample from week 1
Numbers to know
- 5 — In his only career start vs. the Jets, Lamar Jackson threw for a career-high five touchdowns and zero interceptions.
- 332.0 — In his past four matchups against the Vikings, Aaron Rodgers has averaged 332 passing yards per game, along with 13 touchdown passes and zero interceptions.
- 17 — Matthew Stafford tied for a league-high 17 interceptions last year, while the Bills defense forced the third most interceptions.
- 125.3 — Russell Wilson led the NFL with a passer rating of 125.3 before sustaining a finger injury in Week 5.
- 14 — In four careers starting Week 1, Patrick Mahomes is 4-0, throwing 14 touchdowns and making zero sales.
- 120 — Trey Lance rushed 120 yards in his two complete games of 2021. That rushing floor should help cover any struggles he may have as a passerby.
- 22.3 — Justin Fields averaged 22.3 Fantasy points per game in his past four complete games.
- 25.4 — The commanders gave up a league-worst 25.4 FPPG against quarterbacks last year.
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