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Cam Newton vs. Mac Jones: How QB battle looks after Week 3 preseason game

We take a look at how Patriots QBs Cam Newton and Mac Jones looked in Week 3 of the NFL preseason and how the depth chart battle is trending.

NFL: New England Patriots at New York Giants
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton throws the ball during the first quarter as New York Giants linebacker Lorenzo Carter pass rushes at MetLife Stadium.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots might be rolling with Cam Newton again in 2021 after a rocky 2020 season, but there’s reason for excitement in Foxborough with rookie Mac Jones in the fold. The Patriots haven’t officially named a starter for Week 1, meaning the competition between Newton and Jones is on. Here’s how the guys fared in Week 3 of the preseason against the New York Giants.

Week 3 preseason reps, stats

Cam Newton: 2/5, 10 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

Mac Jones: 10/14, 156 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT

Who has the edge in the QB battle entering the 2021 NFL regular season?

The interception was unfortunate for Newton, but he was not as bad as his numbers suggest. The quarterback finished the preseason with a 66 percent completion rate. That’s about in line with Newton’s completion percentage last season. The former MVP did not record any carries, likely due to the Patriots wanting to avoid injury.

Jones looked good, going mostly against New York’s first-team defense while having backups on his own squad. The rookie showed good awareness and found his receivers in spots where they could add yards after the catch. In the second half, he came out firing against the Giants’ backups and really showed his potential as a franchise quarterback.

It appears Newton is the preferred starter based on preseason workload, but Jones is not far behind. The Patriots are likely to roll with the veteran early on, but don’t be shocked if they pivot to Jones later in the season based on playoff positioning and record.