NFL Week 13: What to watch for

NFL Week 13: What to watch for

The NFL season is turning for the home stretch, with plenty of playoff positions to be determined, milestones to be hit and individual performances that could wind up in the record books.

Here’s what to watch for in NFL Week 13:

In the Hunt

With five weeks remaining in the regular season, there are 20 teams in playoff position or within one game of playoff position, including 11 that did not advance to the postseason in 2017.

Since 2004, 12 teams under .500 through 11 games have advanced to the postseason. Entering Week 13, five teams with losing records through 11 games — the Bengals (5-6), Broncos (5-6), Dolphins (5-6), Eagles (5-6) and Titans (5-6) — are within one game of playoff position.

The teams to qualify for the postseason losing records after 11 games since 2004:

Team Year W-L
St. Louis Rams 2004 5-6
Washington Redskins    2005 5-6
Philadelphia Eagles 2006 5-6
Washington Redskins 2007 5-6
San Diego Chargers 2008 4-7
New York Jets 2009 5-6
Seattle Seahawks 2010 5-6
Washington Redskins 2012 5-6
San Diego Chargers 2013 5-6
Carolina Panthers 2014 3-7-1
Washington Redskins 2015 5-6
Green Bay Packers 2016 5-6

Touchdown Tom

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has 578 touchdown passes (507 regular-season touchdowns and a league-record 71 postseason touchdowns) in his 19-year NFL career.

If he throws two touchdown passes against the Vikings (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox) on Sunday, Brady would surpass Peyton Manning (579 touchdowns) for the most passing TDs in NFL history (including the postseason) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre (508) for the third-most regular-season touchdown passes in league annals.

The players with the most passing yards and touchdown passes, including the postseason, in NFL history:

Player Team(s) TDs
Peyton Manning    Colts, Broncos 579
Tom Brady Patriots 578

The players with the most regular-season touchdown passes in NFL history:

Player Team(s) TDs
Peyton Manning    Colts, Broncos 539
Drew Brees Chargers, Saints 517
Brett Favre^ Packers, Jets, Vikings    508
Tom Brady Patriots 507

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Keep it Breesy

Saints quarterback Drew Brees leads the NFC with 29 touchdown passes this season.

With a touchdown pass on Thursday at Dallas (8:20 p.m. ET, ox/NFL Network/Amazon), Brees can become the first player in NFL history to record at least 30 touchdown passes in 10 different seasons.

The players with the most seasons with at least 30 touchdown passes in NFL history:

Player Team(s) 30-TD Yrs
Drew Brees Saints 9*
Brett Favre^ Packers, Vikings 9
Peyton Manning Colts, Broncos 9

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Has 29 touchdown passes in 2018

Kansas City Shuffle

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, 23, ranks third in the league with 3,628 passing yards, while wide receiver Tyreek Hill, 24, ranks third in the NFL with 1,106 receiving yards. Running back Kareem Hunt, 23, ranks fifth in rushing yards (824) this season.

With 176 rushing yards by Hunt, the Chiefs would join the 1996 Patriots as the only teams to have a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver all 24 or younger in a single season since 1970.

The ’96 Patriots: QB Drew Bledsoe, 24, had 4,086 passing yards; RB Curtis Martin^, 23, had 1,152 rushing yards and WR Terry Glenn, 22, had 1,132 receiving yards.

Baking with Baker

Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield completed 19 of 26 passes (73.1 percent) for 258 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 143.9 passer rating in his team’s 35-20 victory at Cincinnati last week. Mayfield recorded a 151.2 passer rating in Week 10 and had a bye in Week 11.

Mayfield, who plays at Houston (1 p.m. ET, CBS) Sunday, can join Aaron Rodgers (Weeks 7, 9-10 in 2011) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (Weeks 3-5 in 1999) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to record a passer rating of 140 or higher in three consecutive games (minimum 20 attempts). Both Rodgers and Warner were named Associated Press MVP in those seasons.

Ryan’s 11

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan leads the NFL with 3,683 passing yards this season and has passed for 45,479 yards in 11 NFL seasons.

With 150 passing yards on Sunday against Baltimore (1 p.m. ET, CBS), Ryan can surpass Peyton Manning (45,628) for the most passing yards by a player in his first 11 seasons in the NFL.

1,400 for Julio

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones leads the league with 1,305 receiving yards and has had at least 1,400 receiving yards in each of the past four seasons.

With 95 receiving yards on Sunday against the Ravens (1 p.m. ET, CBS), Jones can become the first player in NFL history to have at least 1,400 receiving yards in five consecutive seasons, breaking out of a tie with the Colts’ Marvin Harrison (1999-2002).

Thielen mighty fine

Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen leads the league with 93 receptions this season.

With seven catches against the Patriots (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox), Thielen can join Rod Smith and Wes Welker as the only undrafted players to record at least 100 receptions in a single season in the common draft era.

Undrafted players with at least 100 receptions in a single season since 1966:

Player Team Season Receptions
Wes Welker Patriots 2009 123
Wes Welker Patriots 2011 122
Wes Welker Patriots 2012 118
Rod Smith Broncos 2001 113
Wes Welker Patriots 2007 112
Wes Welker Patriots 2008 111
Rod Smith Broncos 2000 100
Adam Thielen Vikings 2018 93*

*Entering Week 13

Cooking with Brandin

Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks leads the team with 964 receiving yards this season.

Cooks, who had 1,173 receiving yards with the Saints in 2016 and 1,082 with the Patriots in 2017, needs 36 receiving yards Sunday against the Lions (1 p.m. ET, Fox) to become the first player in NFL history to have at least 1,000 receiving yards with three different teams in three consecutive seasons.

With 36 receiving yards, Cooks can also become the sixth player in league history to record at least 1,000 receiving yards in a single season for three different franchises during his career.

The players to record 1,000-yard receiving seasons for three or more teams in NFL history:

Player No. Teams
Brandon Marshall 4 Broncos, Dolphins, Bears, Jets
Irving Fryar 3 Patriots, Dolphins, Eagles
Tony Martin 3 Chargers, Falcons, Dolphins
Randy Moss^ 3 Vikings, Raiders, Patriots
Terrell Owens^ 3 49ers, Eagles, Cowboys
Brandin Cooks 2* Saints, Patriots

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Has 964 receiving yards with the Rams in 2018