NFL Week 16: Five things to watch for

NFL Week 16: Five things to watch for

With just two weeks of regular-season play remaining, there are still plenty of playoff positions to be determined, milestones to be reached and individual performances that could wind up in the record books.

Here’s what to watch for in NFL Week 16 action:

The return of record-breaking Brady

It’s been a somewhat uneventful season for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, but that could change Sunday.

Brady ranks fifth in the league with 3,979 passing yards this season. With 21 more against the Bills, he can join Peyton Manning and Drew Brees as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to record at least 10 seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards.

Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers, who is tied for seventh in the league with 3,951 passing yards, could also join the elite company Saturday against the Ravens.

Player Team(s) Seasons with 4,000+ passing yards
Peyton Manning Indianapolis, Denver 14
Drew Brees New Orleans 12
Tom Brady New England 9*
Philip Rivers Los Angeles Chargers 9*

Baker on the rise

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is poised to keep his breakout season going.

Mayfield leads all rookies with 21 touchdown passes in 2018. If he can manage three scoring passes Sunday against the Bengals, he would surpass Andrew Luck for the second-most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era.

The most touchdown passes by a rookie selected No. 1 overall in that time:

Player Team Season Passing touchdowns
Peyton Manning Indianapolis 1998 26
Andrew Luck Indianapolis 2012 23
Jameis Winston Tampa Bay 2015 22
Baker Mayfield Cleveland 2018 21*
Cam Newton# Carolina 2011 21

#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year

Mighty McCaffrey

Carolina’s playoff hopes may be shattered, but Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has more work to do.

McCaffrey leads all running backs with 94 receptions this season, and has the opportunity to surpass Matt Forte for the most catches by a running back in a single season in NFL history if he can get nine more Sunday against the Falcons.

The rushers with the most receptions in a single season in NFL history:

Player Team Season Receptions
Matt Forte Chicago 2014 102
Larry Centers Arizona 1995 101
LaDainian Tomlinson^ San Diego 2003 100
Larry Centers Arizona 1996 99
Chrstian McCaffrey Carolina 2018 94*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Saquon can do it all

Giants running back Saquon Barkley is on the verge of yet another record, but it’s not on the ground.

Barkley leads all rookies with 82 receptions. With seven more at Indianapolis on Sunday, he can surpass Reggie Bush for the most catches by a rookie rusher in league annals.

The rookie running backs with the most receptions in a season:

Player Team Season Receptions
Reggie Bush New Orleans 2006 88
Earl Cooper San Francisco 1980 83
Saquon Barkley New York Giants 2018 82*

Kelce’s career season

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has more than the AFC West division title riding on his performance this week.

Kelce leads all tight ends with a career-high 1,220 receiving yards in 2018, and can surpass Rob Gronkowski for the most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season in NFL history if he can manage 108 more Sunday night against the Seahawks.

The tight ends with the most receiving yards in a single season in NFL history:

Player Team Season Receiving yards
Rob Gronkowski New England 2011 1,327
Jimmy Graham New Orleans 2011 1,310
Kellen Winslow^ San Diego 1980 1,290
Tony Gonzalez Kansas City 2004 1,258
Todd Christensen Los Angeles Raiders 1983 1,247
Travis Kelce Kansas City 2018 1,220*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer