NFL Week 17 predictions, game notes and more with 8 playoff berths open & 24 teams still in contention

NFL Week 17 predictions, game notes and more with 8 playoff berths open & 24 teams still in contention

By Vince Ferrara / @VinceSports

Below are my NFL Week 17 predictions, straight-up and against the spread. You’ll also see the full schedule of games and some tremendous notes on the games, teams and players provided by NFL Communications.

Listen to The NFL Report with John Wilkerson and two rotating Sports Animal hosts, including myself, every Sunday, 10am to 12:30pm ET on 99.1 The Sports Animal here in Knoxville and streaming here at 991TheSportsAnimal.com, the WNML app or on your smart speakers.

Week 16 Straight-Up Record: 13-3 (82%)
Week 16 Against The Spread Record: 11-5 (69%)

2021 Season Straight-Up: 143-83 (63%)
2021 Season Against The Spread: 125-101 (55%)
2020 Season Prediction Record Straight-Up: 181-88 (67%)

An image from December 8, 2019 regular season home game against the Detroit Lions. The Vikings won 37-30.

NFL ANNOUNCES SCHEDULE UPDATES FOR WEEK 17

The NFL announced today an updated schedule for Week 17.

On Sunday, January 2:

  • The Los Angeles Rams-Baltimore game has moved to 1:00 PM ET and remains on FOX.
  • The Carolina-New Orleans game has moved to 4:25 PM ET and remains on FOX.

The following is the updated Week 17 schedule (all times ET):

Sunday, January 2Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore
V-Picks: Rams -5.5; Los Angeles wins
FOX1:00
 Atlanta at Buffalo
V-Picks: Falcons +14.5; Buffalo wins
FOX1:00
New York Giants at Chicago
V-Picks: Bears -6.5; Chicago wins
CBS1:00
Kansas City at Cincinnati
V-Picks: Bengals +4.5; Cincinnati wins
CBS1:00
Las Vegas at Indianapolis
V-Picks: Colts -7.5; Indianapolis wins
FOX1:00
Jacksonville at New England
V-Picks: Patriots -16.5; New England wins
CBS1:00
Tampa Bay at New York Jets
V-Picks: Buccaneers -13.5; Tampa Bay wins
FOX1:00
Miami at Tennessee
V-Picks: Titans -3.5; Tennessee wins
CBS1:00
Philadelphia at Washington
V-Picks: Eagles -4.5; Philadelphia wins
FOX1:00
Denver at Los Angeles Chargers
V-Picks: Chargers -7.5; Los Angeles wins
CBS4:05
Houston at San Francisco
V-Picks: 49ers -12.5; San Francisco wins
CBS4:05
Arizona at Dallas
V-Picks: Cowboys -6; Dallas wins
FOX4:25
 Carolina at New Orleans
V-Picks: Saints -6.5; New Orleans wins
FOX4:25
Detroit at Seattle
V-Picks: Lions +7.5; Detroit wins
FOX4:25
Minnesota at Green Bay
V-Picks: Packers -13; Green Bay wins
NBC8:20
Monday, January 3Cleveland at Pittsburgh
V-Picks: Steelers +3.5; Pittsburgh wins
ESPN8:15

NFL RINGS IN WEEK 17 WITH 24 TEAMS STILL IN CONTENTION FOR SUPER BOWL LVI

Six down, eight to go.

Eight playoff berths remain up for grabs and 24 teams enter Week 17 still in contention for Super Bowl LVI. It’s the most teams remaining in contention with two weeks to play in 15 years, tying the 2006 season. Six teams have reached the postseason:

  • The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS won their sixth consecutive AFC West title.
  • The DALLAS COWBOYS locked down the NFC East for the first time since 2018.
  • The GREEN BAY PACKERS clinched their third straight NFC North title.
  • The TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS clinched the NFC South division title for the first time since 2007 and will look to become the first team since the 2003-04 Patriots (Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX) to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
  • The ARIZONA CARDINALS secured their first playoff berth since 2015.
  • The LOS ANGELES RAMS punched their playoff ticket for the fourth time in the past five seasons.

In the AFC, six of seven playoff berths remain underdetermined. In the NFC, six teams are fighting for the final two playoff invitations.

The race for the playoffs continues on Sunday.

DATELINE PAUL BROWN STADIUM: The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-4), who own the league’s longest active winning streak (eight), are in the driver’s seat for the AFC’s only first-round bye. The CINCINNATI BENGALS (9-6) are looking to nail down their first playoff berth and AFC North division title since 2015. Those teams clash on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS).

  • The Bengals are in first place after finishing last in the AFC North in 2020. In 16 of the past 18 seasons, at least one NFL team has finished in first place the season after finishing in last or tied for last.
  • Last week, Cincinnati quarterback JOE BURROW passed for 525 yards – the fourth most in a game all-time – with four touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 143.2 rating.

The players with the most passing yards in a game in NFL history:

PLAYERDATEPASSING YARDS
Norm Van BrocklinHOFSept. 28, 1951554
Warren MoonHOFDec. 16, 1990527
Matt SchaubNov. 18, 2012527
Joe BurrowDec. 26, 2021525
  • Burrow now has three career games with at least 400 passing yards and three touchdown passes, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO as the only quarterbacks with three such games in their first two career seasons all-time. Plus, Burrow registered his 10th career game with at least 300 passing yards since entering the league as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft; he is the fourth quarterback in NFL history to have 10-or-more games with at least 300 passing yards in his first two seasons, joining JUSTIN HERBERT (16 games with at least 300 passing yards), PATRICK MAHOMES (10) and Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (10).
  • The 2021 Bengals are the first team in NFL history with a 4,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers all under the age of 26. Burrow, 25, has 4,165 passing yards and running back JOE MIXON, 25, has 1,159 rushing yards, while wide receivers JA’MARR CHASE, 21, and TEE HIGGINS, 22, have 1,163 and 1,029 receiving yards, respectively.
  • Chase and Higgins also make the 2021 Bengals the first team ever with two players under the age of 23 with at least 1,000 receiving yards in the same season.
  • Bengals defensive end TREY HENDRICKSON, who has a career-high 14 sacks this season, became the second player since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, to register at least half of a sack in 11 consecutive games within a single season, joining CHRIS JONES (11 consecutive games from Oct. 7, 2018, to Dec. 23, 2018).
  • Chiefs quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES has won at least 11 games as a starting quarterback for a fourth straight season. 
  • The Chiefs, who close the regular season with a pair of road games, have won a sixth consecutive AFC West title, one of the longest stretches of division championships since the inception of the AFC and NFC in 1970.

The teams with the most consecutive division titles since 1970:

TEAMYEARSSTREAK
New England Patriots2009-1911
Los Angeles Rams1973-797
Kansas City Chiefs2016-216
Pittsburgh Steelers1974-796
Minnesota Vikings1973-786

COWBOYS LATEST TO WEAR NFC EAST CROWN: While the Chiefs have dominated the AFC West, the NFC East has seen a new division champion in 17 consecutive years, the longest streak without a repeat division winner in NFL history. The DALLAS COWBOYS (11-4), who clinched the division last week, prepare to host the ARIZONA CARDINALS (10-5), who own the league’s best road record (7-1). The teams clash at AT&T Stadium on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, FOX).

  • The Cowboys lead the NFL in scoring offense (30.5 points per game) and takeaways (33). Only five NFL teams have led the league in each category since 1970: Carolina in 2015, Green Bay in 2011, Washington in 1983, Buffalo in 1975 and Dallas in 1971.  
  • The Cowboys’ 56 points last week were their most since scoring 59 in a victory over San Francisco in 1980.
  • On defense, Dallas linebacker MICAH PARSONS leads NFL rookies with 13 sacks while teammate TREVON DIGGS leads all NFL players with 11 interceptions.
  • Dallas is the first team in NFL history to have a player with more than 10 interceptions and a player with more than 10 sacks in the same season.
  • Diggs’ 11 interceptions are the most by any NFL player in a season since EVERSON WALLS also had 11 in 1981. Diggs enters Week 17 two shy of tying the single-season league record.

The players with the most interceptions in a single season in the Super Bowl era:

PLAYERTEAMSEASONINTERCEPTIONS
Lester HayesOakland Raiders198013
Mike ReinfeldtHouston Oilers197912
Emmitt ThomasHOFKansas City197412
Trevon DiggsDallas202111
Everson WallsDallas198111
Mel BlountHOFPittsburgh197511
Bill BradleyPhiladelphia197111

ALL-AROUND EXCELLENCE: In each season, the rich history of the NFL has been dotted by individuals performing at exceptional levels in assorted areas of play. But never before have so many players performed at those exceptional levels across all areas of play.

In the same season, this is the first time in NFL history in which an individual has reached each of these landmarks:

  • 1,600 rushing yards – Indianapolis’ JONATHAN TAYLOR (1,626)
  • 4,500 passing yards – Tampa Bay’s TOM BRADY (4,580)
  • 1,600 receiving yards – The Los Angeles Rams’ COOPER KUPP (1,734)
  • 16 sacks – Pittsburgh’s T.J. WATT (17.5) and Chicago’s ROBERT QUINN (17)
  • 10 interceptions – Dallas’ TREVON DIGGS (11)
  • 50-yard gross punting average – Las Vegas’ AJ COLE (50.3)
  • 135 points – New England’s NICK FOLK (136) and the Los Angeles Rams’ MATT GAY (136)

Taylor leads the INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (9-6) into a key intraconference battle against the LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (8-7) on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium (1:00 PM ET, FOX).

  • Taylor (1,626) needs 84 rushing yards to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer EDGERRIN JAMES (1,709 in 2000) for the franchise’s single-season rushing record.
  • Taylor – who turns 23 on Jan. 19 – leads the league with 1,962 scrimmage yards and 19 scrimmage touchdowns and can become the first player under the age of 23 with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards and 20 touchdowns in a single season all-time.
  • Indianapolis has won nine of its last 12 games, after opening the season 0-3. One of the most significant factors in that rebound has been points off turnovers. The Colts have turned 31 takeaways into 115 points, the most such points in the NFL.

FINAL INTERCONFERENCE GAMES THIS WEEK: In each of the past eight seasons (2013-20), the best interconference record has changed hands between the AFC and NFC. Last season, the AFC finished with the better record in interconference play (35-28-1) while the NFC held the advantage in 2019 (33-31).

This week marks the final 2021 interconference games until Super Bowl LVI. Next week, the regular season will conclude on Saturday, Jan. 8, and Sunday, Jan. 9. For the 12th consecutive year, all 16 games scheduled for the final week of the season are division contests, enhancing the potential for more games with playoff ramifications.

The interconference tally entering Week 17 stands at 38-37-1, in favor of the AFC.

One of those interconference battles this week has the ATLANTA FALCONS (7-8) traveling to meet the BUFFALO BILLS (9-6) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX). Each team is 3-1 this season against the other conference.

  • In last week’s win, Buffalo quarterback JOSH ALLEN passed for 314 yards and three touchdowns with a 104.4 rating and added 64 rushing yards. Allen, who has 101 touchdown passes and 29 rushing touchdowns since entering the NFL in 2018, is the first player with at least 100 touchdown passes and 20 rushing touchdowns in his first four seasons in NFL history.
  • Allen also has five career games with at least 300 passing yards and 50 rushing yards, surpassing MICHAEL VICK (four games) and RUSSELL WILSON (four) for the second-most such games all-time. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer STEVE YOUNG (eight games) has more.
  • Meanwhile last week, Atlanta rookie tight end KYLE PITTS registered six receptions for 102 yards in the Falcons’  win. Pitts has 949 receiving yards this season and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer MIKE DITKA (1,076 receiving yards in 1961) as the only rookie tight ends in NFL history with at least 900 receiving yards.
  • Pitts also has 64 receptions in 2021 and is the fourth rookie tight end all-time with at least 60 receptions, joining KEITH JACKSON (81 receptions in 1988), JEREMY SHOCKEY (74 in 2002) and EVAN ENGRAM (64 in 2017).
  • Pitts, who recorded 119 receiving yards in Week 5 and 163 receiving yards in Week 7, is the third rookie tight end in league history with 100 receiving yards in at least three games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer MIKE DITKA (five games in 1961) and CHARLE YOUNG (four games in 1973).

KUPP EYES ELUSIVE RECEIVING TRIPLE CROWN: When the LOS ANGELES RAMS (11-4) make the cross-country trek to face the BALTIMORE RAVENS (8-7) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Rams wide receiver COOPER KUPP can progress toward one of the game’s more remarkable achievements.

  • Kupp leads the NFL in receptions (132), receiving yards (1,734) and receiving touchdowns (14). Since the 1970 league merger, only three players have finished a season leading the NFL in all three categories: Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (1990), STERLING SHARPE (1992) and STEVE SMITH (2005).
  • Kupp’s 132 receptions are fifth on the league’s all-time single-season list. Only MICHAEL THOMAS (149 in 2019), Pro Football Hall of Famer MARVIN HARRISON (143 in 2002), ANTONIO BROWN (136 in 2015) and JULIO JONES (136 in 2015) had more.
  • What’s more, Kupp has at least 90 receiving yards in 14 games this season and has surpassed ANTONIO BROWN (13 games in 2014) and Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL IRVIN (13 in 1995) for the most such games in a season all-time.
  • Meanwhile, Baltimore tight end MARK ANDREWS recorded eight receptions for 125 yards and one touchdown last week. Andrews, who had 115 receiving yards with one touchdown in Week 14 and 136 receiving yards and two touchdowns in Week 15, is the second tight end in NFL history to record at least 100 receiving yards and one touchdown reception in three consecutive games, joining JIMMY GRAHAM (Weeks 2-4, 2013).

BRADY IN THE BIG APPLE: Quarterback TOM BRADY is 17-4 in his career in combined starts at Giants Stadium and MetLife Stadium. He makes another trip to the New York area when the TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (11-4) meet the NEW YORK JETS (4-11) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX).

  • Brady and Jets rookie quarterback ZACH WILSON were each born on Aug. 3, although their birthdays are 22 years apart.
  • Brady leads the league with 4,580 passing yards and 37 touchdown passes. With three touchdown passes, he would join AARON RODGERS as the only players with three career seasons of 40-or-more touchdown passes in league annals and join DREW BREES (2011-12) as the only players with at least 40 touchdown passes in consecutive seasons all-time.
  • In last week’s win, Wilson registered a 52-yard rushing touchdown and became the fourth rookie quarterback since 1950 to record a rushing touchdown of at least 50 yards, joining MARCUS MARIOTA (87-yard run on Dec. 6, 2015), ROBERT GRIFFIN III (76-yard run on Oct. 14, 2012) and Pro Football Hall of Famer FRAN TARKENTON (52-yard run on Nov. 5, 1961).
  • Also last week, Tampa Bay wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN registered 10 receptions for 101 yards. Brown has 23 career games with at least 10 receptions, surpassing ANDRE JOHNSON (22 games) for the most games with at least 10 receptions in NFL history.

MIAMI REBOUND IS UNPRECEDENTED: Hope springs eternal in the NFL. The latest example is the MIAMI DOLPHINS (8-7), who last week became the first team in league history to win seven straight games and lose seven straight games in the same season.

  • This week, in a potential preview of an AFC Wild Card game, the Dolphins visit the TENNESSEE TITANS (10-5) on Sunday at Nissan Stadium (1:00 PM ET, CBS).
  • Since BRIAN FLORES became Dolphins head coach in 2019, Miami is 19-7 (.731) in games played in November, December and January. Only two other teams since the beginning of 2019 have better regular-season winning percentages during those months: Kansas City (23-2, .920) and Green Bay (19-6, .760).
  • Dolphins quarterback TUA TAGOVAILOA leads qualifying players in completion percentage (70.1) this season.
  • In last week’s win, Titans wide receiver A.J. BROWN had 145 receiving yards and one touchdown on a career-high 11 receptions.

ROOKIES CATCHING HISTORY: Detroit rookie wide receiver AMON-RA ST. BROWN, whose DETROIT LIONS (2-12-1) travel to face the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (5-10) on Sunday at Lumen Field (4:25 PM ET, FOX), had nine receptions for 91 yards and one touchdown last week. Miami rookie wide receiver JAYLEN WADDLE recorded 10 receptions for 92 yards and one touchdown in the Dolphins’ Week 16 victory.

  • Waddle has 96 receptions this season, second-most by a rookie in NFL history. Waddle needs six catches on Sunday to break the NFL’s single-season rookie record, established by ANQUAN BOLDIN (101) in 2003.
  • St. Brown and Waddle are the third and fourth rookies all-time with at least eight receptions and a touchdown catch in three-or-more games, joining ODELL BECKHAM JR. (five games in 2014) and ANQUAN BOLDIN (four games in 2003).
  • Waddle and St. Brown also each have at least eight receptions in four consecutive games, joining ODELL BECKHAM JR. (four consecutive games in 2014) as the only rookies with at least eight receptions in four consecutive games all-time.

NEMESIS OF THE NFC NORTH: The GREEN BAY PACKERS (12-3) host the MINNESOTA VIKINGS (7-8) on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC). Over their last 25 regular-season games, the Packers are 0-2 against the Vikings and 20-3 against the rest of the NFL.

  • Green Bay enters with a streak of 31 wins when leading in turnover ratio. The next-closest active streak belongs to Tampa Bay, which brings a 19-game stretch into Week 17.
  • Packers quarterback AARON RODGERS threw three touchdown passes in last week’s win to break a tie with Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (442) for the most in Packers history. Rodgers now has 445 career touchdown passes, the fifth-most in NFL history. Favre, who finished his career with 508, ranks fourth on the NFL’s all-time list.
  • Green Bay wide receiver DAVANTE ADAMS had 10 catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win. Adams now has nine career games with at least 10 receptions and two-or-more receiving touchdowns, the most by an NFL player all-time.
  • Adams has a touchdown reception in 11 consecutive Sunday Night Football games, the longest such streak ever.
  • Last week, Minnesota wide receiver JUSTIN JEFFERSON had eight receptions for 116 yards. Jefferson has 2,851 receiving yards since entering the NFL in 2020 and surpassed ODELL BECKHAM JR. (2,755) for the most receiving yards by a player in his first two seasons in NFL history.

ROOKIE QUARTERBACKS SQUARE OFF IN NEW ENGLAND, BAY AREA: Rookie quarterback TREY LANCE could make his second career start when the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (8-7) host fellow rookie DAVIS MILLS and the HOUSTON TEXANS (4-11) on Sunday (4:05 PM ET, CBS). It’s one of two games on the Week 17 docket expected to feature rookie starting quarterbacks on opposite sidelines.

  • The Texans, who entered last week with a record of 3-11, earned a win over the Chargers (8-6 entering Week 16). It marked the 12th game won by a team over an opponent with at least four more victories this season, tied for the fifth-most through Week 16 in league annals.
  • Mills completed 21 of 27 attempts (77.8 percent) for 254 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions for a 130.6 rating in the victory. Mills, who passed for 312 yards with three touchdowns and a 141.7 rating in Week 5, is the third rookie quarterback all-time with at least 250 passing yards, two touchdown passes and a rating of 130-or-higher in multiple games, joining ROBERT GRIFFIN III (2012) and JUSTIN HERBERT (2020).

Earlier on Sunday, the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-13) meet the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-6) at Gillette Stadium (1:00 PM ET, CBS), in a faceoff of first-round selections in the 2021 NFL Draft. Jacksonville’s TREVOR LAWRENCE led his Clemson team to the College Football Playoff National Championship to finish the 2018 season, while New England’s MAC JONES guided Alabama to the title last season.

THICK SIXES: In Week 16, NFL teams designed plays that produced three touchdowns by offensive tackles: Philadelphia’s LANE JOHNSON caught a 5-yard pass from JALEN HURTS, the Jets’ CONOR MCDERMOTT scored on a 1-yard pass from ZACH WILSON and the Cowboys’ TERENCE STEELE hauled in a 1-yard reception from DAK PRESCOTT. Since the 1970 league merger, the most offensive linemen to score touchdowns on designed plays in one week had been two. Johnson, Hurts and the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-7) go on the road to face the WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (6-9) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX).

CONSISTENT WINNERS IN THE AFC: The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-4) – who clinched their sixth-consecutive AFC West division title – have a winning record in each of their nine seasons under head coach ANDY REID, including at least 12 wins in each of the previous three seasons.

With a win on Sunday against Cincinnati (1:00 PM ET, CBS), the Chiefs would become the fifth team in NFL history to record at least 12 victories in four consecutive seasons.

The teams with the most consecutive seasons with at least 12 wins in NFL history:

TEAMCONSECUTIVE SEASONS WITH 12+ WINS
New England Patriots8 (2010-17)
Indianapolis Colts7 (2003-09)
Denver Broncos4 (2012-15)
Dallas Cowboys4 (1992-95)
  
Kansas City Chiefs3* (2018-20)
*Active streak

The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-6), who enter Week 17 as the No. 6 seed in the AFC and are looking to return to the playoffs after missing the postseason in 2020, have won at least 10 games in 18 of their 22 seasons under head coach BILL BELICHICK.

Belichick, who also won 11 games as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 1994, can become the second head coach all-time with 20 seasons of 10-or-more wins, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer DON SHULA (20 seasons).

The head coaches with the most seasons with at least 10 wins in NFL history:

HEAD COACHTEAM(S)SEASONS WITH 10+ WINS
Don ShulaHOFBaltimore Colts, Miami20
Bill BelichickCleveland, New England19*
Tom LandryHOFDallas16
Andy ReidPhiladelphia, Kansas City16
*Has nine wins in 2021

The PITTSBURGH STEELERS (7-7-1) have finished with a .500-or-better winning percentage in 17 consecutive seasons, including each of their previous 14 years, since MIKE TOMLIN became head coach in 2007.
With one more victory this season, the Steelers can surpass the 1957-73 CLEVELAND BROWNS (17 consecutive seasons) for the third-longest streak of seasons with a .500-or-better winning percentage in league annals.

The teams with the most consecutive seasons finishing with a .500-or-better record in NFL history:

TEAMCONSECUTIVE .500-OR-BETTER SEASONS
Dallas Cowboys21 (1965-85)
New England Patriots19 (2001-19)
Cleveland Browns17 (1957-73)
Pittsburgh Steelers17* (2004-20)
*Active streak

— NFL —

MAHOMES MAGIC: Since taking over as the Kansas City starting quarterback in 2018, PATRICK MAHOMES has led the Chiefs to four-consecutive division titles. This season, he ranks tied for fourth in the league with 33 touchdown passes and fifth with 4,310 passing yards and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING as the only quarterbacks ever with at least 4,000 passing yards in four of their first five seasons.

With at least 190 passing yards on at Cincinnati on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Mahomes will join MATTHEW STAFFORD as the only quarterbacks ever with at least 4,500 passing yards in three of their first five seasons.  

Additionally, Mahomes needs two touchdown passes to become the first quarterback in NFL history with at least 35 touchdown passes in three of his first five seasons.

Mahomes has totaled 147 touchdown passes in 61 career games. With three touchdown passes on Sunday, Mahomes will tie Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (62 games) as the fastest player to reach 150 career touchdown passes in NFL history.

The players to reach 150 touchdown passes in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMGAMES 
Dan MarinoHOFMiami62 
Aaron RodgersGreen Bay76 
Andrew LuckIndianapolis77 
    
Patrick MahomesKansas City61* 
*Has 147 touchdown passes in 61 games  

— NFL —

GO PACK GO: Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS enters Week 17 with 3,689 passing yards and 33 touchdown passes this season and can become the sixth player ever to record at least 4,000 passing yards in 10 different seasons.  

Since Week 11, Rodgers has recorded 16 touchdown passes with zero interceptions and has recorded at least two touchdown passes in each of the five games during that span.

Against Minnesota on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Rodgers can become the third player ever with at least two touchdown passes and no interceptions in six-or-more consecutive games, joining TOM BRADY (nine consecutive games in 2010) and Pro Football Hall of Famer DON MEREDITH (six from 1965-66). Rodgers can join Brady as the only ones to do so within a single season.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least two touchdown passes and no interceptions in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMSEASON(S)GAMES
Tom BradyNew England20109
Don MeredithHOFDallas1965-666
    
Aaron RodgersGreen Bay20215*
*Active streak   

Rodgers’ top target this season has once again been wide receiver DAVANTE ADAMS, who ranks second in the league with 106 receptions and third with 1,362 receiving yards and is one of five players with at least 10 touchdown receptions (10) this season.

With at least four receptions, Adams – who also had 115 receptions in 2020 and 111 receptions in 2018 – can become the fourth player all-time with at least three career seasons with 110-or-more receptions.

The players with the most seasons with at least 110 receptions in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)SEASONS
Wes WelkerNew England5 (2007-09, 2011-12)
Antonio BrownPittsburgh3 (2013-15)
DeAndre HopkinsHouston, Arizona3 (2015, 2018, 2020)
   
Davante AdamsGreen Bay2* (2018, 2020)
*Has 106 receptions in 2021

With two touchdown receptions, Adams – who had 18 touchdown receptions in 2020, 13 in 2018 and 12 in 2016 – would become the fifth player ever with at least 12 touchdown receptions in four of his first eight career seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers JERRY RICE (five seasons), CALVIN JOHNSON (four), RANDY MOSS (four) and TERRELL OWENS (four).

Adams, who has 652 receptions for 7,930 receiving yards and 72 touchdowns since entering the NFL in 2014, can become the sixth player in league annals with at least 600 receptions, 8,000 receiving yards and 70 touchdown receptions in his first eight seasons.

The players with at least 600 receptions, 8,000 receiving yards and 70 touchdown receptions in their first eight seasons in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)RECEPTIONSREC. YARDSREC. TDs
Larry FitzgeraldArizona6939,61573
Marvin HarrisonHOFIndianapolis75910,07283
Calvin JohnsonHOFDetroit64310,40574
Randy MossHOFMinnesota, Oakland Raiders63410,14798
Jerry RiceHOFSan Francisco61010,273103
     
Davante AdamsGreen Bay652*7,930*72*
*In eighth season 

 — NFL —

SECOND-YEAR STATEMENTS: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback JUSTIN HERBERT ranks second in the league with 4,394 passing yards and tied for fourth with 33 touchdown passes. In 30 career games, Herbert has totaled 8,730 passing yards, the most by a player in his first two seasons in NFL history.

With at least 270 passing yards against Denver on Sunday (4:05 PM ET, CBS), Herbert will become the second-fastest player ever to reach 9,000 passing yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer KURT WARNER (32 games). Only PATRICK MAHOMES (30) reached the mark in fewer games

The players to reach 9,000 passing yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMGAMES
Patrick MahomesKansas City30
Kurt WarnerHOFSt. Louis Rams32
Matthew StaffordDetroit33
   
Justin HerbertL.A. Chargers30*
*Has 8,730 passing yards in 30 games  

Last week, Cincinnati quarterback JOE BURROW passed for 525 yards and four touchdowns for a 143.2 rating, the fourth-most passing yards by a player in a single game in NFL history. Burrow ranks second in the league with a 105.0 rating this season and ranks sixth with a career-high 4,165 passing yards. In 25 career games, Burrow has totaled 6,853 passing yards.

With at least 147 passing yards against Kansas City on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Burrow will become the fourth-fastest player ever to reach 7,000 career passing yards, surpassing MARC BULGER (27 games) and Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (27).

The players to reach 7,000 passing yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMGAMES
Patrick MahomesKansas City23
Justin HerbertL.A. Chargers25
Kurt WarnerHOFSt. Louis Rams25
Marc BulgerSt. Louis Rams27
Dan MarinoHOFMiami27
   
Joe BurrowCincinnati25*
*Has 6,853 passing yards in 25 games  

Miami quarterback TUA TAGOVAILOA enters Week 17 leading all qualified passers with a 70.1 completion percentage (230 of 328) this season. Since entering the league last season, Tagovailoa has recorded a completion percentage of 70-or-higher (minimum 20 attempts) in nine games. 

With a completion percentage of 70-or-higher (minimum 20 attempts) at Tennessee on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Tagovailoa – making his 20th career start – will become the first player ever with a completion percentage of 70-or higher (miniumum 20 attempts) in 10 of his first 20 career starts.

The players with the most games with a completion percentage of 70-or-higher (minimum 20 attempts) in their first 20 career starts in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)GAMES
Jimmy GaroppoloNew England, San Francisco9
Patrick MahomesKansas City9
Dak PrescottDallas9
Tua TagovailoaMiami9*
*Making 20th start on Sunday  

— NFL —

HISTORY IN HOLLYWOOD: Los Angeles Rams wide receiver COOPER KUPP leads the NFL with 132 receptions, the fifth-most in a single season all-time, for 1,734 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.

With five receptions at Baltimore on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Kupp would surpass ANTONIO BROWN (136 receptions in 2015) and JULIO JONES (136 in 2015) for the third-most receptions in a single season in NFL history.

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

PLAYERTEAMSEASONRECEPTIONS
Michael ThomasNew Orleans2019149
Marvin HarrisonHOFIndianapolis2002143
Antonio BrownPittsburgh2015136
Julio JonesAtlanta2015136
Cooper KuppL.A. Rams2021132*
*Entering Week 17

Kupp’s 1,734 receiving yards are the seventh-most in a season all-time and with at least 48 receiving yards, would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer ISAAC BRUCE (1,781 receiving yards in 1995) for the fifth-most in a season all-time.

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

PLAYERTEAMSEASONRECEIVING YARDS
Calvin JohnsonHOFDetroit20121,964
Julio JonesAtlanta20151,871
Jerry RiceHOFSan Francisco19951,848
Antonio BrownPittsburgh20151,834
Isaac BruceHOFSt. Louis Rams19951,781
Charlie HenniganHOFHouston Oilers19611,746
Cooper KuppL.A. Rams20211,734*
*Entering Week 17

Dating back to Week 13 of the 2020 season, Kupp has recorded at least five receptions in 19 consecutive games and can become the fifth player all-time with at least five catches in 20 consecutive games.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least five receptions in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)SEASONSGAMES
Antonio BrownPittsburgh2013-1536
DeAndre HopkinsHouston, Arizona2018-2023
Michael ThomasNew Orleans2018-1920
Jarvis LandryMiami, Cleveland2017-1820
Laveranues ColesN.Y. Jets, Washington2002-0319
Cooper KuppL.A. Rams2020-2119*
*Active streak

Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman AARON DONALD leads the team with 12 sacks this season and is the only player in the league with at least 11 sacks in each of the past five seasons. In his eight-year career, Donald has totaled 97.5 sacks.

With a sack on Sunday, Donald will surpass teammate VON MILLER (98 sacks) and Pro Football Hall of Famer DERRICK THOMAS (98) for the fourth-most sacks by a player in his first eight seasons since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The players with the most sacks in their first eight seasons since 1982:

PLAYERTEAM(S)SACKS
Reggie WhiteHOFPhiladelphia124
DeMarcus WareDallas111
Jared AllenKansas City, Minnesota105
Von MillerDenver98
Derrick ThomasHOFKansas City98
Aaron DonaldSt. Louis/L.A. Rams97.5*
*In eighth season  

— NFL —

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE SUCCESS: Five rookies – Miami wide receiver JAYLEN WADDLE (96 receptions), Detroit wide receiver AMON-RA ST. BROWN (74), Cincinnati wide receiver JA’MARR CHASE (68), Pittsburgh running back NAJEE HARRIS (67) and Atlanta tight end KYLE PITTS (64) – each have at least 60 receptions this season. The 2021 season can become the first with four-or-more rookies reaching 70 receptions, surpassing the 2014 season (three players).

Waddle enters Week 17 tied for the sixth in the league with 96 receptions, the second-most receptions by a rookie in league annals. With six receptions at Tennessee (1:00 PM ET, CBS), he would surpass ANQUAN BOLDIN (101 receptions in 2003) for the most receptions by a rookie all-time.
The rookies with the most receptions in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMSEASONRECEPTIONS
Anquan BoldinArizona2003101
Jaylen WaddleMiami202196*
Michael ThomasNew Orleans201692

Waddle and St. Brown each have at least eight receptions in four consecutive games and in Week 17, can surpass ODELL BECKHAM JR. (four consecutive games in 2014) for the most consecutive games with at least eight receptions by a rookie all-time.

Chase, who also has 1,163 receiving yards and 10 touchdown receptions this season, needs seven receptions to join ODELL BECKHAM JR. (2014) as the only rookies with at least 75 receptions, 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdown receptions in NFL history.

With at least 47 receiving yards, Chase can become the fifth rookie with at least 1,200 receiving yards in the Super Bowl era.

The rookies with at least 1,200 receiving yards in the Super Bowl era:

PLAYERTEAMSEASONRECEIVING YARDS
Justin JeffersonMinnesota20201,400
Anquan BoldinArizona20031,377
Randy MossHOFMinnesota19981,313
Odell Beckham Jr.N.Y. Giants20141,305
    
Ja’Marr ChaseCincinnati20211,163*
*Entering Week 17

Harris leads all rookies with 1,406 scrimmage yards (984 rushing, 422 receiving) this season and can become the fifth rookie in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards.

The rookies with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMSEASONRUSHING YARDSRECEIVING YARDS
Saquon BarkleyN.Y. Giants20181,307721
Marshall FaulkHOFIndianapolis19941,282522
Edgerrin JamesHOFIndianapolis19991,553586
Billy SimsDetroit19801,303621
     
Najee HarrisPittsburgh2021984*422*

Pitts ranks third among all tight ends with 949 receiving yards this season and with at least 51 receiving yards against Buffalo (1:00 PM ET, FOX), can join Pro Football Hall of Famer MIKE DITKA (1,076 receiving yards in 1961) as the only rookie tight ends in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards.

Pitts has 64 receptions in 2021 and with six receptions, can become the third rookie tight end all-time with at least 70 receptions, joining KEITH JACKSON (81 receptions in 1988) and JEREMY SHOCKEY (74 in 2002).

— NFL —

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE SUCCESS: Dallas linebacker MICAH PARSONS leads all rookies with 13 sacks this season, followed by Miami linebacker JAELAN PHILLIPS (8.5 sacks) and New York Giants linebacker AZEEZ OJULARI (eight). This season can become the first season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, in which three rookies recorded 10-or-more sacks.

With two sacks against Arizona (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Parsons can surpass JEVON KEARSE (14.5 sacks in 1999) for the most sacks by a rookie since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The rookies with the most sacks since 1982:

PLAYERTEAMSEASONSACKS
Jevon KearseTennessee199914.5
Aldon SmithSan Francisco201114
Dwight FreeneyIndianapolis200213
Micah ParsonsDallas202113*
*Entering Week 17

— NFL —

Blogs