Let's See Where The "Five Long Shot Statistical Milestones" From Two Weeks Ago Stand Going Into the Final Week of the Season
With one week left in the 2020 NFL Regular Season, only seven of the now 14 playoff tickets have been punched. There's still two divisions yet to be decided (AFC South and NFC East) and no AFC Wild Card team has clinched. Tampa Bay is the only guaranteed NFC Wild Card with the Cardinals, Rams and Bears fighting for the final two spots. There's a possibly of an 11-5 Colts being on the outside looking in, with the 6-10 New York Giants hosting a playoff game. With only one bye in each conference this year, some teams already announced they'll use Week 17 to rest players going into the playoffs.
With one game remaining, besides it being these gentlemen's vocation, there's still statistical milestones and records left to play for as well. Recently, I wrote about five of them that still had life going into the final 18.75% of the season. Let's see where they stand going into Week 17.
Passing Yards Going Into Week 17: 4,740
Between Kansas City already clinching the AFC's #1 seed (for the second time in three years) and Andy Reid implying that he's going to rest some starters, I highly doubt we'll see Patrick Mahomes for more than a half of football Week 17. I'd guess at some point later this we'll learn that Chad Henne is starting against the Chargers.
Even with two straight subpar passing days by his standards (254 and 287 yards respectively) Patrick "I stay endorsing subpar brands" Mahomes has 5,000 yards within reach. He's currently just 260 yards away from 5K with 4,740 yards through Week 16.
The Chiefs have won 10 games in a row and despite looking "off" the last few weeks, they're widely considered the best team in the NFL. Then again, so were the Ravens last year...
If Peyton Manning's Colts, 2011 Green Bay Packers or 1996 Denver Broncos have shown us anything, it's that rust can be more damaging than the benefits of rest going into the playoffs with a bye.
This one is all about whether or not Mahomes starts. I totally get wanting to risk injury in a "meaningless" game and that health going into the playoffs trumps all, but I'd be a little worried about the rust factor given how much the Chiefs have slept walk through their last few games; even with one of the game's most electric athletes. They were a 39 yard field goal away from overtime against the fucking Falcons. The Chiefs are super lucky to have gotten out of that one alive.
If Mahomes plays a half I still think there's like a 35% chance he puts up 260 +, but gun to my head Mahomes gets the added rest. Ring #2 > 2nd 5,000 yard season.
Rushing Yards Going Into Week 17: 1,777
In the two weeks since this blog, Derrick Henry has rushed for a more than respectable 245 yards to bring his season total up to 1,777. Basic math would tell us Derrick is "only" 223 yards away from reaching the 2,000 yard mark with a game to go. Even with the Titans playing in a win and you're in game against the Texans and their poor run defense, 223 is a tall order for any back; even the best in the NFL.
Considering that Tracorito has only rushed for over 223 yards once in his career (238 against the Jaguars in 2018 when he broke a 99 yard run) I'd say there's like an >80% chance we don't see 2,000 yard from #22. If you are rooting for 2K for Tracorito I do have some good news for you; the Texans have allowed over 223 rushing yards in three games this season, including 263 to the Titans in their Week 5 matchup.
Passing Touchdowns Going Into Week 17: 44
After only throwing one touchdown pass against the Panthers in Week 15, it seemed like Aaron's chances at 50 touchdown passes were as dead as his relationship with his family. #lowhangingfruit
Then against the Titans in a game where I bet with my heart instead of my head, A-a-ron threw four more TDs to up his total 44 on the season.
The Packers still have not officially clinched the NFC's #1 seed and face their oldest and most hated rival, the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Week 17 so there will be no resting like 2011 (the last time the Packers were the 1 seed).
While the division isn't on the line like their infamous 2013 matchup; both teams still have seeding at stake. With a win the Packers clinch home field throughout the playoffs for the first time since 2011. A Bears win would clinch them the NFC's 7 seed; the Bears can still sneak into the playoffs with a loss if the Rams (w/o Jared Goff) beat the Cardinals.
I was literally about to type you never know what you're going to get in Packers-Bears, but that just simply isn't true....Aaron Rodgers is 20-5 (including the playoffs) against the Bears.
Like Derrick Henry, this would require Aaron to go TF off, but like like Derrick Henry, I think Aaron is more than capable of doing so. Rodger's has two career regular season games with 6 touchdown passes and his most recent one came against....the Chicago Bears....in 2014.
Touchdown Receptions Going Into Week 17: 7
Bruce Arians has already said that the Bucs are going to "play to win" in Week 17 against the Falcons, but that could mean literally anything. After pulling Brady for the entire second half against the Lions, nothing would shock me from Mr. "No Risk it, No Biscuit" Bruce Arians.
Gronk didn't score any touchdowns in Week 15, but had two catches for two TDs against the Lions last week to bring his total to 7 for the season.
Gronk has three career regular season games with 3 touchdown receptions, but the most recent one came in Week 1 of the 2015 season. Unless Brady is actively trying to get Gronk to double digit TDs I just don't see Gronk finding the end zone thrice. As much as I'd love to see the Bucs go full send for #87, if there's anybody who should be resting Week 17, it's Gronk.
Forced Fumbles Going Into Week 17: 8
Marlon Humprey has yet to force a fumble since this blog was posted, but with how unpredictable fumbles are, I sure as shit am not writing this young man off when he's already forced 8 fumbles this season.
Like the Titans, Dolphins and Browns; the Ravens are also in a "win and you're in" scenario for the 2020(-21) playoffs. One would assume the Ravens are going to play "balls to the wall" to ensure victory against an underachieving divisional foe who recently beat the Steelers and Texans.
One of Humprey's 8 FF came against the 4-10-1 Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5. In a weird way I feel like this is the least and most possible of all the potential stats referenced in this blog. This dude already has two games with multiple forced fumbles this season and again...it's the Bengals. Like Kevin Garnett and later Andy Samberg once said "Anything is Possible."
Are there any milestones within reach that I missed? Do you think any of these will actually happen? Sound off in the comments below!