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Position Series: Quarterback - Three NFL Passing Records That May Or May Not Be Broken In 2013

Updated on May 1, 2013

During the 2012 NFL season there were quite a few records broken, and a handful more that were nearly broken (just ask Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings). Of all of the positions, the quarterback has seemed to make the biggest splash these past few years. Here is a look at three of the more prolific NFL single season quarterback records, along with which players might top these marks, and their chances of doing so in 2013.

Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints

PASSING YARDS - Drew Brees - QB - New Orleans Saints - 5,476 - 2011 - There have been 20 quarterbacks to pass for 4,700 yards or more in a season in NFL history. 13 of these 20 took place during the last three seasons, which is absolutely astounding. Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins held the record of 5,084 yards for 27 years before Drew Brees crushed it by nearly 400 yards in 2011. What people forget is that Tom Brady of New England also topped Marino's record that same year when he threw for 5,235 yards, while Matthew Stafford of Detroit just missed the mark as he tossed the pigskin for 5,038 yards

Last season Brees stepped up his game again, throwing for 5,177 yards, which would have also beaten Marino's long-standing mark. These four QB's are the only players in NFL history to surpass the 5,000 yard mark in a single season. Brady recently lost his buddy Wes Welker to free agency, and even though the Patriots signed the younger Danny Amendola, their passing game could still take a small hit. With a strong running game and a solid defense filled with youth and depth, the Pats will not have to rely on Brady's arm to carry them through each week. Don't look for him to be the one to break this record.

Brees and Stafford are both on teams which notoriously pass the ball no matter what. Stafford actually set the NFL record in 2012 for most pass attempts (727), and even though the newly acquired Reggie Bush is in town at the running back position, don't look for much to change in Detroit. Their defense will continue to put them behind in games, meaning Stafford will be slinging it once again. The same could be said for Brees, who also lacks the defensive help.

Stafford and the Lions have the NFL's 2nd hardest schedule this season based off of last year's wins and losses, while Brees and New Orleans have the 3rd toughest schedule. This is the perfect scenario for both players in the fact that they will be throwing the ball relentlessly, trying to hang in games and pull out last minute wins. Brees still holds the edge with his arsenal of receiving weapons, while Stafford only has Calvin Johnson to throw the ball to.

Best Chance: Drew Brees - Good

Tom Brady of the New England Patriots
Tom Brady of the New England Patriots

PASSING TOUCHDOWNS - Tom Brady - QB - New England Patriots - 50 - 2007 - Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Matthew Stafford are the only current NFL quarterbacks to pass for 40 or more TD's in a single season. Dan Marino and Kurt Warner are the only other two QB's in NFL history to surpass the 40-mark. Brady has only ever been above 39 once, and that was during his record season when he hit 50. He of course had the luxury of Randy Moss, who was in the prime of his career that season. 2007 was also the same season that Moss set the receiving touchdown record with 23.

Brady will be 36 years old entering this upcoming season. Age isn't everything, but it's enough to make it very difficult for him to throw for over 50 TD's. Another aging great is Peyton Manning. It has been nine years since Manning threw for 49 TD's in a single season. He will have multiple weapons to throw to this season in Wes Welker (former Patriot), Demaryius Thomas, and Eric Decker, but Denver actually has the easiest upcoming schedule among all 32 NFL teams. What does this mean? Quick leads and an outstanding defense equals playing it safe and holding leads in the 2nd half of games. Bottom line is, Peyton Manning will not come close to 50 TD's this season.

As mentioned before, Stafford set the NFL record this past season in attempt with 727. Even with that many throws, he still managed only 41 TD's. This record seems a bit unreachable for him as well. Brees threw 46 TD's in 2011, and another 43 TD's in 2012. Rodgers threw 45 TD's in 2011. These are the two players who have the true potential to set the record.

With Green Bay landing the 6th toughest schedule this season, and one of the NFL's worst ground attacks, Aaron Rodgers could have a banner year. Their offensive line had serious issues last season, meaning the Packers will be addressing this before the new season begins, hoping to keep their #1 star upright. Drew Brees also stands a decent shot at the record, but near the goal line they do attempt to run the ball much more than Green Bay does.

Best Chance: Aaron Rodgers - Slim

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers

PASS RATING - Aaron Rodgers - QB - Green Bay Packers - 122.5 - Of the eight different quarterbacks in history to finish a season with a QB pass rating of 110.0 or higher, four of the eight are the usual suspects: Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees. Manning sits right behind Rodgers as the top dog with his 121.1 rating during his 2004 campaign. These are the only two times an NFL quarterback has surpassed the 120.0 number.

Unless these players miss a few games due to injury, they are most likely to finish their seasons with double-digit interceptions almost every time. The defensive players in today's game are just too good. Unfortunately, interceptions thrown drastically lowers a quarterback's rating. During Rodgers' record season, he threw only 6 interceptions to go along with his 45 touchdowns. This sort of output from an NFL quarterback is so far beyond the norm it's flat out silly.

In five seasons since becoming the Packers' starter, Rodgers' yearly interception totals have been 13, 7, 11, 6, and 8. The single-digit INT seasons really is impressive. Even the 11 and 13 is not high compared to most NFL quarterbacks. Not sure what Rodgers' recipe for this type of game play is, but it's working. At this point he may be the only player this season to even stand a chance to top his own NFL record of 122.5.

Best Chance: Aaron Rodgers - Slim

Copyright April 2, 2013 by Scott Barr

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