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What To Look For – Week 15

FIRE THE CANNONS: The TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (10-3) enter Week 15 tied for the best record in the league and seek back-to-back 11-win seasons for the first time in franchise history. With a win against New Orleans on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Tampa Bay will also clinch its first NFC South division title since 2007. For all the Week 15 playoff scenarios, click here.

The Buccaneers are 6-0 at home this season and going back to Week 17 of 2020, have scored at least 30 points in each of their past seven regular-season games at Raymond James Stadium. With at least 30 points on Sunday night, Tampa Bay will become the third team ever to score 30 points in eight-or-more consecutive home games, joining the 2012-13 DENVER BRONCOS (11 consecutive home games) and the 1999-2000 ST. LOUIS RAMS (11). 

Tampa Bay would also become the first-ever team to score at least 30 points in each of its first seven home games of a season. 

The teams to score at least 30 points in the most consecutive home games in NFL history: 

TEAMSEASONSGAMES
Denver Broncos2012-1311
St. Louis Rams1999-200011
   
Tampa Bay Buccaneers2020-217*
*Active streak  

Quarterback TOM BRADY leads the league with 4,134 passing yards and 36 touchdown passes. This marks his 13th season with at least 4,000 passing yards, the second-most in league history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (14 seasons) has more. 

Brady has recorded at least four touchdown passes in six games this season, the most in the league. His 39 career games with four-or-more touchdown passes are also the most all-time. 

With four touchdown passes on Sunday night, he will become the fourth player ever to record at least four touchdown passes in seven-or-more games within a single season, joining Manning (nine games in 2013), PATRICK MAHOMES (seven in 2018) and AARON RODGERS (seven in 2020). Manning, Mahomes and Rodgers were each named Associated Press Most Valuable Player in those seasons. 

The players with the most games with at least four touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history: 

PLAYERTEAMSEASONGAMES 
Peyton ManningHOF#Denver20139 
Patrick Mahomes#Kansas City20187 
Aaron Rodgers#Green Bay20207 
     
Tom BradyTampa Bay20216* 
*Entering Week 15    
#Associated Press Most Valuable Player   

Brady can also record 40 touchdown passes for the third time in his career, also accomplishing the feat last season (40 touchdown passes) and in 2007 (50). He can join Rodgers as the only players ever to record at least 40 touchdown passes in three different seasons. He would also join DREW BREES (2011-12) as the only players in league history to register at least 40 touchdown passes in consecutive seasons. 

Brady’s top targets this season have been wide receivers MIKE EVANS (885 receiving yards) and CHRIS GODWIN (1,054), who are the only pair of NFC teammates each with at least 850 receiving yards this season. 

Since entering the league in 2014, Evans leads the NFL with 72 touchdown receptions and ranks third with 9,151 receiving yards. With 115 receiving yards on Sunday night, he will become the first player in league history with at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first eight seasons. 

Godwin recorded 10 receptions for 105 yards in last week’s victory, after totaling a career-high 15 catches for 143 yards in Week 13. He can become the sixth player ever with at least 10 receptions and 100 receiving yards in three consecutive games. 

The players with at least 10 receptions and 100 receiving yards in the most consecutive games in NFL history: 

PLAYERTEAMSEASONGAMES
Calvin JohnsonHOFDetroit20124
Michael ThomasNew Orleans20193
Keenan AllenL.A. Chargers20173
Andre JohnsonHouston20083
Brett PerrimanDetroit19953
    
Chris GodwinTampa Bay20212*
*Active streak   

— NFL —

MVP MATCHUP: Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS, the 2020 NFL MVP, and Baltimore quarterback LAMAR JACKSON, the 2019 NFL MVP, will meet for the first time in their careers when the Ravens host the Packers on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, FOX) in an interconference battle between division leaders. 

This will mark the third consecutive season in which the two most recent league MVPs have met as opposing starting quarterbacks. 

The past five meetings featuring the two most recent NFL MVPs:

MVPs (SEASON)DATERESULT
Aaron Rodgers (2020) vs. Lamar Jackson (2019)Dec, 19, 2021???
Lamar Jackson (2019) vs. Patrick Mahomes (2018)Sept. 28, 2020KC 34, BAL 20
Patrick Mahomes (2018) vs. Tom Brady (2017)Dec. 8, 2019KC 23, NE 16
Matt Ryan (2016) vs. Cam Newton (2015)Dec. 31, 2017ATL 22, CAR 10
Matt Ryan (2016) vs. Cam Newton (2015)Nov. 5, 2017CAR 20, ATL 17

Last week, Rodgers passed for 341 yards and four touchdowns and ranks tied for fifth in the league with 27 touchdown passes this season. With three touchdown passes on Sunday, this will mark his eighth career season with at least 30 touchdown passes, the fifth-most in NFL history. 

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

PLAYERTEAM(S)SEASONS
Drew BreesNew Orleans10
Tom BradyNew England, Tampa Bay9
Brett FavreHOFGreen Bay, Minnesota9
Peyton ManningHOFIndianapolis, Denver9
Aaron RodgersGreen Bay7*
*Has 27 touchdown passes in 2021  

— NFL —

NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP: Four teams led by second-year quarterbacks are currently in playoff contention after missing the 2020 postseason – CINCINNATI (7-6), the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS(8-5), MIAMI (6-7) and PHILADELPHIA (6-7). 

Cincinnati’s JOE BURROW, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, ranks fifth in the AFC in passing yards (3,483) and has thrown for at least 300 yards in back-to-back games. On Sunday against Denver (4:05 PM ET, CBS), Burrow can become 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 (15 games), PATRICK MAHOMES (10) and Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (10).  

The players with the most games with at least 300 yards passing in their first two seasons in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMGAMES
Justin HerbertL.A. Chargers15*
Patrick MahomesKansas City10
Dan MarinoHOFMiami10
   
Joe Burrow Cincinnati9*
*In second season

Last week, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback JUSTIN HERBERT, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, became the first quarterback ever with at least 30 touchdown passes in each of his first two seasons and the fourth-youngest player all-time to reach 8,000 career passing yards. With 39 passing yards on Thursday Night Football against Kansas City (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon), Herbert – who has 8,158 career passing yards – can surpass ANDREW LUCK (8,196 passing yards) for the most passing yards by a player in his first two seasons in NFL history. 

The players with the most passing yards in their first two seasons in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMPASSING YARDS
Andrew LuckIndianapolis8,196
Justin HerbertL.A. Chargers8,158*
Jameis WinstonTampa Bay8,123
*In second season

Additionally, Herbert needs 178 passing yards on Thursday to become the second player ever to reach 4,000 passing yards in each of his first two seasons, joining JAMEIS WINSTON (2015-16).

Miami’s TUA TAGOVAILOA, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, is one of four quarterbacks all-time to record three games with a completion percentage of 80-or-higher (minimum 30 attempts) in a single season. The Dolphins, who host the New York Jets (3-10) on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), have won five consecutive games and are attempting to become the first team in NFL history to reach the playoffs after winning one of their first eight games.

Philadelphia’s JALEN HURTS was a second-round selection in 2020. He ranks second among quarterbacks with 695 rushing yards this season and has 11 career games with at least 50 rushing yards. When Philadelphia hosts Washington on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Hurts can tie KYLER MURRAY (12 games) for the third-most games with at least 50 rushing yards by a quarterback in his first two seasons in the Super Bowl era.

The quarterbacks with the most games with at least 50 rushing yards in their first two seasons in the Super Bowl era:

PLAYERTEAMGAMES
Lamar JacksonBaltimore18
Cam NewtonCarolina15
Kyler MurrayArizona12
Robert Griffin IIIWashington11
Jalen HurtsPhiladelphia11*
*In second season

— NFL —

MINNESOTA MILESTONES: In seven road games this season, Minnesota quarterback KIRK COUSINS has passed for 2,027 yards (289.6 per game) and 16 touchdowns against only one interception. Dating back to Week 16 of last season, Cousins has recorded at least two touchdown passes in nine consecutive road games.

With at least two touchdown passes at Chicago on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), it will mark the sixth time ever that a player has recorded at least two touchdown passes in 10 consecutive road games. 

The players with at least two touchdown passes in the most consecutive road games in NFL history: 

PLAYERTEAMSEASONSGAMES
Tom BradyNew England2010-1214
Peyton ManningHOFDenver2013-1412
Matt RyanAtlanta2018-1911
Tom BradyNew England2003-0411
Brett FavreHOFGreen Bay2001-0211
    
Kirk CousinsMinnesota2020-219*
*Active streak   

For the second-consecutive season, Cousins’ top target has been wide receiver JUSTIN JEFFERSON. After setting the NFL rookie receiving record last year (1,400 receiving yards), Jefferson ranks second in the league with 1,288 receiving yards in 2021. 

With 68 receiving yards on Sunday, Jefferson will surpass ODELL BECKHAM JR. (2,755) for the most receiving yards ever by a player in his first two seasons. 

The players with the most receiving yards in their first two seasons in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMRECEIVING YARDS
Odell Beckham Jr.N.Y. Giants2,755
Randy MossHOFMinnesota2,726
Justin JeffersonMinnesota2,688*
*Entering Week 15  

— NFL —

PACE SETTERS: Indianapolis running back JONATHAN TAYLOR and Los Angeles Rams wide receiver COOPER KUPP each enter Week 15 on historic streaks. 

Taylor leads the league in scrimmage yards (1,684), rushing yards (1,348), scrimmage touchdowns (18) and rushing touchdowns (16), and is one of five players all-time with a rushing touchdown in 10 consecutive games within a single season. 

With a rushing touchdown against New England on Saturday night (8:15 PM ET, NFLN), Taylor will tie PRIEST HOLMES (11 games in 2002) and Pro Football Hall of Famer EMMITT SMITH (11 in 1995) for the third-longest streak of games with a rushing touchdown within a single season in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers JOHN RIGGINS (12 in 1983) and LADAINIAN TOMLINSON (12 in 2004) have a longer streak.

The players with a rushing touchdown in the most consecutive games within a single season in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMSEASONGAMES
John RigginsHOFWashington198312
LaDainian TomlinsonHOFSan Diego Chargers200412
Priest HolmesKansas City200211
Emmitt SmithHOFDallas199511
Jonathan TaylorIndianapolis202110*
*Active streak   

Since entering the league last season, Taylor – who turns 23 on January 19, 2022 – leads all players with 30 touchdowns. With a touchdown on Saturday, Taylor will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer BARRY SANDERS (30 touchdowns) and tie CLINTON PORTIS (31) for the second-most touchdowns scored by a player prior his 23rd birthday. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer EDGERRIN JAMES (35) has more.

The players with the most touchdowns prior to their 23rd birthday in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMTOUCHDOWNS
Edgerrin JamesHOFIndianapolis35
Clinton PortisDenver31
Barry SandersHOFDetroit30
Jonathan TaylorIndianapolis30*
*Turns 23 in January, 2022  

Kupp enters Week 15 leading the league in receptions (113), receiving yards (1,489) and touchdown receptions (12), and is the third player in the Super Bowl era to total at least 90 receiving yards in nine consecutive games, joining ODELL BECKHAM JR. (2014) and Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL IRVIN (1995).  

If Kupp reaches 90 receiving yards against Seattle on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, FOX), he will become the first player ever to record at least 90 receiving yards in 10 consecutive games in the Super Bowl era. 

The players with at least 90 receiving yards in the most consecutive games in the Super Bowl era: 

PLAYERTEAMSEASONGAMES
Odell Beckham Jr.N.Y. Giants20149
Michael IrvinHOFDallas19959
Cooper KuppL.A. Rams20219*
*Active streak   

Last week, Kupp totaled 13 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. It marked his seventh game this season with at least 100 receiving yards and a touchdown catch, the most such games in the league. If he accomplishes the feat again on Sunday, he will become sixth player in the Super Bowl era to record eight-or-more games within a single season with at least 100 receiving yards and a touchdown reception.   

The players with the most games with at least 100 receiving yards and a touchdown reception in a single season in the Super Bowl era: 

PLAYERTEAMSEASONGAMES
Randy MossHOFNew England20079
Michael IrvinHOFDallas19959
Brandon MarshallN.Y. Jets20158
Torry HoltSt. Louis Rams20038
Jerry RiceHOFSan Francisco19898
    
Cooper KuppL.A. Rams20217*
*Entering Week 15   

— NFL —

TERRIFIC TIGHT ENDS: Last week, San Francisco tight end GEORGE KITTLE recorded 13 receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown. After totaling 181 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions in Week 13, Kittle became the first tight end in NFL history to record at least 150 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in consecutive games.

With at least 100 receiving yards and a touchdown reception against Atlanta on Sunday (4:05 PM ET, CBS), Kittle will join JIMMY GRAHAM (Weeks 2-4 in 2013) as the only tight ends ever with at least 100 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in three consecutive games.  

Kittle ranks fourth among tight ends with 757 receiving yards this season and has 4,336 receiving yards in his five-year career. With 44 receiving yards on Sunday, Kittle will surpass ROB GRONKOWSKI (4,379) for the third-most receiving yards by a tight end in his first five seasons in league history. Only Graham (4,752) and Pro Football Hall of Famer KELLEN WINSLOW SR. (4,513) have more. 

The tight ends with the most receiving yards in their first five seasons in NFL history: 

PLAYERTEAMRECEIVING YARDS
Jimmy GrahamNew Orleans4,752
Kellen Winslow Sr.HOFSan Diego Chargers4,513
Rob GronkowskiNew England4,379
Antonio GatesSan Diego Chargers4,362
George KittleSan Francisco4,336*
*In fifth season  

Kansas City’s TRAVIS KELCE ranks second among tight ends with 875 receiving yards and 73 receptions this season and can become the first tight end ever to record at least 1,000 receiving yards in six consecutive seasons. With seven catches, he can also become the first tight end ever to total at least 80 receptions in six straight seasons.   

Atlanta’s KYLE PITTS leads all rookie tight ends with 54 receptions and 770 receiving yards this season, while Pittsburgh’s PAT FREIERMUTH leads rookie tight ends with seven touchdown receptions. 

On Sunday, Pitts can become the fourth rookie tight end ever with at least 60 receptions, and the fifth with at least 800 receiving yards. 

The rookie tight ends with at least 60 receptions in NFL history: 

PLAYERTEAMSEASONRECEPTIONS
Keith JacksonPhiladelphia198881
Jeremy ShockeyN.Y. Giants200274
Evan EngramN.Y. Giants201764
    
Kyle PittsAtlanta202154*
*Entering Week 15   

The rookie tight ends with at least 800 receiving yards in NFL history: 

PLAYERTEAMSEASONRECEIVING YARDS
Mike DitkaHOFChicago19611,076
Jeremy ShockeyN.Y. Giants2002894
Keith JacksonPhiladelphia1988869
Charle YoungPhiladelphia1973854
    
Kyle PittsAtlanta2021770*
*Entering Week 15   

With a touchdown reception against Tennessee on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Frieiermuth will tie HUNTER HENRY (eight in 2016) for the fourth-most touchdown receptions ever by a rookie tight end. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer MIKE DITKA (12 in 1961), ROB GRONKOWSKI (10 in 2010) and JUNIOR MILLER (nine in 1980) have more. 

The rookie tight ends with the most touchdown receptions in NFL history: 

PLAYERTEAMSEASONTOUCHDOWN RECEPTIONS
Mike DitkaHOFChicago196112
Rob GronkowskiNew England201010
Junior MillerAtlanta19809
Hunter HenrySan Diego Chargers20168
    
Pat FreiermuthPittsburgh20217*
*Entering Week 15   
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