With the final weeks of the season upon us, the pursuit of single-season records begins to become a little more clear. Players and teams actively pursue some of these records, while other records are being avoided at all costs.
As the game evolves, certain records are beginning to fall on an almost yearly basis. Then there are those records that are so phenomenal that they stand the test of time and are only threatened by the greatest of players.
There are records on both sides of the spectrum that are being pursued this season. Let's take a closer look at those records that may fall and the likelihood of those records going down.
Former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe holds the current record for passes attempted in a season, attempting 691 passes in 1994.
This season, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is on pace to break that record. Stafford is currently attempting 44.5 passes per game, which would leave him with a total of 712 passes attempted at season's end.
With three games to go, Stafford has attempted 579 passes. That puts him 112 passes short of the record. Stafford will have to attempt 37.67 passes over the last three games to break the record. To put it in perspective, Stafford has thrown over 38 passes in 11 of 13 games this season.
Odds of breaking this record: 55 percent
While this may seem redundant, the Patriots actually do not own this record, contrary to what you may have thought; the Vikings attempted 709 passes in 1981.
This record also has an interesting aspect to it because Matthew Stafford is not the only player to have attempted passes for the Lions this season.
In Week 3, Stafford was injured and had to be replaced by backup quarterback Shaun Hill for the rest of the game. Hill came in and attempted 13 passes, so if the Lions do break the record for passes attempted by a team, it will be the combination of Stafford and Hill's numbers that will give them the record.
As a team, the Lions are currently on pace to break the record with 728 passes attempted.
They currently have 592 passes attempted, leaving them 118 attempts short of the record. That means they will need to average 39.33 attempts over the last three games. The team has attempted over 38 passes in 11 of 13 games this season.
Odds of breaking the record: 56 percent
The 2011 Green Bay Packers hold the current record for passing yards allowed in a season with 4,796.
This year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the unfortunate privilege of being on pace to break this record. Tampa Bay has allowed 4,051 passing yards this season with three games to go. At their current pace, the Bucs will allow 4,985.8 yards. In fact, that puts them in close enough range that they may become the first team to allow 5,000 passing yards in a season.
The Bucs are only 746 yards away from breaking this record and need to allow 249 passing yards per game over their last three contests to surpass the current mark. The Bucs were able to keep that number below 249 in four of their 13 total games this season.
Odds of breaking this record: 40 percent
Perhaps one of the worst records to own, the 1981 Baltimore Colts have the dubious distinction of having allowed 6,793 yards in a single season.
Their time as the holder of this record may be coming to an end. The New Orleans Saints are currently on pace to allow 6,990 yards this season. They have allowed 5,680 yards so far in 2012, leaving them 1,114 yards short of the new record. That comes to 371.3 yards over the final three games.
They've only managed to allow less than 371 yards once in 13 games.
Odds of breaking this record: 85 percent
The 2007 New England Patriots hold the record for most points scored in a season with 589. That same franchise is making a run at the record books again this season.
The Patriots have scored 472 points so far, leaving them 118 points short of the all-time record. The Patriots will have to score 39.3 points per game over their last three in order to break this record. They have scored more than 39 points in four of their last six games, so attaining this is certainly possible.
Odds of breaking this record: 25 percent
Just last season, Saints running back Darren Sproles set the record for all-purpose yards in a season with 2,696 yards.
This season, an up-and-coming star in the NFL has Sproles' record in his sights.
Wide receiver Randall Cobb has emerged as a centerpiece of the Green Bay Packers' high-powered offense. Cobb has amassed his yardage receiving, rushing and returning to the tune of 2,091 yards. This leaves Cobb 606 yards short of breaking the record. Cobb will have to average 202 all-purpose yards over the last three games to capture the record.
Odds of breaking this record: 10 percent
Michael Strahan set the record for sacks in a season in 2001 with 22.5. The record was obtained somewhat controversially, as many think Brett Favre intentionally laid down to allow Strahan to get the record.
There is no such controversy this season, as outside linebacker Aldon Smith of the San Francisco 49ers has had quarterbacks running for their lives all year. Smith has accumulated 19.5 sacks so far this season, just three sacks short of Strahan's record with three games to go. The 23-year-old has been on a tear as of late, recording at least one sack in seven straight games.
Odds of breaking this record: 75 percent
Eric Dickerson set one of the most remarkable records in NFL history in 1984 when he rushed for 2,105 yards for the Los Angeles Rams. Many consider this milestone to be unbreakable. Only four players have come within 100 yards of the record in the last 28 years.
Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings is looking to add to that list this season. Peterson is having one of the most remarkable seasons in recent memory, only compounded by the fact that he is less than a year removed from major knee surgery. Peterson currently sits at 1,600 rushing yards with three games to go.
That means 506 more yards would give him the record, and rushing for an average of 168.66 yards for the remainder of the season would enable him to set the new mark. While the record may seem out of reach, Peterson has run for 472 yards in the last three games. He has also rushed for more than 168 yards in three of his last five games.
Odds of breaking this record: 20 percent
Considered to be one of the most unbreakable single-season records in NFL history, only one person has come within 150 yards of Jerry Rice's receiving-yards record in the last 17 years. In 1995, Jerry Rice racked up 1,848 receiving yards, breaking a record that had stood for 34 years by more than 100 yards.
In 2012, another man is chasing this longstanding record with not just a chance to break it, but a chance to destroy it. Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions has been on a tear for the last couple of seasons, putting on a receiving display like few have ever seen.
This season particularly, he has been racking up yards like it's just him and the quarterback on the field. Johnson currently sits at 1,546 yards through 13 games. This puts him on a pace to rack up 1,903 yards for the season. With just 303 yards (101 per game) needed to break the record, he is well beyond that pace.
Johnson has totaled more than 100 yards in six straight games and in nine games overall this season. He has almost 300 yards receiving in his last two games alone.
Odds of breaking this record: 75 percent