Calvin Johnson: Will Detroit Lions WR Break Jerry Rice's Receiving Yards Record?

Eric McKelvieSenior Writer IDecember 12, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 09: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions walks off of the field during a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 9, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 27-20. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Calvin Johnson has put himself in position to break a record set by one of the NFL’s all-time greats, Jerry Rice.   

In 1995, the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver finished with 1,848 receiving yards, a single-season record that still stands today. However, through 13 games this season, Johnson already has 1,546 receiving yards, leaving him just 303 yards short of the record.

With that said, Megatron only needs to average 101 yards over the last three games of the season to break the record. He is currently averaging over 118 yards per game, meaning at his current pace he would finish with 1,902 yards.

Rice had 122 receptions and averaged 15.1 yards per catch in 1995. Johnson has 96 receptions (on pace for 118) and is averaging 16.1 yards per catch. 

With wide receivers Titus Young, Ryan Broyles and Nate Burleson done for the season, Johnson can expect even more looks from Matthew Stafford in the remaining three games. 

Detroit will visit the Cardinals in Arizona before playing back-to-back games at Ford Field versus the Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears.

The Cardinals are fifth in the league, allowing just 197.1 passing yards per game, but that may have something to do with their terrible run defense, which is allowing 140.5 yards per game (30th in NFL). The Cardinals are riding a nine-game losing streak and were shut out, 58-0, by the Seattle Seahawks last week.

Megatron should be able surpass the 100-yard mark in this game. 

The Falcons allow an average of 234.9 passing yards per game and are also coming off a tough loss to a divisional opponent. Cam Newton ran all over the Falcons, and Steve Smith had 109 receiving yards in the Carolina Panthers' 30-20 win over the Falcons last week.

Again, Megatron should be able to gain over 100 yards against the Falcons. 

The Lions will wrap up a disappointing season against the Chicago Bears in Week 17. Overall, the Bears are having another great year defensively. They allow only 16.3 points and 314.2 yards per game, and in their first meeting with the Lions, they held Johnson to just three catches for 34 yards.

Even with injuries on defense, the Bears have the best shot at slowing Johnson down out of the three teams. However, it's unlikely they will be able to prevent him from getting the yardage necessary to break the record. 

In Week 8, the Seahawks held Johnson to 46 yards, but since then he has been nearly unstoppable. In every game from Week 9 through Week 14, Johnson has had over 115 yards receiving, including a 207-yard performance against the Minnesota Vikings.

Look for that dominance to continue in the final weeks of the season. If Johnson can stay healthy and play all three games in their entirety, he should break the record.