Eric Dickerson and 5 NFL Greats Who Could Be Relinquishing Notable Records

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IDecember 17, 2012

Eric Dickerson and 5 NFL Greats Who Could Be Relinquishing Notable Records

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    Eric Dickerson's 28-year run as the NFL's single-season rushing king may be coming to an end in 2012. 

    Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson needs 294 yards over the final two games to break Dickerson's record. While a sizable total, Peterson's recent stretch of games makes setting a new single-season rushing standard certainly within reach. 

    Dickerson, however, is not the only NFL great whose single-season record is in jeopardy. 

    In the following slides, we'll present the five records that could be broken by the end of 2012. 

Eric Dickerson: Most Rushing Yards, Single Season

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    Record: 2,105 yards, 1984

    Challenger: Adrian Peterson, Vikings (1,812)

    Thanks to 212 yards against the St. Louis Rams Sunday, Peterson now needs just 293 to tie Dickerson's record. Over the final two games, that equates to almost 147 yards a game.

    While not an easy task for most backs, Peterson has averaged 164.1 over the last eight games and 192 over the last three. Peterson also rushed for 210 against the Green Bay Packers, who travel to Minnesota in the season finale. 

Jerry Rice: Most Receiving Yards, Single Season

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    Record: 1,848 yards, 1995

    Challenger: Calvin Johnson, Lions (1,667)

    With two games left, Johnson is currently on pace to break Jerry Rice's 17-year record. If Johnson stayed on track with his weekly average (119 yards a game), the Lions receiver would finish with 1,905 yards.

    While the Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears aren't pushovers against the pass, Johnson receives enough targets every week to think his chances of breaking Rice's record remain high. He can break the record with 182 yards against the Falcons in Week 16 (Johnson has just one game with more than that total this season). 

Michael Strahan: Most Sacks, Single Season

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    Record: 22.5 sacks, 2001

    Challengers: Aldon Smith, 49ers (19.5); J.J. Watt, Texans (19.5)

    Both Smith and Watt are just three sacks away from tying Michael Strahan, who sacked (or fell on top of) Packers quarterback Brett Favre in Week 17 of 2001 to break Mark Gastineau's record.

    Smith failed to add to his impressive total against the New England Patriots, while Watt's three sacks against the Indianapolis Colts vaulted him into this conversation. Three sacks in the final two games seems feasible for both. 

    Smith's meeting with the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 is especially enticing, and Watt can certainly get to three with another meeting with the Colts in the season finale. 

Darren Sproles: Most All-Purpose Yards, Single Season

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    Record: 2,696 yards, 2011

    Challenger: Randall Cobb, Packers (2,241 yards)

    Darren Sproles' record may be the safest of the four listed here. Cobb is currently 455 all-purpose yards behind Sproles' 2,696—a record he just broke last season.

    While not impossible, Cobb would need to average 228 all-purpose yards (receiving, rushing, kick and punt returns) to pass Sproles.

    Even with so many touches at his disposal every week, 228 in back-to-back weeks is a tall task. More than likely, Cobb will have to settle for the franchise record (Ahman Green's 2,250 in 2003). 

Drew Bledsoe: Most Passing Attempts, Single Season

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    Record: 691 attempts, 1994

    Challenger: Matthew Stafford, Lions (629)

    Maybe passing attempts isn't the greatest record to hold, but Stafford is looking more and more like he'll break Drew Bledsoe's mark this season. In fact, Stafford is likely to become the first quarterback to attempt 700 passes in a single season. 

    He is currently 63 attempts away from breaking the record, and he needs just 71 over the final two games to hit 700. Considering that Stafford is averaging almost 45 a game this season, a big shift in play-calling would have to occur over the final two games for Bledsoe's record to stand.