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If you read the previous slide (and we assume you did), you know where we are going here.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson leads the NFL with 1,198 receiving yards. That’s old news considering he set an NFL record a year ago with 1,964 yards.
But there’s also one huge difference between 2012 and 2013. Okay, maybe two.
1. Despite the gaudy yardage total, Johnson only scored five touchdowns last season. Through 12 weeks of NFL 2013, the All-Pro wideout has reached the end zone 11 times, tied for the league lead in that category.
2. The Lions are tied atop the NFC North with a 6-5 record despite a two-game losing streak. That’s a big difference for a team that finished 4-12 last season and lost its final eight games.
And we won’t have to wait long to see Johnson and the Lions this week, as they host the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day.
Speaking of players who are having their days…
2. QB Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Five games to go, and Manning (36 touchdown passes) still has a shot at tying or breaking Tom Brady’s NFL record of 50 touchdown passes set in 2007. But the Denver quarterback has thrown for only three scores the last two weeks. Still, Manning is just one touchdown pass shy of the franchise record (37), set last season by…him.
3. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
The prolific passer is completing 68.3 of his throws this season and has 20 more touchdown passes (28) than interceptions. Is Brees good for a dozen more scores this season? That would give him 40 touchdown passes for the third straight year, which would not only extend his own record but make him the first player in league annals to do it three times period.
4. RB LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles have won three straight games following a 3-5 start, and McCoy has been their steady force. He’s the lone player to rush for 1,000 or more yards so far this season (1,009), and he leads the league with 1,408 yards from scrimmage. More importantly, he and his Birds are tied for first place in the NFC East.
5. RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
The last time we saw Lynch, he was busy scoring three touchdowns in the Seahawks win over the Minnesota Vikings. And this Monday night, he renews acquaintances with the New Orleans Saints for the first time since he knocked down all 11 defenders in one play in the 2010 playoffs. In all seriousness, Lynch ranks seventh in the league with 1,147 yards from scrimmage as is tied for the NFL lead with 11 touchdowns.
In the Discussion
6. TE Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
7. WR A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
8. QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
9. WR Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
10. RB Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs