2011 NFL Predictions: 7 QBs Who Will Throw for 25+ Touchdowns
Scoring touchdowns is, quite obviously, the easiest way to win a football game. Some do it with flair; some just do it often. Brett Favre holds the record for most career touchdowns (508; Tom Brady claims the glory of having the most in a single season (50).
While single-season numbers like 50 are hard to come by, 25 is a more attainable number that still demonstrates elite passing skills.
If they stay healthy, these seven quarterbacks will exceed 25 touchdown passes this season.
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Tom Brady has thrown over 25 touchdown passes more often than he hasn’t. All his top receiving threats from last year have returned, including TE Rob Gronkowski who caught 10 TDs last year.
Plus, the Pats have added former Cincinnati star Chad Ochocinco who caught four TDs in 2010 and nine the year before.
Brady, widely considered the top QB in the league, will have no trouble breaking 25.
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Fantasy players know the value of Drew Brees’ air attack. He always racks up major yardage (over 5,000 in 2008) and has the touchdowns to match.
He’s thrown for over 30 in each of his last three seasons due in part to the efforts of Marques Colston, Robert Meachem and Lance Moore who are all returning.
In addition, the Saints signed running back Darren Sproles, who led the Chargers in receptions in 2010.
This one’s a no-brainer.
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Matt Schaub is just one year removed from his career-best season. In 2009 he threw for 4,770 yards and 29 TDs. Last year, Schaub’s stats slid slightly but only due to the breakout production of star running back Arian Foster.
The 2011 season may begin with Foster on the bench or, at the very least, slowed as he recovers from a hamstring injury he sustained in training camp. Without an immediately viable backup, the Texans’ game just got a little less balanced for a couple weeks.
Plus, with Owen Daniels expected to make a healthy return (Rotoworld’s 2011 Draft Guide expects Daniels to have 67 catches and six TDs), Kevin Walter expected to have a breakout season as one-half of the Texans’ No. 2 receiver (Jacoby Jones being the other half), and pass-catching aficionado Andre Johnson playing all 16 games this year (knock on wood), Schaub may have to try NOT throwing more than 25 TDs.
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Even with a squad riddled with injury and a shoddy offensive line, Peyton Manning managed to tally a career high 4,700 yards last season. He also threw for 33 TDs for the fourth time in his career (including his 49 TD 2004 season).
Now, Indianapolis has addressed their O-line and Manning’s favorite targets have returned from the injuries that plagued them in 2010, making Manning’s job that much easier.
What about his neck surgery? Who cares?
Manning has had surgery in each of the last three offseasons and it hasn’t slowed his production. The only reason it’s significant this time is because we had nothing else to focus on during the lockout and because Manning’s recovery was prolonged by his preference for the team doctors and his lack of access to them.
He’ll be back for the season opener and back to his usual, touchdown throwing self.
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Fourth-year starting quarterback, Matt Ryan has the benefit of two top 10 ranked receivers in Roddy White (115 catches, 10 TDs in 2010) and and tight end Tony Gonzalez (70 receptions, six TDs). Ryan has been throwing to these two for almost his entire career and is starting to make an argument as one of the league’s top quarterbacks.
Let's not forget about the addition of rookie Julio Jones who the Falcons paid so dearly for during April's draft. Jones had seven receiving TDs last year with Alabama and will contribute immensely to Ryan's totals.
Ryan had 28 TDs last season and 22 in 2009 when he missed two games. Those are good odds for him to surpass 25 this year as the young QB continues to improve his game.
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Josh Freeman threw 25 touchdowns last season—his first full season as a starter and only his second season in the league. He led the team to a 10-6 finish and narrowly missed the playoffs.
Receiver Mike Williams is coming off a very impressive rookie campaign and contributed 11 TD receptions to Freeman’s total. That’s an impressive number for any receiver, let alone a rookie.
He trailed veteran tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. (five TDs in 2010) by just one reception and actually exceeded the veteran’s total yardage by 234.
Freeman has plenty of targets, is entering the upswing of his career and has a solid offensive line to work behind.
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The reigning Super Bowl champions’ quarterback, Aaron Rodgers has been exceeding the 25 TD mark since Favre’s first retirement party.
Veteran receiver Donald Driver may be showing signs of his age (35) as he completes the last two years of his contract and recovers from the Super Bowl ankle sprain that had him in a boot for two months.
Nothing else, though, has deteriorated for the Packers on the offensive side of the ball.
In fact, Jermichael Finley should be fully recovered from the torn meniscus he suffered early last season and is entering his contract year. No doubt the tight end—who has missed time in each of his last two seasons as a starter—knows he’ll need to have an extraordinary, full season to to cash in
He has already stated that he plans to change the tight end position this year and illustrated such by catching two balls at once during an early training camp practice.
Rodgers is a shoe-in for 2011’s 25-plus TD club.