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Top stats to know: Milestones within reach in 2015

4/22/2015

Now that the NFL schedule is out, let’s take a look at some of the upcoming milestones likely to be reached this season and try to pinpoint when they’ll take place.

Quarterbacks: Brees seeks rare air

Drew Brees has a ways to go to catch Peyton Manning, but he’s 3,967 yards from becoming the fourth quarterback in NFL history to reach 60,000 yards. He’s thrown for at least 4,000 yards in each of the last nine seasons. He hit the 4,000-yard plateau in his 14th game last season, which would be Week 15 at home against the Lions this season.

Brees and Tom Brady are each closing in on 400 career touchdown passes. Brees needs four. Brady needs eight.

Running backs: Chasing Faulk

Steven Jackson and Frank Gore are eyeing Marshall Faulk, who ranks 10th all-time in rushing yardage.

Jackson needs 892 yards to pass Faulk, but he hasn't enjoyed a 1,000-yard campaign since 2012. Meanwhile, Gore needs 1,207. He barely surpassed that total in his second-to-last opportunity in 2014: a 10-yard rush against the Cardinals in Week 17 that gave him 1,210. Gore's Eagles visit the Giants in Week 17 this season.

Marshawn Lynch is in a strikingly similar position as Gore. Lynch needs 1,305 to become the 30th player in NFL history to reach 10,000 career rushing yards. He rushed for 1,306 last season with his last carry coming on a 9-yard TD run in the regular-season finale against the Rams. This season, Seattle's final game will be in Arizona.

Lynch has posted four straight seasons with 1,200 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns, tied for the second-longest streak in NFL history behind LaDainian Tomlinson’s seven straight.

Receivers and tight ends: 1,000 is the magic number

There are four players relatively within range of approaching 1,000 career catches. Jason Witten (needs 57), Anquan Boldin (60), Steve Smith Sr. (85) and Larry Fitzgerald (91) are on the verge of joining the 10 players who have already reached that mark. Based on their averages last season, Witten and Boldin can meet that milestone this season (Witten in Week 16 at Buffalo, Boldin in Week 13 at Chicago).

If Witten gets 57 catches, he’ll join Tony Gonzalez as the only tight ends in NFL history to reach 1,000 career receptions.

When it comes to receiving yards, two players can hit milestones. Reggie Wayne just needs 236 to pass former Colts teammate Marvin Harrison for seventh all-time. Andre Johnson needs 303 yards to pass Hall of Famer Cris Carter for 10th all-time. Based on their averages per game last season, both players can reach those marks in Week 5. The Texans face the Colts that week, but Wayne is now a free agent.

Also of note: Wayne needs 783 receiving yards to pass Gonzalez for fifth all-time in NFL history (recorded 779 last season).

And Antonio Gates needs one touchdown reception to bring his career total to 100 and become the ninth player overall in NFL history with 100 touchdown receptions. The Chargers host the Lions in Week 1.

Defense: Century mark for sacks

Mario Williams needs 9.0 sacks and Elvis Dumervil needs 10.0 sacks to reach 100.0 for their careers. Based on their sacks per game last season, Williams would reach it in Week 11 on Monday Night Football at the Patriots, while Dumervil would do so in Week 11 against the Rams.

Currently, there are 31 players who have reached 100 career sacks since the stat became official in 1982.