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Manning Closing In On All-Time Passing Records

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Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning may be rewriting the record book soon. Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning may be rewriting the record book soon. Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images.

On the opening Thursday night of NFL football, Peyton Manning made a major statement passing for seven TDs against the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. Before any other game had been played, Manning already had seven TDs and 462 passing yards on his 2013 stat sheet. The fun didn’t stop there. Manning’s 16th season may just be his most impressive to date. The guy is doing things that have never been done before. The single season passing TD record and the single season passing yards records are both within realistic, obtainable reach for Manning entering the final quarter of the season. The fact that the combined record of the Broncos' four remaining opponents currently sits at 16-32 only adds to the probability that Manning winds up with the most statistically impressive passing season of all time.

Passing Touchdowns

The current holder of the single season passing TD record is New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, with 50 in 2007. Ironically, the second-best mark of all-time is held by Peyton in 2004 with 49 passing TDs. If you recall, 2007 was the year Brady and Randy Moss formed one of the most lethal receiver-quarterback combos of all-time. The partnership was short-lived, but the quality of that tandem can never be put into question. Moss reeled in almost half of those 50 scores that year. (23)

This season Manning currently sits at 41 TD with four games remaining. That means he needs to throw, on average, 2.25 TDs per game the rest of the way.  He is averaging 3.42 TDs per game at this point. Even if his play regresses to the tune of 3 TDs per game, he still claims the all-time mark.

Passing Yards

In 2011, Drew Brees threw for 5,746 yards to break Dan Marino’s all-time record that was set in 1984. Tom Brady also broke Marino’s record that season. (It truly is the golden era of quarterbacks) Brees completed passes to 13 different receivers, and Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston combined for 2,453 of those 5,746 yards that season. Despite Brees’ greatness in 2011, the Saints lost to the Niners 36-32 in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Manning currently has 4,125 yards passing this season. Manning needs to average a healthy 337.75 yards per game in order to break this record. This one might not be as easy to get as the TD record. You also have to factor in the high probability of Manning not playing a full four quarters of football in Week 17, if the one seed is all clinched by then. Manning has averaged 343.75 yards passing per game this season, so if he can keep par with his average to date, he can break the record.

It will be exciting to watch Manning chase history here in the home stretch of the NFL season. The Denver Broncos (10-2) will play host to the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Titans (5-7) this Sunday.  Holes in the secondary may be hard to come by in this game, as Tennessee has given up the seventh-fewest passing yards in the NFL this season (212.6). With all this being said, we all know that Manning would trade in these records and the MVP trophy that would follow for a Lombardi trophy.

Broncos' Remaining Schedule

Titans - 212.6 pass yards allowed per game (7th in the NFL)

Chargers – 268.8 pass yards allowed per game (28th in the NFL)

@Texans – 187.9 pass yards allowed per game (2nd in the NFL)

@Raiders 253.9 pass yards allowed per game (24th in the NFL)