Every NFL season affords the opportunity for records to be broken. The 2023 season will be no different. Quarterbacks, running backs and kickers alike have an opportunity to etch their names into the record books.
Let’s look at six records that could fall this season.
6 NFL Records That Could Be Broken
Aaron Rodgers: Fastest to 500 TD pass club
If you’re going to throw 500 touchdown passes, the first 475 are probably the most difficult to attain — probably.
Aaron Rodgers has thrown 48, 37 and 26 touchdown passes in the past three seasons. Will he throw at least 25 this season?
If he throws his 500th touchdown pass within his first 13 games for the New York Jets (Week 14 on Dec. 10 vs. the Houston Texans), he will surpass Peyton Manning as the fastest to reach 500. I’m guessing he does it the following week at Miami on Dec. 17.
Who knows? If Rodgers gets to 500 in Miami, he will have three more games (Washington, Cleveland, New England) to get to 32 touchdown passes, which would be a season franchise record.
Only true fanatics would guess Ryan Fitzpatrick holds the Jets’ season record for touchdown passes with 31 in 2015.
Jared Goff: Consecutive Pass Attempts Without an INT
Jared Goff must begin his season with 79 pass attempts without an interception to surpass Rodgers (402) for the longest streak of consecutive pass attempts without an interception. Goff finished the 2022 regular season with 324 consecutive pass attempts without a pick.
Since Week 10 of the 2022 season, Goff was the only NFL quarterback to attempt at least 100 passes and not throw an interception. The streak marked the first time in Goff’s career he went nine consecutive starts without an interception.
Goff’s 2022 streak ranks as the fifth-longest in NFL history. Considering he threw only seven interceptions in 587 attempts last year — and had 18 TD passes and just one interception in his last 11 games — Goff could break the record.
Rogers set the record in 2018, finally throwing a pick in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears in a late-season game that eliminated the Green Bay Packers from the playoffs. If Goff sets the record, it will likely be in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Detroit Lions open at the Kansas City Chiefs and then play the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2. If Goff gets by the Chiefs — I’m not confident he will — early in Week 3 seems the likeliest time to break the record.
If Goff throws 74 passes in his first two games (like last year), a conservative game plan in the first quarter vs. Atlanta could ensure the record.
T.J. Watt: Second-Most Sacks In First 100 Games
What’s the deal with this mark? Pittsburgh Steelers pass rusher T.J. Watt needs 10.5 sacks in his first 13 games to surpass older brother J.J. Watt (87.5) for the second-most by a player in his first 100 games since 1982 (when sacks became an official statistic).
T.J. Watt has 77.5 sacks in 87 NFL games. He led the NFL with 22.5 sacks in 2021 despite missing two full games and portions of four others. That tied Hall of Famer Michael Strahan (22.5 sacks in 2001) for the most in a season.
In 2022, T.J. Watt spent Weeks 2-9 on injured reserve and started only nine games. How valuable is he? The Steelers were 8-2 when he was in the lineup and 1-6 when he didn’t play last season.
It’s not unreasonable to expect T.J. Watt to average one sack per game. I guess he’ll have 10.5 sacks in his 10th game. That means on Nov. 19 at Cleveland in Week 11, T.J. will surpass J.J. for the most sacks in their first 100 games.
Who’s on first if Watt’s on second? The late, great Reggie White had 105 sacks in his first 100 games.
Mike Evans: First With 60+ Catches First 10 Seasons
Is this correct? You mean, not even Jerry Rice had at least 60 receptions in each of his first 10 seasons? It is correct.
Rice only started four games in his 1985 rookie season and had 49 catches for 927 yards and three touchdowns. Terrell Owens caught 35 passes in his 1996 rookie season with San Francisco. Randy Moss caught 49 passes in an injury-plagued seventh season in Minnesota in 2004.
Mike Evans has been durable and consistent in his first nine seasons. These are his targets by season: 123, 148, 173, 136, 138, 118, 109, 114, 127. Evans has never caught 100 passes in a single season and had more than 90 just once (96 in 2016).
For those who think his lofty totals reflect on Tom Brady, let me point out that in Evans’ two most productive seasons, he had Jameis Winston as his quarterback (2016) and Winston and Fitzpatrick (2018).
Since entering the league in 2014, only two receivers (Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins) have more receiving yards than Evans.
So let’s figure Evans will hit 60 receptions in his 15th game of the season. That would be Dec. 24 against the Jaguars.
Nick Chubb: Third Player With 950 Rush Yds, 8 Rush TDs in First 6 Seasons
You wouldn’t be surprised if I told you the first two players who rushed for 950 or more yards and eight TDs in each of their first six seasons were Adrian Peterson and LaDainian Tomlinson. As general managers know, running backs depreciate quickly. But not A.P. or L.T. or Nick Chubb.
That is more impressive than it sounds. Only six players did this in their first four seasons (Chubb, Peterson, Tomlinson, Earl Campbell, Eric Dickerson and Barry Sanders). Chubb will do this for a sixth straight season, and he’ll do it with games to spare. Chubb will accomplish these marks in the Cleveland Browns’ 13th game of the season (Week 14, Dec. 10 vs. Jaguars).
It’s not asking too much for Chubb, who had more than 300 rush attempts last year, to reach 950 rush yards and eight rushing touchdowns.
Justin Tucker: Second Most 50+ Yard FGs
Justin Tucker already holds the NFL record for the highest field goal percentage, converting 363 of 401 attempts. His 66-yarder against Detroit on Sept. 26, 2021, is the NFL’s longest field goal.
Tucker has only played since 2012, so his foot has a lot left. He’ll capture most of the significant field goal marks.
Last year, Tucker kicked nine field goals of 50-plus yards and was 9 of 14 from longer than 50. It didn’t lead the league because the Raiders’ Daniel Carlson kicked a record 11 from 50-plus yards.
But Tucker scored a season career-high 142 points a year ago and made an NFL-high 37 FGs. That leads me to believe we could see Tucker do the following in 2023:
- Kick a pair of 50-plus-yard field goals in Week 2 at Cincinnati to surpass Sebastian Janikowski’s 58 field goals of 50-plus yards.
- Kick his 30th field goal of the season in Week 15 at Jacksonville to have more than 30 field goals for a record ninth season.
- Have more than 130 points for a record eighth consecutive season in Week 16 on Christmas night in San Francisco.
The next and last prediction concerning Tucker is the easiest one. Tucker will break Adam Vinatieri’s record of 599 field goals sometime in the next decade. When?
Well, Tucker is 266 field goals short. He’s about eight healthy years away, so sometime early in 2032, he’ll kick his record 600th regular season field goal. He’s 33 now and could set the record at 42.
Tucker has been money for the Baltimore Ravens since he arrived. He is 17 of 18 in field goal attempts in the final minute of regulation and a perfect five for five on overtime attempts. This season, watch him set more records.
Elliott Kalb has been known in the sports television industry as “Mr. Stats” for more than 35 years. He is a 13-time Sports Emmy winner as a writer, researcher and producer. Follow him on Twitter @MrStats50.