Week 9 NFL Preview



The NFL’s trade deadline is today. But the trading of the league’s record for the most career touchdown passes could continue for the rest of the season.

Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY (561) and New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES (560) rank first and second, respectively, and could exchange the record multiple times in the same game on Sunday Night Football when the Saints travel to meet the Buccaneers (8:20 PM ET, NBC).

In one of the more exciting chases in sports history, the two quarterbacks this season have already traded the record three times – all in the past two weeks. In Week 8, Brees held the mark for 28 hours before Brady surpassed him again on Monday Night Football against the Giants.    

Since Pro Football Hall of Famer BOBBY LAYNE surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer SAMMY BAUGH on Sept. 23, 1962, nine players have held the all-time passing touchdowns mark. Baugh, who served as a key catalyst in evolving the forward pass into more of a staple of NFL offenses, became the all-time leader in 1943. Until Brees and Brady engaged in their chase, the shortest amount of time any player held the mark in the modern era was Layne, who spent one year and 356 days in the lead until Pro Football Hall of Famer Y.A. TITTLE captured it in 1963.​

The players to hold the NFL record for most career touchdown passes, since 1943:

Sammy BaughHOF18718 years, 341 daysBobby LayneHOF9/23/1962
Bobby LayneHOF1961 year, 356 daysY.A. TittleHOF12/1/1963
Y.A. TittleHOF2122 years, 291 daysJohnny UnitasHOF9/18/1966
Johnny UnitasHOF2909 years, 93 daysFran TarkentonHOF12/20/1975
Fran TarkentonHOF34219 years, 341 daysDan MarinoHOF11/26/1995
Dan MarinoHOF42011 years, 314 daysBrett FavreHOF9/30/2007
Brett FavreHOF5087 years, 26 daysPeyton Manning10/19/2014
Peyton Manning5395 years, 58 daysDrew Brees12/16/2019
Drew Brees558314 daysTom Brady10/25/2020
Tom Brady5597 daysDrew Brees11/1/2020
Drew Brees5601 dayTom Brady*11/2/2020
*Brady enters Week 9 as all-time leader with 561 career touchdown passes

Brady is tied for third in the NFL this season with 20 touchdown passes. He’s on pace to throw his most touchdown passes since leading the league with 50 in 2007.

Brees, meanwhile, leads all qualified passers in completion percentage (73.1) and is on pace to become the third player ever to lead the league in that category in at least four consecutive seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers LEN DAWSON (six straight years, 1964-69) and STEVE YOUNG (four straight years, 1994-97).

SPEAKING OF LEAD CHANGES: NFL games this past weekend produced 23 lead changes, or 1.6 per game on average. Two games – narrow wins by Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay – had four lead changes. Seven of the 14 games in Week 8 were within one score on the last possession.

The MINNESOTA VIKINGS, one of the teams that prevailed in a close game in Week 8, host the DETROIT LIONS on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS). Last week, Vikings running back DALVIN COOK became the fifth player in the Super Bowl era with at least 200 scrimmage yards, three rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown in a single game, joining SHAUN ALEXANDER (Week 4, 2002), CLINTON PORTIS (Week 15, 2002), FRED TAYLOR (Week 12, 2000) and Pro Football Hall of Famer MARSHALL FAULK (Week 7, 2002).

COMEBACKS ARE IN STYLE: In NFL annals, 2020 is one of only two seasons in which at least one team has come back to win after erasing a deficit of at least 13 points in each of the first eight weeks. It also happened in 2015. Additionally, at least one team has overcome a deficit of 16-or-more points to win in seven of the first eight weeks of the 2020 season.

There have been 26 games in which a team has overcome a deficit of at least 10 points to win, tied for the most such games through Week 8 in NFL history. Only the 1987 season (also 26 games) had as many. In three games this year, including the Broncos’ 21-point comeback win in Week 8, a team has erased a deficit of at least 20 points to win. Only 2011 (five) and 1999 (four) have had more such comebacks through eight weeks.

FIRST EPISODE OF MURRAY-TAGOVAILOA ON TAP: Returning from their bye, the ARIZONA CARDINALS on Sunday host the MIAMI DOLPHINS (4:25 PM ET, CBS) in a matchup of young quarterbacks. The Dolphins’ TUA TAGOVAILOA, who won his first career start last week, plays his first NFL road game. In Week 7, Arizona’s KYLER MURRAY became the first player in NFL history with at least 350 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, 50 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown in a single game.

  • Miami’s defense is allowing 18.6 points per game, the fewest in the NFL this season. With 13 takeaways, the Dolphins have 1.9 takeaways per game, tied for second in the NFL behind Seattle (2.0). Cornerback XAVIEN HOWARD, tied for the NFL lead with four interceptions, is one of four Miami players with an interception this season, including defensive tackle CHRISTIAN WILKINS. Defensive end EMMANUEL OGBAH leads the team and ranks tied for third in the AFC with a career-best six sacks.
  • Arizona’s DEANDRE HOPKINS leads the NFL in both receptions (57) and receiving yards (704).

GROUNDING OUT PAYDIRT: NFL teams have combined for 245 rushing touchdowns this season, the most through eight weeks in league history. The SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (14) and ARIZONA CARDINALS (12) lead the league in the category, followed by the LOS ANGELES RAMS (11) and MINNESOTA VIKINGS (11). The NFL’s single-season record is 487 rushing touchdowns in 1979.

  • Rookies have scored 35 of those rushing touchdowns, led by three players with four apiece: Washington’s ANTONIO GIBSON, Jacksonville’s JAMES ROBINSON and Detroit’s DEANDRE SWIFT.
  • Minnesota’s DALVIN COOK (10) leads the league in rushing touchdowns, followed by the Falcons’ TODD GURLEY (8) and the Titans’ DERRICK HENRY (8). Cook’s 10 rushing touchdowns in his first six games this season are tied for the fourth-most by a player in his first six games of a season in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers JIM BROWN (14 in 1958) and EMMITT SMITH (11 in 1995) as well as SHAUN ALEXANDER (12 in 2005) had more.
  • In addition, NFL games are averaging 238.4 rushing yards through eight weeks this season. That’s the highest mark in 32 years, since NFL teams averaged 240.3 rushing yards per game through eight weeks in 1988. Among players who have appeared in at least four games this season, Henry leads the NFL with 110.7 rushing yards per game, followed by Cook (108.7).

MOVING BACK THE CLOCKS: The NFL’s lone undefeated team, the PITTSBURGH STEELERS, travels to play the DALLAS COWBOYS on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS) in a rematch of three prior Super Bowls (X, XIII, XXX).

  • The Steelers (7-0) are off to their best start since 1978. A franchise that has won six Super bowls, tied with New England for the most in NFL history, can achieve its best start ever with a win on Sunday.
  • Pittsburgh head coach MIKE TOMLIN, who took the reins of the Steelers in 2007, has never had a losing season. With a win on Sunday, Tomlin can tie the NFL record held by MARTY SCHOTTENHEIMER (14 seasons, 1984-97) by beginning his career with 14 consecutive seasons with a record of .500 or better. Pro Football Hall of Famers DON SHULA (13 from 1963-75), GEORGE ALLEN (12 from 1966-77) and CURLY LAMBEAU (12 from 1921-32) are the only other coaches in NFL history without a losing season over at least their first 12 years.
  • The Steelers have 30 sacks and 10 interceptions this season and are the fourth team since 1990 with at least 30 sacks and 10 interceptions in their first seven games of a season, joining the 2019 CAROLINA PANTHERS, 2017 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS and 2013 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS.

ROOKIES ARE FINDING END ZONE: The DENVER BRONCOS travel to meet the ATLANTA FALCONS on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS) in a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIII, the last NFL game played in the Hall of Fame career of JOHN ELWAY, now the Broncos’ president of football operations and general manager. Last week, current Broncos quarterback DREW LOCK threw three fourth-quarter touchdowns, including a 1-yard strike to rookie KJ HAMLER with no time remaining, to win in thrilling fashion. Hamler is one of 36 NFL rookies this season with at least one scrimmage touchdown.

CHARM CITY CONNECTIONS: The INDIANAPOLIS COLTS, who played in Baltimore from 1953-83, host the BALTIMORE RAVENS on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS). The two franchises have combined for four Super Bowl titles. Rushing is deeply woven into each franchise’s DNA, and this season is no different. The Ravens enter Sunday’s game leading the NFL with 178.7 rushing yards per game while the Colts’ rushing defense ranks second in the league, allowing 79.9 yards on the ground per game.

  • Baltimore has scored least 20 points in 30 consecutive regular-season games, tied with the DENVER BRONCOS (30 from 2012-14) for the longest streak of regular-season games with at least 20 points in NFL history.

FAMILIAR FOES: Green Bay and San Francisco kick off Week 9 on Thursday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFLN/Amazon) in a rematch of the 2019 NFC Championship Game. The two teams have met eight times in the playoffs since Pro Football Hall of Famers BRETT FAVRE and STEVE YOUNG first squared off in the 1995 NFC Divisional round. Since that game, no other NFL teams have met more often in the playoffs than the Packers and 49ers.

REID CAN SURPASS LAMBEAU: Kansas City head coach ANDY REID (229 wins) needs a victory on Sunday vs. Carolina (1:00 PM ET, FOX) to eclipse Pro Football Hall of Famer CURLY LAMBEAU and take sole possession of fifth place on the NFL’s all-time wins list. Since the Chiefs named Reid head coach prior to the 2013 season, he is 89-41-0 (.685) including the postseason, tied with Seattle’s PETE CARROLL (89-42-1, .678) for the second-most wins in that span behind BILL BELICHICK (101-35-0, .743). Overall during his 22-year career, including postseason, Reid is 229-143-1 (.615).​

The coaches with the most wins in league history, including postseason:

1Don ShulaHOFBaltimore Colts, Miami Dolphins333471736.666
2George HalasHOFChicago Bears4032415131.680
3Bill BelichickCleveland Browns, New England Patriots263061440.686
4Tom LandryHOFDallas Cowboys292701786.603
5Curly LambeauHOFGreen Bay Packers, Chicago Cardinals, Washington Redskins3322913422.631
 Andy ReidPhiladelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs222291431.615

WILSON CONTINUES WINNING WAYS: Seattle’s RUSSELL WILSON leads the Seahawks into Buffalo Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX). Selected by the Seahawks in the third round (75th overall) of the 2012 draft, Wilson has 92 wins during his nine-year career, tied with PEYTON MANNING for the most regular-season victories by a quarterback in his first nine seasons in NFL history. Including the postseason, Wilson has 101 career wins, tied with TOM BRADY for the most victories, including the postseason, by a quarterback in his first nine seasons in league annals.

HERBERT HAS HISTORY IN SIGHT: Quarterback JUSTIN HERBERT on Sunday vs. Las Vegas (4:05 PM ET, FOX) can become the first rookie in NFL history to throw three-or-more touchdown passes in five consecutive games. DESHAUN WATSON (2017) is the only other rookie to pass for at least three touchdowns in four straight contests.



(All times Eastern)

Thursday, November 5
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers8:20 PMFOX/NFLN/Amazon
Sunday, November 8
Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons1:00 PMCBS
Seattle Seahawks at Buffalo Bills1:00 PMFOX
Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts1:00 PMCBS
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars1:00 PMCBS
Carolina Panthers at Kansas City Chiefs1:00 PMFOX
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings1:00 PMCBS
Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans1:00 PMFOX
New York Giants at Washington Football Team1:00 PMFOX
Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers4:05 PMFOX
Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals4:25 PMCBS
Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys4:25 PMCBS
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers8:20 PMNBC
Monday, November 9
New England Patriots at New York Jets8:15 PMESPN

Week 9 Byes: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles

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