With two weeks to play in the regular season, which players are on pace to lead the league in their respective specialties?
Drew Brees has a 199-yard lead on all other quarterbacks for passing yards and Ezekiel Elliott has a very comfortable lead (327 yards) for the rushing title, but an ailing Julio Jones is giving ground in the lead for the receiving title, with T.Y. Hilton only five yards behind Jones.
Brees has the most attempts and easily the most completions of any quarterback this season, completing 419 of 589 passes (71.1 percent) for 4,559 yards and is averaging 325.6 yards a game. All but the completion percentage look like they will hold up for the NFL lead if he remains healthy for the final two games, and he is leading with 34 touchdown passes.
Brees is a half a percentage point behind Sam Bradford’s 71.6 completion percentage and five big plays away from the lead for pass plays over 25 yards, with Kirk Cousins and Matt Ryan tied with 38 of those, according to STATS LLC. Brees also has the longest pass play of the year, a 98-yarder.
In the race for the rushing title, it’s really not much of a race at all. Elliott could probably sit out the final two games and still get it. He has 42 more rushes than anyone else and his 110.8-yard average per game is best by more than 6 yards a game. He also is in command in big running plays with 47 of them that have gone more than 10 yards, 13 more than second-place Jay Ajayi.
In the receiving department, Jones’ once-large lead is dissipating because he has missed the last two games due to a sprained toe, yet still has 1,253 yards receiving and his 104.4 yards per game is 15 yards higher than anyone else.
OTHER DEEP STATS LEADERS
- With Jones doing so well for the Atlanta Falcons, Matt Ryan has a healthy lead in passer rating at 114.8. Tom Brady is next at 109.7. Dak Prescott, Brees and Aaron Rodgers are the only other QBs with a rating above 100.
- Among quarterbacks still playing, Brady has the best interception percentage at 0.5 percent, while Bradford and Prescott are at 0.9.
- No quarterback has been sacked more than Tyrod Taylor’s 40 times, but Carson Palmer is second with 38.
- Bradford has the best fourth-quarter completion percentage at 75.9 and the best percentage on first-and-10, completing 76.6 percent of those.
- Philip Rivers is best on third-and-long situations, converting 40 percent of those into first downs when it is third-and-8 or more. Brees is second at 37.5 percent.
- Among active starters, Derek Carr is best on sacks per pass attempt, getting sacked only 2.8 percent of the time.
- Brees has the most yards after catch among his receivers, with 2,130 of his yards coming that way.
- No one is even close to Elliott’s 88 rushing first downs. Second place is David Johnson with 62. Elliott is also the easy leader with 1,028 rushing yards on first-and-10. Imagine that: He’s a 1,000-yard rusher on first down alone.
- Ajayi has been stuffed for zero or negative yardage 35 times, the most in the NFL this year.
- Carlos Hyde has been the most efficient runner on third-and-short (less than 3 yards), converting 88.9 percent of those into first downs.
- QB Taylor and RB Jalen Richard are tied for average yards per carry in the second halves of games at 6.2.
- Le'Veon Bell has the most yards after catch with 667 and Johnson is second at 614.
- Amari Cooper and Hilton are tied for 13 catches of more than 25 yards, but Antonio Brown, Brandin Cooks, DeSean Jackson and Jarvis Landry all have 12 apiece. Cooks has the longest reception this year, a 98-yarder in Week 1.
- Nobody has more targets than Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans at 154. Brown is second with 143 and Odell Beckham Jr. has 142. Evans also has a healthy lead with 72 catches for first downs, with 26 of those coming on third downs and nine of those coming on third-and-8 or more.
- Jordy Nelson is the easy leader with 17 catches in the red zone. Nelson also has the most first-half touchdown catches with 10.
- Beckham Jr. and Dez Bryant are tied with six second-half touchdown receptions.
- LeSean McCoy has the highest percentage (88) of passes caught.
- Michael Crabtree and Brandon Marshall have the most dropped passes at eight apiece.
- The NFL has 10 players with 10 or more sacks, but Atlanta’s Vic Beasley has 14½ as the leader. Denver’s Von Miller is second with 13½. Beasley also leads the NFL with six forced fumbles.
- Seattle’s Bobby Wagner is the tackles leader with 145, followed by Dallas’ Sean Lee with 140.
- San Diego’s Casey Hayward leads the NFL with seven interceptions. Four players – HaHa Clinton-Dix, Landon Collins, Stephon Gilmore and Marcus Peters – are tied for second with five interceptions.
- Brent Grimes and Hayward are tied for the lead in passes defensed at 19 apiece.