TheSTN – NFL: Halfway Home – AFC Mideseason Projection

BALTIMORE: QB JOE FLACCO looks to become the first quarterback to start a postseason game in each of his first five seasons in the Super Bowl era. Flacco, who has 1,990 passing yards, is within reach to join VINNY TESTAVERDE (4,177 in 1996) as the only players in Ravens history to pass for 4,000 yards…RB RAY RICE has 873 scrimmage yards (622 rushing; 251 receiving) and aims to join Pro Football Hall of Famer MARSHALL FAULK (four) as the only players to register at least 1,000 rushing yards and 700 receiving yards in three different seasons…WR TORREY SMITH is on pace (10) to become the second Raven to reach double-digit touchdown receptions (MICHAEL JACKSON, 14 in 1996).

BUFFALO: QB RYAN FITZPATRICK is on track (1,674; 3,348) to pass for 3,000 yards for the third consecutive season in Buffalo. Fitzpatrick can join Pro Football Hall of Famer JIM KELLY (five) as the only players to pass for 3,000 yards in three straight seasons in Bills history…RB C.J. SPILLER, who averages an NFL-best 7.2 yards per carry, can challenge Pro Football Hall of Famer JIM BROWN (6.4 in 1963) for the highest yards-per-carry average in a single season in NFL history (minimum 200 attempts)…WR STEVIE JOHNSON, who has a team-high 416 yards this season, can become the first Bills wide receiver to post three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons…Bills newcomer DE MARIO WILLIAMS (4.5 sacks) aims to record at least 10 sacks for third time in his career (14 in 2007; 12 in 2008).

CINCINNATI: A second-round pick in 2011, QB ANDY DALTON has passed for 2,130 yards this season and is on target (4,260) to surpass CARSON PALMER (4,131 in 2007) for the most passing yards in a single season in Bengals history…Through Week 9, second-year WR A.J. GREEN ranks fourth in the AFC with 735 receiving yards and is on track (1,470) for the most receiving yards in a season in club annals (CHAD JOHNSON, 1,440). Green (51) needs 15 catches to surpass his rookie total (65) from a year ago…On defense, DT GENO ATKINS is on pace (seven; 14) for the most sacks by a Bengal (EDDIE EDWARDS, 13 in 1983).

CLEVELAND: The Browns have committed to building through the NFL Draft, and that begins with 2012 first-round picks TRENT RICHARDSON (No. 3 overall) and BRANDON WEEDEN (No. 22 overall). Richardson leads AFC rookies with 575 rushing yards and is on pace (1,022) to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer JIM BROWN (942 in 1957) for the most rushing yards by a Browns rookie. Weeden, who has 2,088 passing yards with nine touchdowns through nine games, needs 360 passing yards and seven TDs to set the Browns’ all-time rookie records for passing yards and touchdowns (TIM COUCH, 2,447 passing yards; 15 TD passes)…Veteran LB D’QWELL JACKSON leads the team with 70 tackles and is on target to reach 100+ tackles in consecutive seasons (158 tackles in 2011).

DENVER: Four-time MVP QB PEYTON MANNING has 2,404 passing yards and is on pace (4,808) for the most single-season passing yards in Broncos history (JAY CUTLER, 4,526). Manning’s 11 4,000-yard passing seasons are already an NFL record. Manning has 419 career touchdown passes and needs two more to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (420) for the second-most TD passes all-time…WRs ERIC DECKER (583; 1,166) and DEMARYIUS THOMAS (756; 1,512) are on track to join ED MC CAFFREY (1,317 in 2000) and ROD SMITH (1,602) and Pro Football Hall of Famer SHANNON SHARPE (1,107 in 1997) and Smith (1,180) as only the third duo to register 1,100 receiving yards apiece in a season in club history…LB VON MILLER is on track (nine; 18) to surpass teammate ELVIS DUMERVIL (17 in 2009) for the most sacks in a season by a Bronco since the statistic became official in 1982.

HOUSTON: The Texans are 7-1 for the first time in franchise history and focused on a deep postseason run…QB MATT SCHAUB has won 11 of his past 12 starts and hopes to make his first career playoff appearance…RB ARIAN FOSTER, who has 847 scrimmage yards with 11 total touchdowns aims to join THURMAN THOMAS (four), MARSHALL FAULK (three), TERRELL DAVIS (three) and LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON (three) as the only players in NFL history with three consecutive seasons with 1,800+ scrimmage yards and 12+ touchdowns…On defense, DE J.J. WATT has an NFL-best 10.5 sacks in eight games and is on track (21) to challenge MICHAEL STRAHAN (22.5) for the NFL’s single-season sack record.

INDIANAPOLIS: The No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, QB ANDREW LUCK has completed 190 of 336 passes for 2,404 yards and is on pace for the most completions (380), attempts (672) and passing yards (4,808) by a rookie all-time…Veteran WR REGGIE WAYNE has an NFL-best 835 receiving yards this season and is on track (1,670) for the second-most receiving yards in a season in franchise history (MARVIN HARRISON, 1,722 in 2002). Wayne can also record his fourth season with 100+ receptions and 1,000+ receiving yards in his career…All-Star LB ROBERT MATHIS has six sacks and aims to reach double-digit sacks for the fifth time in his career.

JACKSONVILLE: QB BLAINE GABBERT continues his development as an NFL quarterback under the direction of new head coach MIKE MULARKEY. Gabbert has 1,429 passing yards and aims to become the first Jaguar to throw for 3,000 passing yards since 2009 (DAVID GARRARD, 3,597)…Second-year WR CECIL SHORTS has a team-best 456 receiving yards and can become the first Jaguars player to reach the 1,000-yard mark since 2005 (JIMMY SMITH, 1,023)…CB DEREK COX has a team-high two interceptions this season and aims to lead the club in interceptions for the third time since entering the NFL in 2009…LB PAUL POSLUSZNY has 62 tackles and is on pace (132) to register 100+ tackles for the fifth consecutive season.

KANSAS CITY: Sixth-year WR DWAYNE BOWE has 571 receiving yards and is on pace (1,142) to record 1,000 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons. Bowe would become the first Chief with 1,000+ receiving yards in three consecutive years. RB JAMAAL CHARLES has rushed for 634 yards and is on target (1,268) to surpass 1,200 rushing yards for the second time of his career (1,467 in 2010)…On defense,LBs TAMBA HALI (five) and JUSTIN HOUSTON (six) aim to become the first Chiefs duo since NEIL SMITH (11.5) and Pro Football Hall of Famer DERRICK THOMAS (11) in 1994 to each register double-digit sacks.

MIAMI: Selected eighth overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, QB RYAN TANNEHILL became the first Dolphins rookie quarterback to start the club’s first game of the season. Tannehill (1,762) needs 449 passing yards to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (2,210 in 1983) for the most passing yards by a rookie in Dolphins history. Tannehill (142) also needs 35 completions for the most by a rookie in club annals (DAVID WOODLEY, 176)…In his second season with Miami, RB REGGIE BUSH is on pace (534; 1,068) to become the first Dolphin to reach 1,000 rushing yards in consecutive seasons since RICKY WILLIAMSin 2002-2003…DE CAMERON WAKE is on track (8.5; 17) to reach double-digit sacks for the second time in his career (14 in 2010).

NEW ENGLAND: Two-time MVP QB TOM BRADY leads the AFC with 2,408 passing yards and is on track (4,816) to join Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (six) and DREW BREES (six), BRETT FAVRE(six) and PEYTON MANNING (11) as the only players to have at least five seasons with 4,000 passing yards…WR WES WELKER is on pace (60; 120) to become the first player ever with five seasons with at least 100 receptions…ROB GRONKOWSKI leads all NFL tight ends with seven touchdown receptions. With three TD catches, Gronkowski can become the first tight end in NFL history to reach 10 TD catches in three consecutive seasons…Through Week 9, DE CHANDLER JONES leads NFL rookies with six sacks. Jones needs 4.5 sacks for the most sacks by a Patriots’ rookie (GARIN VERIS, 10 in 1985).

NEW YORK JETS: QB MARK SANCHEZ is on target (1,736; 3,472) to join Pro Football Hall of Famer JOE NAMATH (3,379 in 1966; 4,007 in 1967; 3,147 in 1968) as the only Jets quarterbacks to reach the 3,000-yard passing mark in three consecutive seasons. Sanchez (10,945) needs 1,809 passing yards to surpass Namath (12,753) for the most passing yards in the first four seasons of a career in franchise history…RBSHONN GREENE (509; 1,018) is on pace to record 1,000 rushing yards in back-to-back seasons…CB ANTONIO CROMARTIE has a team-high three interceptions and can tie or lead the Jets in the category for the third time in as many years.

OAKLAND: Veteran QB CARSON PALMER has 2,355 passing yards through eight games and can challenge RICH GANNON (4,689 in 2002) for a Raiders single-season best…RB DARREN MC FADDEN leads Oakland with 455 rushing yards and aims to register his second 1,000-yard season (1,157 in 2010)…Second-year WR DENARIUS MOORE (485; 1,039) is on track to become the first Raider to reach 1,000 receiving yards in a season since RANDY MOSS in 2005 (1,005)…On special teams, 13-year K SEBASTIAN JANIKOWSKI has 19 field goals this season. Janikowski can challenge JEFF JAEGER (35 in 1993) for the most field goals in a single-season in franchise history.

PITTSBURGHThe Steelers aim for their fifth postseason appearance in the past six seasons under head coach MIKE TOMLINQB BEN ROETHLISBERGER is on target (2,203; 4,406) to break his own single-season club record of 4,328 passing yards in 2009. Roethlisberger, who has 16 touchdown passes, can also challenge his single-season franchise record of 32 TD passes in 2007…WR MIKE WALLACE has 525 receiving yards and is on pace (1,050) to join HINES WARD (four) as the only players in Steelers annals to have three consecutive seasons with 1,000 receiving yards…A veteran group of core players on defense, Pittsburgh has the NFL’s No. 1 ranked defense (262.6 yards per game) through Week 9.

SAN DIEGO: QB PHILIP RIVERS has 1,866 passing yards and is on pace (3,732) to become the first Charger ever with five straight seasons with 3,500+ passing yards. Rivers (26,151) needs 788 passing yards to surpass JOHN HADL (26,938) for second-most career passing yards in Chargers history, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN FOUTS (43,040)…Rivers’ top target in the passing game, All-Star TE ANTONIO GATES (617), needs 46 receptions to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer OZZIE NEWSOME (662) for the fourth-most career receptions by a tight end in NFL history…LB SHAUN PHILLIPS leads the team with five sacks and can register at least 10 sacks for the third time in his career (11.5 in 2006; 11 in 2010).

TENNESSEE: RB CHRIS JOHNSON (736; 1,308) is on track for his fifth straight season with 1,000 rushing yards. Johnson can tie EDDIE GEORGE (five) for the most consecutive seasons with 1,000 rushing yards in franchise history. Since entering the NFL in 2008, Johnson has an NFL-best 6,381 rushing yards…WR KENDALL WRIGHT leads NFL rookies with 42 receptions and can challenge the franchise rookie record for receptions by BILL GROMAN (72) in 1960…TE JARED COOK, who posted 759 receiving yards last year behind only FRANK WYCHECK (768 in 1998) for the most by a tight end in franchise history, aims to challenge the mark in 2012.

 

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