The 2017 NFL season begins next week and all 32 teams are finalising their preparations for the new campaign.
No aspect of the NFL is more important that the passing game and the form of the quarterback.
Success through the air can determine whether a team is surging towards the playoffs or heading for the first-overall pick in the draft.
A quality quarterback can make even a poor side competitive in the NFL, explaining the reason why the position is the highest paid in the league.
Passing yards are an important statistic in determined the success of an offense, although it does not necessarily mean that the team will be a quality outfit.
Drew Brees has led the league in passing for the last three seasons. However, the New Orleans Saints have not reached the playoffs in those three campaigns, highlighting the need for balance.
The 38-year-old is nearing Peyton Manning at the top of the all-time list and will be eager for another league-leading campaign to catch the future Hall of Famer.
We’ll now break down his odds and the other leading candidates to lead the league this season.
Though his side have struggled over the last three seasons, Brees has never allowed his standards to drop. In the 2016 season he threw for 5,208 yards, reaching the milestone for the fifth time in his career.
There have been nine times when a quarterback has surpassed 5,000 yards and the 38-year-old has over half of those. He completed 471 of his 673 passes, breaking the league record for completions and setting his own personal milestone for attempts.
New Orleans are extremely reliant on the quarterback to keep them afloat in the NFC South. However, not even his performances have been enough to lift them beyond seven wins over the last three years.
The 38-year-old will need another outstanding season for the Saints to keep them in contention in the division. He has talent in the receiving corps, despite the departure of Brandin Cooks to the New England Patriots.
Michael Thomas was extremely impressive in his rookie season and enjoyed a great connection with Brees. He should be able to kick on in his second term in the NFL, improving his already polished route-running skills – displaying shades of Marques Colston.
Willie Snead took a step back in the last campaign, but Cooks’ exit should open up more opportunities for him in the offense. With two quality wideouts along with tight end Coby Fleener and rookie running back Alvin Kamara – Brees has more than enough weapons to post another 5,000-yard term.
The arrival of Adrian Peterson in the backfield could eat into his yards, taking the strain of his arm. However, Sean Payton and Brees love passing the ball and with Manning in sight the quarterback will not want to secede control of his offense. Backing Brees at odds of +350 with Bovada sportsbook is a solid option to take.
Even at the age of 40, the Patriots quarterback remains the deadliest signal-caller in the NFL. He won his fifth Super Bowl last season with a performance for the ages against the Atlanta Falcons.
After a poor first half when he threw a pick-six, Brady found his peak form to shred the Falcons’ defense from the third quarter onwards, leading his side back from a 25-point deficit.
His offense has been strengthened for the 2017 campaign – not just with the return from injury of Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots traded for Cooks, Mike Gilleslee and Dwayne Allen along with signing Rex Burkhead. Julian Edelman’s ACL injury is a massive blow given his connection with Brady.
However, the Patriots’ depth featuring Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell hands the quarterback perhaps his deepest number of options of his career.
As a result, expect Brady to rack up the yards through the year. Gillislee could offer strong production in the ground game along with Dion Lewis, James White and Burkhead.
However, the primary focus will be the passing game. With Cooks and Gronkowski firing on all cylinders expect Brady push the 5,000-yard mark due to the talent of that duo along with contributions from Hogan et al.
The 40-year-old missed four games last season due to the deflategate suspension. Despite this setback he still threw for 3,554 yards, which would have put him on pace to be fourth in the NFL.
The quarterback shows no sign of decline – if anything he’s looking better than ever. Therefore back him at odds of +500 with Bovada sportsbook to lead the NFL in passing this term.
Since the 2011 season Rodgers has not troubled to lead the NFL in passing yards. Surprisingly the 33-year-old has not thrown for 5,000 yards in a seasob before, with his highest total 4,643 yards six years ago.
Rodgers had issues with his side’s rhythm at the start of the campaign. Jordy Nelson was in the process of his finding his feet after missing the 2015 term due to injury. Randall Cobb had issues with consistency and his health, while Ty Montgomery was forced into backfield duties.
However, Davante Adams enjoyed a breakout season and should be primed for a huge year to build off his success. Nelson will be fit again two years removed from ACL injury, and although he recorded 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns – his statistics could take a bigger leap this season.
Green Bay rarely venture into the free-agent market, but this season they bolstered their tight end corps. Martellus Bennett had a solid season for the Patriots working with Brady. Now he travels to Wisconsin to play with Rodgers and should offer a threat through the middle of the field.
The Packers have had issues with the position since Jermichael Finley left the club. With the addition of a Pro Bowl-calibre talent that can threaten in the endzone and across the field, Rodgers could be bound for another special season.
Therefore, backing Rodgers at odds of +1100 could be the option to take, especially if he gets off to a strong start.
Drew Brees To Throw For Most Passing Yards
Tom Brady To Throw For Most Passing Yards
Aaron Rodgers To Throw For Most Passing Yards