(Follow-up 12/19: Drew Brees is still close to Marino's record.)
In my last post, I outlined four players on track to break records this year. In just two short weeks, however, that list was cut down to one:
Brees is holding steady at 332 yards per game, which will give him 5,315 for the season if he can continue that pace. But can he?
The Saints have had an easy schedule so far. He's already lit-up the league-worst Broncos for 421 yards, and the toughest pass defense he's seen so far was Washington, the 13th best in the league.
Adjusting for Strength of Schedule
The graph below shows Brees' passing yards versus his opponent's defensive passing rank. The blue dots show his actual performance in the past six games and the red dots show his predicted performance for the next 10 games.
As you can see, not only has he faced a lot of bad defenses, he's scheduled to play even more bad defenses including San Diego (31), Detroit (30), and Atlanta twice (24). He only has three games against above average defenses: Carolina twice (2) and Green Bay (7).
Adjusting his average yards per game for opponent difficulty, he is projected to finish the year with 5,111 yards. That's a hair more than Marino's 5,084 yards in 1984.
Drew Brees has played a cream-puff schedule so far and has a cream-puff schedule ahead of him.
After adjusting for strength of schedule, he is on pace to break Dan Marino's single-season passing record, but just barely.
Don't expect a big game from him this week against Carolina, but he will stay within reach of Marino's record down the stretch.
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