Brees never threw for more than 3,600 yards in San Diego. He’s topped 4,000 yards every season in New Orleans and owns five of the NFL’s nine 5,000-yard seasons.
Drew Brees total passing touchdowns during 2017-18 NFL regular season
Over 34.5 (-115)
Under 34.5 (-115)
Drew Brees total passing yards during 2017-18 NFL regular season
Over 5,000 (-115)
Under 5,000 (-115)
Up until 2008 only one quarterback in history had thrown for over 5,000 yards in a season. Dan Marino broke the barrier in 1984 with 5,084 yards and the record stood for 27 years when two players topped it. Brees threw for 5,476 yards and Tom Brady had 5,235 in 2011 to break the long-standing record.
Brees was actually the second player to reach the milestone when he amassed 5,069 passing yards in 2008 and has eclipsed 5,000 yards five times in the past nine seasons. Once considered a monumental feat, the number has been passed seven times since 2011. Stricter rules for defenders in the passing game have been a major reason why we’ve seen the numbers skyrocket in the past several years.
But nobody has done it better than Brees. He’s the only quarterback with multiple 5,000-yard passing seasons and he’s been close on other occasions. He came up 48 yards shy of the landmark in 2014 and was 130 yards short in 2015. Brees missed a game that season and would have easily passed the mark had he played a full slate.
Sean Payton loves offense and his teams have proven that. The Saints went 27 seasons without a top-five offensive unit until Payton came on board in 2006. Coincidentally, that was the same year the Saints signed Brees to be their quarterback. The two hit it off immediately. The Saints ranked No. 1 in total offense that season and they’ve led the league six times while placing in the top-four every year but one.
The one time the Saints didn’t rank among the best four offenses was in 2010 when they finished sixth. So, yeah, they’ve been potent with the duo of Brees and Payton. And the Saints aren’t just a passing team. Last year they did something only one other club had managed to do. New Orleans had a 5,000-yard passer, Mark Ingram ran for over 1,000 yards and Brandin Cooks and Michael Thomas each had over 1,000 yards receiving.
Brees is pushing 40 now and there is no margin for error in chasing the 5,000 yard milestone. Each time he passed the mark he played all 16 regular season games. Plus, the Saints signed Adrian Peterson this offseason and he teams with Ingram to form a formidable backfield duo. If all goes according to plan, the Saints will run the ball a bit more.
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Throwing for 5,000 yards is quite an accomplishment and Brees has made it routine. Even with an upgraded backfield with the addition of AP, the Saints will continue to throw it. Cooks won’t be on the receiving end, however, as he is now a former Saint, taking the most receiving yards from last year out of the mix.
There is still plenty of talent and big-play potential at receiver in Thomas and Willie Snead. Ingram caught 57 balls out of the backfield last season and more is expected from tight end Coby Fleener. The tools at Brees’ disposal are never-ending and he will make a run at 5,000 yards. But I don’t think he’s going to reach that mark this season. Peterson will make a difference in the backfield and Brees will happily hand the rock to AP.
While the yardage total will fall below the over/under, Brees is poised to once again throw a bunch of touchdown passes. Fleener is the key to this prop. Brees likes to use his tight end in the red zone and he made a Pro Bowler out of Jimmy Graham. Fleener has the same body type as Graham at 6-6 and while not as athletic, he’s ready for a breakout after a year in the system.
Brees has more wiggle room in the touchdown pass category and he’ll likely get some freebies with the play-making ability of his receivers. The yardage total, while definitely within reach, has more areas of concern.
NFL Prediction: Drew Brees Over 34.5 Passing Touchdowns
NFL Prediction: Drew Brees Under 5,000 Passing Yards