NFL News: Week 12 What To Look For

ZEKE HUNGRY FOR YARDS: In four career games on Thanksgiving, Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT has totaled 439 scrimmage yards (109.8 per game) and three rushing touchdowns. In three of those four games, he surpassed 100 scrimmage yards.

With at least 100 scrimmage yards on Thursday against Las Vegas (4:30 PM ET, CBS), Elliott will tie Pro Football Hall of Famers MICHAEL IRVIN (four games) and BARRY SANDERS (four) for the second-most games with at least 100 scrimmage yards on the holiday in league history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer EMMITT SMITH (eight games) has more.

Since entering the NFL in 2016, Elliott leads the league with 9,240 scrimmage yards and ranks tied for fourth with 64 scrimmage touchdowns. In 2021, he has totaled 899 scrimmage yards (695 rushing, 204 receiving) and eight touchdowns (seven rushing, one receiving).

With 101 scrimmage yards on Thursday, Elliott will become the fourth player with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and eight touchdowns in each of his first six seasons in NFL history, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers LADAINIAN TOMLINSON (first eight seasons) and EMMITT SMITH (first seven seasons) as well as ADRIAN PETERSON (first sevens seasons).

The players with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and eight touchdowns in the most seasons to begin their careers in NFL history:

KINGS IN THE NORTH: Week 12 features two AFC North matchups, as the PITTSBURGH STEELERS (5-4-1) travel to play the CINCINNATI BENGALS (6-4) at Paul Brown Stadium (1:00 PM ET, CBS) and the BALTIMORE RAVENS (7-3) host the CLEVELAND BROWNS (6-5) on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC).

With each team above .500 and within one game of a playoff position, this marks the fourth time since 1970 in which each team in one division has a winning record entering Week 12.

TAYLOR VS. TAMPA: Last week, Indianapolis running back JONATHAN TAYLOR totaled 204 scrimmage yards (185 rushing, 19 receiving) and five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving), becoming the first player to record at least 175 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns and one touchdown reception in a single game in NFL history.

That marked his eighth consecutive game with at least 100 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown, tied for the longest such streak in league history. If he accomplishes the feat again on Sunday against Tampa Bay (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Taylor will become the first player ever with at least 100 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown in nine straight games.

Taylor enters Week 12 leading the league with 1,122 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. On Sunday, he will be facing a Buccaneers defense that leads the league in stopping the run, allowing 78.4 rushing yards per game. Through 10 games, Tampa Bay has only allowed one 100-yard rusher this season (Chicago’s KHALIL HERBERT – 100 rushing yards in Week 7).

Sunday’s matchup will mark the fifth game since 2000 featuring the league’s leading rusher against the league’s top rushing defense in Week 12 or later.

Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY enters the week leading the league with 29 touchdown passes. With a touchdown pass on Sunday, he will mark his ninth-career season with at least 30 touchdown passes tying Pro Football Hall of Famers BRETT FAVRE (nine seasons) and PEYTON MANNING (nine) for the second-most seasons ever with at least 30 touchdown passes. Only DREW BREES (10) has more.

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GREATNESS IS IN THE AAR: Last week, Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS passed for 385 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions for a 148.4 rating. It marked his 13th career game with at least four touchdown passes and a passer rating of 140-or-higher, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (13) for the third-most such games all-time. Only DREW BREES (15) and TOM BRADY (14) have more.

Rodgers, the 2020 Associated Press Most Valuable Player, enters the week ranking second in the league with a 106.6 rating.

Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman AARON DONALD, the 2020 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year, has six sacks this season and has recorded a sack in two of his past three games. With two sacks at Green Bay on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Donald will become the fourth player with at least eight sacks in each of his first eight seasons since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.

CHARGED UP: Last season, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback JUSTIN HERBERT recorded 31 touchdown passes and 396 completions, both the most by a rookie quarterback in NFL history. In 2021, Herbert ranks third in the league with 261 completions and fourth with 22 touchdown passes.

With a touchdown pass at Denver on Sunday (4:05 PM ET, CBS), Herbert will surpass DEREK CARR (53 touchdown passes) for the second-most touchdown passes ever by a player in his first two seasons. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (68) had more.


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