It’s never been easier to score in the NFL.At the midpoint of the season John Franklin-Myers Jersey
, the league is on pace to set records for most points, touchdowns and touchdown passes in a single season. Teams have scored 6,440 points, 736 touchdowns and 473 TDs in the air through Week 9.The increase in offensive production follows the lowest-scoring season this decade. Teams averaged 21.7 points per game in 2017. That’s up to 24 points this season. A total of 12 teams are averaging at least 27.5 points per game led by the Chiefs (36.3), Saints (34.9) and Rams (33.2).There are several reasons scoring has soared. A combination of new rules and rule adjustments over the past few years favor offenses. The league has banned helmet-to-helmet contact, implemented a defenseless receiver rule and a body-weight rule against players making sacks, outlawed low hits on quarterbacks and emphasized illegal contact penalties.There’s also been an influx of innovative, offensive-minded coaches — Sean McVay, Doug Pederson, Kyle Shanahan — and talented young quarterbacks — Patrick Mahomes, Carson Wentz Brian Allen Jersey
, Jared Goff, among others.Five quarterbacks — Mahomes, Goff, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers — are on pace to throw for 5,000 yards. That only happened nine times previously in league history. Ten QBs have a passer rating over 100, double the total last season.Games are not only featuring more scoring but there’s been plenty of close, down-to-the-wire action. Seventy-one games were decided by one score, eight points or less. That’s the fifth-most through nine weeks. Thirty-seven games have been decided by a field goal, which was fourth-most at this point. Ten games have reached overtime and 36 teams have rallied to win or tie after trailing in the fourth quarter or overtime.Close, high-scoring games are exciting for fans Joseph Noteboom Jersey
, especially the millions who spend billions of dollars to play fantasy football. All of it is good for the league’s television ratings, which are up after declining in 2016 and 2017.More folks are also watching by live streaming. According to a recent study from Conviva, a real-time measurement platform, NFL live viewing was up 72 percent in plays and 83 percent in viewing hours over the same time frame last year.Conviva’s data shows mobile NFL plays were up 95 percent and prime-time NFL saw 109 percent growth in plays and 97 percent growth in viewing hours.Here’s a look inside the numbers from the first half:PASSING KING: Drew Brees broke Peyton Manning’s record for career passing yards last month. Brees has 72,781 yards passing and counting. Manning had 71,940.KICKING KING: Adam Vinatieri broke Morten Anderson’s record for most points and most field goals. Vinatieri has 2,550 points and 573 field goals. Anderson had 2,544 points and 565 field goals.THE 500 CLUB: Brees and Tom Brady joined Manning and Brett Favre as the only players to throw 500 TD passes. Brees has 506, one more than Brady. Manning had 539 and Favre had 508.PATRICK THE GREAT: Mahomes has 29 TD passes and 3,185 yards passing yards, the most in both categories through the first 10 games of a player’s career. He also has thrown for at least 300 yards in eight straight games Jack Youngblood Jersey
, one away from setting the record he currently shares with Andrew Luck.THIELEN’S CHASE: Adam Thielen became the first player to have eight 100-yard receiving games to start a season, tying Calvin Johnson for the longest streak of such games. The former undrafted wide receiver has 78 catches for the Vikings. He’s on pace to challenge Marvin Harrison’s single-season record of 143.GURLEY GETS IN: Todd Gurley has 16 touchdowns — 12 rushing and four receiving — for the Rams. He’s on pace for 28. The record is 31 by Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson.KIRK COMPLETIONS: Kirk Cousins became the first player to complete at least 30 passes in four consecutive games. Before the season, Cousins became the first player to sign a fully guaranteed contract when the Vikings gave him $84 million for three seasons.FIRST MISS: Justin Tucker had made all 222 extra points in his career before he missed one at the end of Baltimore’s 24-23 loss to New Orleans in Week 7. He hadn’t missed any kick 33 yards or shorter in 300 tries his career. With a second straight division title in hand, Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams would love to grab a few more prizes.Another one is there for the taking.The NFC West champion Rams look to clinch a first-round playoff bye when they visit the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears in a prime-time matchup Sunday.“You obviously want to win as many games as you can,” Goff said. “But if you do, it will lead to those types of rewards, and the first one we’ve done is win the division. Hopefully we can win a few more now or however many it takes to get the first-round bye and hopefully work toward the first seed.”The Rams (11-1) clinched their second straight division championship and became the first team to secure a playoff spot with their 30-16 victory at Detroit last week. It’s quite an accomplishment for a franchise that endured 13 seasons without a winning record after capturing the NFC West in 2003.It’s the first division repeat for the Rams since a run of seven straight first-place finishes ended in 1979. And besides securing a first-round bye on Sunday, Los Angeles has a chance to move closer to home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, with a one-game lead over New Orleans, which has beaten the Rams.Chicago (8-4) won five straight prior to a wild overtime loss at the New York Giants last week. The Bears wiped out a 10-point deficit in the final 1:13 of regulation, only to lose when Janoris Jenkins knocked away a deep pass by Chase Daniel after Aldrick Rosas kicked a 44-yard field goal.Daniels likely won’t be at quarterback this week. Mitchell Trubisky expects to return after missing the past two games because of a right shoulder injury.Here are some things to know as the Rams and Bears get ready to meet:ROADMAPSThe two teams appear to be following similar paths Torry Holt Jersey
, with prized quarterbacks and big leaps under offense-minded coaches.The Rams drafted Goff with the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, hired coach Sean McVay to get the most out of him prior to last season, and took off from there, winning the division out of nowhere.Chicago drafted Trubisky with the second overall pick in 2017 and hired Matt Nagy prior to this season to get the most out of the prized QB. Though the Bears expected to be better after four straight last-place finishes, a rather commanding division lead seemed like a stretch.Trubisky has taken some big strides after a shaky rookie season — like Goff, who made the Pro Bowl last year. And a prime-time win over the team with the best record in the NFL wouldn’t hurt his stock.“We know we have a great opponent coming in this weekend. … And I’m just eager and excited to get back out there with my guys and play the game,” Trubisky said.RUNNING RAMSTodd Gurley is already the NFL’s leading rusher and its top-scoring non-kicker with 19 touchdowns, but the Rams might need to rely on their superstar running back even more than usual. His backup, Malcolm Brown, is out for the season after injuring his collarbone last week. Depth running backs Justin Davis and John Kelly have little regular-season experience, but both seem confident in their ability to contribute — and Kelly is a Detroit native who won’t mind the cold Chicago weather.EXPECTED BACKTrubisky hasn’t played since a win over Minnesota on Nov. 18. He was hurt sliding in the closing minutes Orlando Pace Jersey
, when the Vikings’ Harrison Smith hit him on the left side. That resulted in his right shoulder getting driven into the ground.Assuming he starts Sunday, Trubisky will have to contend with Aaron Donald, who leads the league with 16 1/2 sacks.“You look at (Donald) and you wonder how he can weigh as much as he weighs (280 pounds) and be as quick as he is,” Nagy said. “He’s really extremely quick. He’s savvy in regards to the different types of moves that he has. He’s got power.”THROW IT OUTGoff is coming off one of his least impressive games in a standout season. He went 17 of 33 for just 207 yards and one touchdown at Detroit. Goff also threw an interception and was sacked twice. He’s facing a daunting task going against Khalil Mack and a defense with a league-leading 21 interceptions. “We’ve got to be ready to go,” McVay said. “This is one of the best defenses in the league and you see it show up on the tape.”RUN DOWNThough the Bears rank second against the run, they’ve had trouble stopping it the past two games.New York’s Saquon Barkley carried 24 times for 125 yards. And in a Thanksgiving victory at Detroit, Chicago gave up 85 yards rushing in the second half.