Julio Jones: Breaking NFL record(s) on Sunday?


Julio Jones is having an unbelievable 2015 campaign for the Atlanta Falcons. Could he end up setting two huge single-season receiving records on Sunday?

ProFootballTalk’s Michael David Smith brought to light this afternoon in his post that Atlanta Falcons wide receiver “has an outside shot” at breaking NFL two single-season receiving records on Sunday in Week 17: Marvin Harrison‘s NFL receptions record and Calvin Johnson‘s receiving yards record.

Smith writes that Julio Jones will have to catch 17 passes for 243 yards to surpass both Harrison and Johnson for the all-time single season records. Jones has never caught more than 13 passes in a game, but has eclipsed 243 yards through the air with a career high of 259.

-= Related: Atlanta Falcons upset Carolina Panthers, 20-13 =-

While these totals seem a bit too far out of reach, Julio Jones will go against the worst pass defense in football at home in the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. The Saints allow 281.1 pass yards per game, 31st in the NFL on 23.2 completions per game. Essentially the Saints get beat on big plays often and Julio Jones showed that he can still stretch the field with his 70-yard touchdown reception against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in the Falcons’ shocking upset victory.

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Since Ryan overwhelmingly targets Julio Jones in 2015, as his season totals of catches (127) and receiving yards (1722) would indicate that. Interestingly, roughly a third of Matt Ryan‘s 383 completions on the year have gone to Julio Jones. Jones accounts for over 40% of Ryan’s passing yards this season. At 4,257 yards, Matt Ryan can in this potentially record-setting day throw for over 4,500 yards for the fourth season in a row. He needs just 243 against a Saints team that allows 281.1 per game.

While the offense will need to have balance to hopefully win on Sunday, running back Devonta Freeman will only need 20 yards on the ground to reach 1,000 in his first Pro Bowl season as a professional. Not that it matters, but the Atlanta Falcons could easily have a 4,500 yard passer (Ryan), a 1,750 yard receiver (Jones), and a 1,000 rusher (Freeman). I can’t say for certain that this has ever been accomplished in NFL history.

If Matt Ryan can complete 76.7% of his passes against the vaunted Carolina Panthers’ defense (23-30 passing in Week 16), who knows how well he could play against a historically bad defense in the New Orleans Saints in Week 17 at the Georgia Dome, a place where Ryan wins 70.5% percent of the time (43-18 career home record).

Julio Jones isn’t realistically going to break both Marvin Harrison’s or Calvin Johnson’s record in Week 17. However, Michael David Smith writes that Jones is only two catches and 123 yards from being second place in both seasonal records.

The likelihood of Jones surpassing both Harrison and Johnson are about as slim as the Falcons had in beating the undefeated Carolina Panthers in Week 16. However, the Falcons did upset the Panthers on Sunday and Julio Jones was a major reason for the Atlanta Falcons getting their eighth victory of 2015.

Next: Atlanta Falcons: NFC Power Rankings, Week 17

With no playoffs to play for on Sunday, why not try to air it out to Julio Jones to see just how close he can get to two all-time single season records? Maybe he will break one, maybe both.