GREEN BAY – As the NFL's first 17-game regular season comes to a close, various Packers are closing in on individual milestones that are worth keeping an eye on Sunday against the Lions.
Here's the rundown:
The All-Pro receiver needs just 22 yards to break Jordy Nelson's single-season franchise record of 1,519 receiving yards set in 2014.
Aaron Rodgers has been the quarterback for both, of course, and while the chemistry and connection with both receivers has been similar, Rodgers noted how different Adams and Nelson are in some ways.
He pointed out that Nelson's best strengths, among many, were his route-running, scramble-drill awareness and deep speed on the play-action shots the two successfully completed so many times. With Adams, he mentioned his releases at the line of scrimmage, making contested catches and creating separation in the tight quarters of the red zone.
"So two uniquely different guys, but two guys who at the core really understand the quarterback position and timing and spacing, and intricacies of the offense and how to cheat the system to their advantage," Rodgers said. "That's just a huge blessing being able to play with those two guys, and to see them shine and break franchise records is pretty awesome."
If he plays long enough in Detroit, Adams also needs just 69 yards to surpass Sterling Sharpe for third place on the Packers' all-time list for receiving yards. Sharpe is at 8,134.
Should Adams actually compile yet another 100-yard game, it would be his ninth of the season, tying Robert Brooks' team record set in 1995. It would also be the 32nd of his career, tying James Lofton for most in franchise history.
The reigning, and possibly back-to-back, league MVP needs just 23 passing yards for his 10th career 4,000-yard season. That would make him just the sixth QB in league history to reach double digits in that category.
Peyton Manning tops the all-time list with 14 seasons of 4,000 passing yards, while Tom Brady got his 13th this year, Philip Rivers and Drew Brees had 12 apiece, and Matt Ryan needs 248 yards this week for his 11th.
Aaron Jones & AJ Dillon
The Packers' duo became just the fourth pair of running backs in team history – and the first since 1980 – to both eclipse 1,000 yards from scrimmage (rushing and receiving combined) in the same season, and they have a chance to compile the most yards of the four dynamic duos.
Jones (1,190) and Dillon (1,049) currently have 2,239 combined yards, 138 away from breaking the top total posted by John Brockington and MacArthur Lane in 1972. With Brockington at 1,270 and Lane at 1,106, they had 2,376 combined yards.
The other pairs were Eddie Lee Ivery (1,312) and Gerry Ellis (1,041) with 2,353 yards in 1980, and Brockington (1,203) and Donny Anderson (1,063) with 2,266 yards in 1971.
Rashan Gary & Preston Smith
With Gary at 9½ sacks and Smith at nine, both are on the verge of double-digit sack seasons, and their value to the defense has been immense, particularly in the wake of what amounted to a season-long back injury for Za'Darius Smith.
"They're kind of the tone setters to our defense, 'cause any time you have a pass rush, it elevates the play of everybody around them," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. "Those guys are obviously really great off the edge."
If both Gary and Preston reach 10 sacks, it would mark the second time in three years the Packers would have a pair in double digits in the same season, following Preston (12) and Za'Darius (13½) in 2019.
It's still a rare achievement, though, because prior to the Smith Bros. two years ago, the last time two Packers posted double-digit sacks in the same season was back in 1993, with Reggie White (13) and Bryce Paup (11).
Already with the most regular-season victories by any NFL head coach in his first three seasons (39), LaFleur can match the most victories in any three-year stretch with one more win.
Chicago's Mike Ditka posted 40 wins from 1985-87, going 15-1, 14-2 and then 11-4 in the strike-shortened '87 season that included three games with replacement players.