It is hard to take away trends after two games, but the one impact the lockout appears to have had on the NFL game is that passing yards are through the roof. There are seven teams averaging over 300 yards passing per game and 12 teams averaging over 250 yards passing per game through the first two games. In 2010, the Indianapolis Colts led the NFL with 288.0 yards passing per game and only seven teams averaged over 250.0 yards per game for the season.
It is impossible to tell if that trend will carry over for the next 14 games, but the early returns say that 2011 is going to be a monster year for quarterbacks. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is on pace 7,520 yards passing this year and Carolina Panthers rookie QB Cam Newton is on pace for 6,832 yards. Both marks would shatter Miami Dolphins QB Dan Marino’s 1984 record of 5,084 passing yards.
Two games do not make a season and these players are certainly going to slow their pace as the season goes forward. Newton is only a rookie and Brady is going to have to play in some bad weather later in the season. My prediction is that Newton will not be within 1,500 yards of Marino’s mark by the time the season ends and Brady is going to approach 5,000 yards passing, but will slow later in the year when the New England weather turns cold. Still, if you like passing yards, this is the season for you.