5 Favorites to Catch Touchdown Pass No. 509 From Peyton Manning

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Peyton Manning has thrown 15 touchdown passes — an average of three per game — in 2014. He is currently sitting at 506 career touchdown passes, two behind Brett Favre’s all-time mark of 508. At his current pace, Manning should break this record on Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers. This got us thinking: Who is the most likely target to haul in touchdown pass No. 509 for Manning?

To determine these odds, I considered total targets, receptions, and touchdown catches in 2014. With that being said, here is a look at the five favorites to catch Peyton’s record-breaking 509th career touchdown pass, in descending order.

All statistics are courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

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5. Jacob Tamme, 3% chance 

2014 stats: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 2 touchdown catches

Tamme is a bit of an afterthought in the Broncos’ offense, but he is a threat inside of the red zone and around the goal line.

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4.  Wes Welker, 12% chance 

2014 stats: 19 targets, 14 receptions, zero touchdown catches

Welker has been targeted on 9.9% of Manning’s pass attempts in 2014 while catching 11% of Manning’s completions this year. He may have zero touchdown catches in 2014, but Welker remains a serious red zone threat for the Denver Broncos.

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3.  Emmanuel Sanders, 20% chance

2014 Stats: 48 targets, 35 receptions, zero touchdown catches

Sanders has been targeted on 25.1% of Manning’s pass attempts in 2014 and has hauled in 27.6% of his completions. He may have zero touchdowns receptions so far in 2014, but he is undoubtedly one of Manning’s favorite targets and is a legitimate threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball.

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2.  Julius Thomas, 30% chance

2014 stats: 30 targets, 24 receptions, 9 touchdown catches

Thomas’s 30 targets are good for 15.7% of Manning’s pass attempts, and his receptions represent 18.9% of Manning’s completions in 2014. Thomas has hauled in nine of Manning’s 2014 touchdown passes (60%), five more than the next-closest total.

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1.  Demaryius Thomas, 35% chance

2014 stats: 55 targets, 31 receptions, 4 touchdown catches 

Thomas is Manning’s favorite target, and they have regained their 2013 chemistry in recent weeks. Thomas has been targeted on 28.8% of Manning’s pass attempts and has caught 24.4% of Manning’s completions in 2014. His four touchdown receptions are good for 26.7% of Manning’s 2014 touchdown passes.