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Week 6 prediction roundup

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  October 15, 2010 08:55 AM

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Randy Moss is no Albert Pujols. Let's just make that clear.

Still, taking the approach that subtracting the Patriots' deep threat is akin to removing a slugger out of the No. 4 hole in a lineup is simplistic. Of course, so is rationalizing the move over a coiffure tiff, and that didn't stop some people.

Stats may be for losers, as Bill Belichick once noted. Except when they show a trend. That's precisely what Cold, Hard Football Facts reader Kenny West saw in the Tom Brady-to-Moss connection (as did anybody who managed to watch the Jets game, really). I'd suggest you go read here, and here, because his findings are astounding.

On Monday, West noted Brady's quarterback rating this season throwing to different receivers:

Rob Gronkowski: 6 for 7, 62 YDS, 2 TD, 0 INT - 205.7*
Aaron Hernandez: 18 for 20, 240 YDS, 0 TD, 0 INT - 127.1
Wes Welker: 26 for 34, 217 YDS, 3 TD, 0 INT - 121.8
Brandon Tate: 11 for 14, 135 YDS, 0 TD, 0 INT - 107.7
Julian Edelman: 4 for 5, 14 YDS, 0 TD, 0 INT - 80.4
Randy Moss: 9 for 22, 139 YDS, 3 TD, 2 INT - 70.1

Holy Gronkandez. Think Belichick thinks those stats are for losers?

On West's suggestion, Tony Massarotti crunched the numbers as well, and got some different results by not capping the QB rating, but really, they're just as revelatory.

West chimed in later in the week with more evidence that Moss was hurting Brady, and thus, the team.

Here, he breaks down the Brady (and Matt Cassel) connection to Moss over the years.

2007: 98 of 160, 61.3%, 1,493 yards, 9.3 YPA, 23 TD, 4 INT, 121.2 passer rating
2008: 69 of 125, 55.2%, 1,008 yards, 8.1 YPA, 11 TD, 4 INT, 97.7 passer rating
2009: 83 of 137, 60.6%, 1,264 yards, 9.2 YPA, 13 TD, 8 INT, 98.3 passer rating
2010: 9 of 22, 40.9%, 139 yards, 6.3 YPA, 3 TD, 2 INT, 64.2 rating

And the interceptions, as CHFF notes, are downright damning:

In 2007, half of Brady's picks (4 of 8) came when targeting Moss.
In 2008, Cassel threw 4 of his 11 picks when targeting Moss.
In 2009, more than half of Brady's picks (8 of 13) came when targeting Moss.
In 2010, both of Brady's picks (2 of 2) came when targeting Moss.

I'm sorry. Perhaps I was waving my foam finger a bit too vigorously when I suggested the offense may be better without Moss. No, indeed, they may be much better.

Crazy? Delirious? Suckup? Fine.  

Just don't let stats - or evidence - get in the way of your argument.

This week's picks:  

Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Ravens 27, Patriots 24. "GOTW finalist. Ravens arguably best team in league, and Pats with 22 straight regular-season home wins under Tom Brady. Oh, and Bill Belichick on a 7-0 run after byes. No matter. Upset! Joe Flacco strikes deep and often vs. weak Pats secondary."

Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Ravens 31, Patriots 23. "Lost in the kerfuffle of the rout of the Dolphins and the Randy Moss trade and the very serious discussion of Tom Brady's hair: New England's defense isn't fixed, and I don't see the Patriots either covering Anquan Boldin or stopping Ray Rice. "

ESPN.com staff: Six out of eight pick the Ravens.

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Patriots 24, Ravens 20. "The Patriots are coming off a bye and must play their first game without Randy Moss. How will the offense adjust without him against a good Ravens defense? I think in this spot they will be fine. Playing a Bill Belichick-coached team with two weeks to prepare is tough. The Ravens won at New England in the playoffs last season and this is payback time. "

CBS Sports staff: Three out of five go with the Patriots.

Vinne Iyer, Sporting News: Ravens 23, Patriots 20."The odds against the Pats winning this playoff rematch aren't as long as Brady's hair. But the Ravens are just better all-around, thanks to a deep running game and swarming defense. "

Sporting News staff: Three out out of six pick the Patriots.

Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk.com: Patriots 28, Ravens 19. "Though we've seen plenty of teams lay eggs after their bye week, the Patriots will be as focused and prepared as ever in their first game after the trade that sent Randy Moss back to Minnesota. And the Patriots will want to give a little something back to the Ravens, who went to Gillette Stadium in the 2009 playoffs and took a lawnmower to the Pats' collective grass ass. Get ready for Aaron Hernandez to emerge as an offensive rookie of the year candidate as a major play in the Pats' new beardless passing game. "

Gregg Rosenthal, ProFootballTalk.com: Patriots 28, Ravens 27. "If nothing else, trading Randy Moss gives Patriots coach Bill Belichick good fodder for his "no one believes in you" pregame talks. Against Miami, Belichick pointed out how no in-house Patriots Football Weekly writers picked the Patriots to win. The same may happen this week with the Ravens hoping for a repeat of their playoff beatdown from a year ago. When the Patriots' offense shows how capable it is without Randy Moss, Belichick may ship the disbelieving writers to Minnesota, too. "

Dave Goldberg, NFL FanHouse: Ravens 33, Patriots 14. "The Ravens had never won in Foxborough until they went there last January for a first-round playoff game and won 33-14. Can they again shut down Tom and Randy ... whoops, Tom and Deion? "

Globe staff: Two out of four pick the Ravens (New England by 2 1/2).

USA Today staff: Seven out of eight pick the Ravens.

Yahoo! sports staff: Two out of three pick Baltimore.

We like: Patriots 24, Ravens 21. The way the Ravens have played against the run at times this season, the Danny Woodhead legend extends for another week.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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