Playing the over-under game


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Pretty cool idea over at ESPN.com to set over-unders on player production, based on fantasy projections, and debate them in the division blogs.

And if you go right here, you can see the three set for the Patriots, and ensuing argument between a couple friends of This Blog: AFC East writer Tim Graham and Football Outsiders managing editor Bill Barnwell.

They set the numbers for Tom Brady (30 touchdown passes), Randy Moss (93 catches) and Wes Welker (89 catches). Barnwell took the over on Brady’s TD number, and the rest of the results were unders.

I can play this game.

Start with Brady. I’ll take the over, mainly for reasons centering on the red-zone offense. I’m unsure of the Patriots’ ability to run the ball down there, and the team has added guys it thinks can contribute in that area of the field, in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, in the passing game. Last year, Brady threw 28 touchdown passes, and that’s even though his three best targets (Moss, Welker, Kevin Faulk) aren’t at their best in the tight spaces down low. If the running game stumbles, he’ll have more chances to throw touchdown passes and, conceivably, now has tight ends to throw to in that area.

On the receivers, I say over on Welker and under on Moss. Moss has only come within 10 catches of 93 once (98 in 2007) over the last six years, and that’s because he’s more of a downfield threat that sees lower percentage throws. I can’t see where that’ll change now that he’s 33.

As for Welker, I still think he’s back early enough to catch 90 balls. And remember, if the running game has troubles, he’s the guy who can replace that moving-of-the-chains in the short areas of the field. In that case, he sees the ball plenty. I believe how effective the guy can be this year is the biggest question, but I don’t think that his chances to prove he can be the old Wes will be limited, because that staff has faith in him.

What do you guys think?

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