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Pats protecting the ball

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  November 6, 2010 08:04 AM

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Every offensive coach stresses it: ball security. The Patriots are no different, but not all teams are successful at hanging onto the ball for one reason or another. But thus far this season, New England has done an excellent job hanging into the ball.

Through seven games, the Pats have just six give-aways, on four interceptions and two lost fumbles. That is the second-fewest in the NFL, behind only the surprising Chiefs, who have four (three INTs, one fumble).

"I think we've done pretty well," Wes Welker said yesterday. "Especially the past few games, making sure Tom (Brady) Is going to get it to the right guy, and making sure we're getting open for him and not screwing it up by running a different route or anything like that. Make sure we're on top of everything and make sure everybody is securing the ball when we need to."

Thanks to their low number of give-aways, New England heads into this week tied for second in the AFC and tied for fourth in the NFL in give-away/take-away ratio, at plus-7.

A look at that and where the Patriots stand in some other statistical seas after eight weeks:

GIVE-AWAY/TAKE-AWAY
(take-aways/give-aways/net differential)
1. Pittsburgh - 19/10/plus-9
2t. Tampa Bay - 18/10/plus-8
2t. Washington - 19/11/plus-8
4t. New England - 13/6/plus-7
4t. NY Jets - 14/7/plus-7
4t. Philadelphia - 16/9/plus-7

TOTAL OFFENSE
1. San Diego - 426.9 YPG (111.6 rushing, 315.3 passing)
2. Indianapolis - 402.9 YPG (96.6, 306.3)
3. NY Giants - 388.7 YPG (145.4, 243.3)
19. New England - 330.3 YPG (112.7, 217.6)

TOTAL DEFENSE
1. San Diego - 260.0 YPG (83.1 rushing, 176.9 passing)
2. NY Giants - 263.3 YPG (85.4, 177.9)
3. New Orleans - 287.3 YPG (108.6, 178.6)
28. New England - 384.0 YPG (101.6, 282.4)

POINTS PER GAME
1. New England - 29.3
2. Tennessee - 28.0
3. Indianapolis - 27.6

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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