<b>By Chad Finn/Globe Staff </b><br>You may recall, Patriots fans, that a season ago EA Sports projected Rob Gronkowski would finish with 22 receptions, 350 yards, and 2 touchdowns. No, no, that wasn't during a single game; that was for the season. Given that Gronk had more than 500 yards and 10 touchdowns as a rookie the year before, well, let's say there must have been some sort of anti-Gronk bug in their Madden simulations. But we're giving them another chance this year, and we can tell you that they are at least on to Gronk this year. So here's a look at EA Sports' Madden '13/NFL.com projections for individual Patriots. Next
<b>Madden '13/NFL.com projection:</b> 5,294 passing yards, 43 touchdown passes, 11 interceptions, 32 rushing yards.
<b>Comment:</b> Yep, that looks appropriately brilliant, doesn't it? Actually, an earlier EA Sports '13 projection had Brady at 50 touchdown passes and 8 picks—if that sounds familiar, it's because those were his TD/INT numbers in 2007—but the Madden numbers were tweaked a couple of times during the preseason. Brady is the simulation's pick for MVP. The 5,294 passing yards would surpass the career high he set last year (5,235). Next
<b>Madden '13/NFL.com projection:</b> 1,178 receiving yards, 8 touchdowns
<b>Comment:</b> Not sure why the latest projection doesn't include receptions, which is typically the most telling stat with Welker. A season ago, he led the NFL with 122 catches, 22 more than the runner-up, the Falcons' Roddy White. Welker had a career-high 1,569 receiving yards last season. The projected drop-off there makes sense with the addition of Brandon Lloyd and the continued emergence of gifted tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Set the over/under at 100 catches for No. 83. Next
<b>Madden '13/NFL.com projection:</b> 1,026 receiving yards, 8 touchdowns
<b>Comment:</b> Lloyd, who thrived in Josh McDaniels's offenses in Denver and St. Louis and followed him to New England as a free agent this offseason, ranks 27th between Malcom Floyd and Antonio Brown in terms of projected receiving yards. He's going to be better than that—he's not a burner, but he can effectively run more of the route tree than any receiver Tom Brady has had in New England, and that includes Randy Moss. Next
<b>Madden '13/NFL.com projection:</b> 1,247 receiving yards, 13 touchdowns
<b>Comment:</b> Did I mention how insanely wrong the projects for Gronkowski were last year? I did? Well, at least we can say EA Sports learned from its mistake. Gronkowski is rated the top tight end, ahead of the Saints' Jimmy Graham, who is down for 1,139 yards and 8 touchdowns. I'd like to suggest the projection this year is conservative, but given the extraordinary depth of the Patriots' passing game and the necessity of keeping one of the great weapons in the game healthy, I'd say it's about right. Finally. Next
<b>Madden '13/NFL.com projection:</b> 847 receiving yards, 6 receiving touchdowns
<b>Comment:</b> With health, he'll surpass this. Hernandez is ranked eighth among tight ends, but Patriots fans know he's not defined by any particular position. Hernandez is one of the most versatile offensive players in the league—he will accumulate some rushing yards, EA Sports—and he went 79-910-7 last year despite missing two games. 100-1,100-10 isn't out of the question. Next
<b>Madden '13/NFL.com projection:</b> 89 receiving yards.
<b>Comment:</b> Eighty-nine yards is actually more than the versatile fourth-year player has had in either of the past two seasons. But with his duties on defense most likely behind him and just a few receivers ahead of him on the depth chart, the educated guess here is that his output is closer to that of his rookie season, when he had 37 catches for 359 yards. Next
<b>Madden '13/NFL.com projection:</b> No statistics projected.
<b>Comment:</b> The second-year receiver from Hawaii had 27 catches for 264 yards in six games as a rookie with the Rams. Given offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels's familiarity with him, and Salas's familiarity with McDonald's system, he should be a more than capable backup with the Patriots. Next
<b>Madden '13/NFL.com projection:</b> 887 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns, 124 receiving yards
<b>Comment:</b> The second-year running back is projected to finishing 25th in rushing yards, one spot behind the player he is replacing, Patriot-turned-Bengal BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Between them, Green-Ellis and Ridley carried 268 times for 1,108 yards and 12 touchdowns last year. If Ridley's fumbleitis is cured, he could approach those numbers by himself, though he probably won't get that many carries. Next
<b>Madden '13/NFL.com projection:</b> 296 rushing yards, 4 rushing touchdowns, 159 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown
<b>Comment:</b> Woodhead's production dipped last season, his second in New England, but he still averaged 4.6 yards per carry, ran for 351 yards, and contributed 18 receptions. He's not much of a kick returner, but is a capable complementary player, and the Madden projection seems just about right. Next
<b>Madden '13/NFL.com projection:</b> 383 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 73 receiving yards
<b>Comment:</b> Vereen, a second-round pick a year ago, has struggled to stay on the field. He played just five games as a rookie, rushing 15 times for 57 yards. But in his limited action, he showed an impressive burst, scoring a touchdown during an 8-carry, 39-yard game against the Chiefs in November. He has potential, but he has to stay on the field in order to fulfill it. Next
<b>Madden '13/NFL.com projection:</b> Third overall, 42 sacks, 22 interceptions, 9 fumble recoveries, 4 touchdowns
<b>Comment:</b> That third overall relates to total fantasy football points ... but still, it seems a bit optimistic given that the Patriots were 15th in points per game (21.4) and 30th in yards allowed (411.1) last season. They did have 40 sacks last year, but 20 were by the departed Andre Carter and Mark Anderson. Next
<b>Madden '13/NFL.com projection:</b> 47 extra-point attempts, 26 field goals.
<b>Comment:</b> That adds up to 125 points, which seems conservative given that Gostkowski scored 143 points a season ago (59 extra points, 28 field goals), good for third in the league. Bet he makes more extra points this year than he did in '11. Next
<b>Madden '13/NFL.com projection:</b> No statistics projected.
<b>Comment:</b> In three seasons as Tom Brady's backup, Brian Hoyer averaged nine completions per season. So nine is right where we'll set the bar for Mallett, who beat out Hoyer for the backup job in camp and has a chance to be a Garbage-Time All-Star with his strong arm. Let's not consider the thought of him actually playing meaningful minutes. Back to the beginning
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