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Pats' empty set full of opportunities

A smart QB and reliable receivers allow N.E. to take the risk -- often

Updated: November 5, 2009, 8:29 AM ET
By Mike Reiss | ESPNBoston.com

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Coming up empty has a negative connotation, but it's been mostly positive for the Patriots' offense.

The "empty" set has been a significant part of the unit's success.

According to ESPN Stats & Information tracking, the Patriots have run 42 plays this season out of the empty set, in which there is no runner in the backfield and five pass-catchers are spread wide at the line of scrimmage. Only the Houston Texans have run more (43).

The league average is 17 ...

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