Rob Gronkowski is going to play.
At least, we assume.
Still, didn’t this propaganda video explaining his absence seem odd? Then again, what else is new when it comes to this situation.
This week’s picks
Globe staff: Three out of five pick the Patriots (New England by 3 ½).
Don Banks, Sports Illustrated: Patriots 20, Jets 17. “No Vince Wilfork. No Jerod Mayo. No Tommy Kelly. A hobbled Aqib Talib. Other than that, this Patriots defense is locked and loaded. The Jets played New England very tough in Foxboro in Week 2, and I see the same kind of struggle unfolding in the rematch. If the “good” Geno Smith shows up and takes care of the football, New York can win this one. But the Patriots should have just enough firepower to get to 6-1 and drop the Jets below the break-even mark. You doubt me? Don’t know if anyone noticed, but I did nail last week’s Patriots comeback win over the Saints on the nose: New England 30, New Orleans 27. So there’s that.”
Pete Pricsco, CBS Sports.com: Patriots 27, Jets 17. “The Patriots beat the Jets earlier this season in an ugly game. The Patriots didn’t do much on offense. But I think they’ve figured some things out. That late-game drive last week will help get them going. Belichick will have some interesting things to throw at Geno Smith this time around. And the defense is much improved. Pats take it.”
CBS Sports.com staff: Seven out eight pick New England.
Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Patriots 21, Jets 16. “The Upset Bird was on this game like a vulture on carrion, but I just can’t do it. Even depleted and decimated, the Pats just know how to win, witness last week. And NE’s 13-10 escape over NYJ in Week 2. Now Jerod Mayo is out, and Rob Gronkowski isn’t back yet, and still they’ll win. Jets DT Sheldon Richardson this week called Tom Brady the “complete opposite” of Superman. Which begs the question, “Who on Earth is Sheldon Richardson?”
USA Today staff: All Pats.
Peter Schrager, Foxsports.com: Patriots 21, Jets 9. “ If the Yahoo! Sports report is accurate, the Patriots will be without defensive leader Jerod Mayo for the rest of the season. If history has shown us anything, the Patriots will find a way to adjust and win 11 games. That includes this one.”
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk.com: Jets 20, Patriots 17. “The Jets almost beat the Patriots in Foxborough in Week Two. Since then, New England has lost Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo for the season. Aqib Talib could miss the game, and even if Rob Gronkowski plays how much can be expected after a nine-month layoff. Some will call this an upset. Under these precise circumstances, it really isn’t.”
Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk.com: Patriots 17, Jets 7. “The Patriots have been dealing with injuries all year, and Jerod Mayo is their most significant injury yet. New England is ripe for an upset. Unfortunately, the Jets looked absolutely terrible on Sunday against the Steelers, and they just don’t look like they have the weapons on offense to pull the upset.”
Yahoo! sports staff: All Pats.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Patriots 30, Jets 13. “Now the Patriots can officially be more concerned about their defensive injuries (Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo) than anything on offense. Bill Belichick, however, will have some more good wrinkles for rookie QB Geno Smith after breaking down the first game tape. New England should take away the run and put Smith in uncomfortable situations. His more accomplished counterpart, Tom Brady, has proven he can still come through when it counts, regardless of the receivers. Still waiting on Gronk. “
It says here: Patriots 24, Jets 13. Don’t expect a repeat of last week’s dramatics.