The New England Patriots may be receiving a big offensive boost when they take the field today against Rex Ryan’s New York Jets, as Rob Gronkowski appears to be on the verge of making his 2013 debut at MetLife Stadium.
For the Patriots, the return of Tom Brady’s favorite target could not come any sooner, as the two-time All Pro tight end would be a big upgrade from the team’s current receiving corps.
With Danny Amendola out, Brady will be forced to once again rely on Julian Edelman and Kenbrell Thompkins, which isn’t ideal, especially against one of the league’s stingiest defenses on the road.
Assuming Gronkowski is back in the mix for Bill Belichick and company, given his intensity and consistency, one has to think that the former Arizona star will have an immediate impact on New England’s offense.
With a career average of over 14 yards per catch, Gronkowski is the sort of big-play threat the Patriots have missed, especially without Aaron Hernandez or Wes Welker on the roster.
Last season, in just 11 games, Gronkowski hauled in 11 touchdowns and 790 yards receiving, so if he’s finally recovered from the nagging back and forearm injuries that have plagued him, expect him to pick up right where he left off last season.
In addition, his presence will open things up for Edelman, Thompkins and Stevan Ridley, especially given how much success the 24-year-old’s had against the Jets.
During his last three outings against New York, Gronkowski’s amassed 24 catches and four touchdowns, so if he’s on the field, Ryan’s defense will have to respect the threat he poses, even in his first game back.
Beyond Week 7, Gronkowski should be good for at least 600 yards receiving and eight touchdowns if he plays every game from here on out, and Tom Brady’s 6.2 yards per completion (which is his worst showing in that regard since his rookie season) will undoubtedly climb.
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