New England Patriots

Rob Gronkowski’s absence may slow Patriots down in Chicago

Tight end Rob Gronkowski didn’t make the trip to Chicago, which is not good news for the Patriots.

The New England Patriots barely survived against the Kansas City Chiefs in a Sunday night shootout a week ago. A big reason why they won the game, 43-40, was tight end Rob Gronkowski, who made several huge receptions including a big one in the final minute to help put the Patriots in position for a game-winning field goal.

But Patriots fans received bad news regarding their Week 7 game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field: Gronkowski didn’t travel with the team to Chicago, and thus it’s highly unlikely that he will be playing in the game barring him making the trip at the last minute.

The absence of Gronkowski, arguably the most dominant tight end in the NFL, might have an impact on New England’s ability to move the ball deep downfield. For the last three weeks, this offense has come to life, scoring 38 points, 38 points, and 43 points in three consecutive home games against the Dolphins, Colts, and Chiefs.

If Gronkowski wasn’t on the field during that last game, it’s hard to imagine the Patriots coming away with the win against Kansas City. It also is no secret that the Patriots have had trouble on the road this year, losing badly at both Jacksonville and Detroit back in September. It won’t be any easier in Chicago, as the Bears boast one of the toughest defenses in the league, highlighted by linebacker Khalil Mack.

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In order to keep getting big offensive production, quarterback Tom Brady will have to heavily utilize his longtime favorite receiver Julian Edelman, who will be playing in his third game back after serving a four-game suspension to start the year. The Patriots could also use a big game on the ground from rookie running back Sony Michel, who has really taken his place as the leader of New England’s running game and a pivotal part of this offense in the last few games.

The Patriots are more than capable of going into Chicago and getting a win, but the fact that they will be trying to do it without Gronkowski may hinder their plans a bit.

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