What's your take on Gronk and Amendola? Do the Patriots need them back right away or should they take their time to recover?
Jason: Encase both of them in bubble wrap until Week 15. Those two guys have suffered enough combined injuries to kill seven Darren McFaddens. The Pats are playing in January regardless. I'd rather they make those contributions when it matters most.
Rick: I would be very careful with both of these receivers. The New England Patriots need both of them in January if they are going to have any chance of reaching the Super Bowl. With all the news surrounding Gronkowski, it makes it tough for me to think he will be back anytime soon. I know we are talking different sports, but Derrick Rose went thru this with the Bulls where everyone tells him you're fine, but sometimes the player just doesn't trust the injury. I said this the other day: I think Amendola is back before Gronk and Amendola might play this Sunday against the Bengals. Even though Cincy is lacking on cornerback, I would be careful with Amendola. This guy is obviously hearing the injury concerns on him and feels the pressure of having to replace Wes Welker. I thought the Patriots rushed him back against the Bills just to win that game and with the groin, I would make sure he is as close to 100% as possible before I bring him back, plus it allows Thompkins and Dobson (if healthy) to continue to work on their timing with Tom Brady.
Raj: I thought they would be needed urgently against Atlanta. They never played and the Patriots still won the game. That being said, the Pats don't really need them right away. So the more time they need to recover completely, the better. But it better not be too long.
Derek: I still live in this fantasy world where the Patriots will one day go undefeated again and avenge their 18-1 season. Because of this, the first loss of the season is always devastating to me and I want to avoid it at all costs. So yeah, I want Danny and Gronk back this Sunday.
For those of us who live in reality, though, it's clear that the Patriots would be well-served by winning two out of three against Atlanta/Cincy/New Orleans. With the Atlanta game in the bag, the Patriots really only need one of the next two. If those guys aren't ready to go this week, it's not the end of the world.