Rob Gronkowski has been very productive over his last three games. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)
FOXBORO — With the Patriots 6-1 and the Bills 4-3, the AFC East could be on the line this Sunday in Buffalo with either the Patriots pulling away, or the Bills making things interesting, especially with the Bills beating the Patriots earlier this season.
“Division games are huge, especially division games on the road – an even bigger game,” tight end Rob Gronkowski said Thursday. “They’re crucial. They’re in your division. You always want to go out and play your division tough. The Bills, they’re always ready, they’re always prepared every single time we play them. It’s a four quarter game every single time. It always goes down to the last few minutes or the last play every single time we play them.
“Definitely one of the biggest games of the year so far going on the road versus a division team. The atmosphere is going to be loud and they already beat us too here. So it’s going to be a big game.”
The last time the two teams met there was a pregame scuffle between the two teams. Even though the Bills players say they won’t be afraid to retaliate, Gronkowski doesn’t think there will be an issue.
“We really haven’t talked about that since it happened and I’m sure there’s going to be no problems this week on either side of the ball,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of respect for the Buffalo Bills, got a lot of respect for the organization. I just don’t see any problems happening this game really. There’s a lot of energy that needs to be focused on the game I would say on both sides of the ball.”
The tight end appears to be back 100 percent healthy after working his way back from a hamstring injury suffered in training camp. In his last three games, he’s caught 16 passes for 364 yards and two touchdowns.
The 27-year-old discussed how he’s done a better job of taking care of his body on the field in recent years compared to when he was a rookie in 2010.
“It started coming in the last few years and everything,” he said. “I remember a couple times my rookie year I just try and ‘boom’. I remember I’d be like ‘Oh, that one hurt.’ It hurt to go one more inch. So definitely when the journey is over and you know you gave it all, you’re not going to be able to carry five guys, sometimes not even two guys. Whenever you just feel like you need to get down, you need to get down. It’s a physical game. Every play is going to be physical so save it for the next one.”
Added Gronkowski: “I always feel like when I’m out on the field I always want to have that feeling that you’re on top of your game. I mean that’s always a good feeling to go out there and have that type of confidence. Every single week it takes work that you’ve got to put in on top of your game every single week. It’s always a new week every week and it’s what I put in during that week to feel like I’m on top of my game when it comes Sunday. As of right now I feel good for sure.”