One man's Week 16 NFL picks ...

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Carolina (+15) over PITTSBURGH



KIRK MINIHANE

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FOXBORO -- Dan Connolly, Deion Branch and Tully Banta-Cain were among those missing at Patriots practice on Thursday on the main Gillette Stadium field. Tom Brady did report and was present at the start of practice. 

 

Also out Thursday were tight end Aaron Hernandez, defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, and defensive lineman Mike Wright. The Patriots did get three defensive linemen back as Ron Brace, Brandon Deaderick and Myron Pryor returned on Thursday. Pryor has missed the last six games with a back injury. 

 

Jets owner Woody Johnson placed a call to Patriots owner Robert Kraft this week, apologizing for the accusation by Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff that the Patriots employed a special teams 'wall' along the sideline similar to the one that led to a coach tripping a Miami Dolphins player. 

 

FOXBORO -- For the second straight day, Tom Brady missed his media availability with flu-like symptoms but surprisingly made his way to Patriots practice as he continued preparations for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday in Orchard Park. 

 

"We have to do what we have to do, whatever it takes to get Tom up to full steam," Patriots receiver Deion Branch said before Thursday's practice. "If he needs to rest two or three days, that's what he has to do."

 

Fox Sports NFL analyst Brian Billick joined guest hosts Bob Ryan and Chris Mannix on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday to talk about the Patriots and news from around the league.

 

FOXBORO — For the Patriots, their Nov. 7 defeat to the Browns in Cleveland has become a cautionary tale — ample evidence that no matter what your record might be and who’s on the opposing sideline, you simply can’t roll out there with a subpar effort and expect to win.



Mailbag time and I don't get it.



KIRK MINIHANE

BIO | ARCHIVE


The Bills had three players miss practice on Wednesday. Here's a look at their complete injury report:

Did Not Participate
T Demetrius Bell (knee)
C Geoff Hangartner (knee)
LB Chris Kelsay (knee)

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

FOXBORO — Quarterback Tom Brady, offensive lineman Dan Connolly wide receiver Deion Branch and tight end Aaron Hernandez were among the eight players who did not take part in practice on Wednesday for the Patriots. Here’s a look at the complete injury report:

Did Not Participate
LB Tully Banta-Cain (groin)
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder/foot/flu)
WR Deion Branch (knee)
G Dan Connolly (concussion)
DL Brandon Deaderick (shoulder)
TE Aaron Hernandez (hip)
NT Myron Pryor (back)

FOXBORO -- He may not have been the choice of Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs but Tom Brady was a clear winner in the fan-balloting portion of the Pro Bowl vote released Wednesday by the NFL.