Week 6 picks and it's really not going well.

Nine games under .500 for the season? Back-to-back 5-9 weeks? Losing my first Lock of the Week? It's falling apart -- I feel like Henry Hill in the third act of "Goodfellas." Whenever I get ready to make a pick I look out the window and see helicopters. 



KIRK MINIHANE

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FOXBORO — Bill Belichick has been in the NFL since 1975, so chances are pretty good that by this time in his career, he’s going to run into a former assistant on the other sideline each game.



The 4-1 Baltimore Ravens returned five players to practice on Thursday, including RB Ray Rice and NT Haloti Ngata. All five were still limited by various ailments as they prepare for Sunday's showdown with the 3-1 Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Three players have already been ruled out of Sunday's game.

 

Ravens Injury Report for Thursday:

OUT

T Jared Gaither (back)

LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder)

WR Donte Stallworth (foot)

 

Limited Participation

FOXBORO — Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch said Thursday that he renegotiated his deal so he could “be around champions.”

Speaking at an impromptu Q&A at his locker with reporters, Branch talked about his reported decision to reduce his base salary to $2.2 million for 2011, the final year of a six-year, $39 million contract he signed with Seattle in 2006. The original contract would have given Branch just under $6 million in base salary for the 2011 season. With his new deal, incentives could bring Branch’s salary to $4 million.

FOXBORO -- Safety James Sanders joined running back Fred Taylor on the Patriots' injury report on Thursday as he was limited with a hamstring injury. Taylor was again the only player to miss Patriots practice with a toe injury. The team continued its preparations for the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday at Gillette Stadium with a longer-than-usual practice in shells and shorts on the upper practice fields outside Gillette. 

 

Patriots Injury Report for Thursday:

Did Not Practice

RB Fred Taylor (toe) 

FOXBORO -- Running back Fred Taylor was once again not at the open portion of Patriots practice on Thursday as the team continues to prepare for the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. 

 

Taylor has not practiced the last several weeks since injuring his toe in the team's last home game - against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 26. The team practiced in shorts and shells on the upper practice fields outside Gillette. 

 

NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger joined Dale & Holley to talk about the Patriots matchup with the Ravens this Sunday and what the loss of Randy Moss will mean to New England's offense. "The thing about Randy, obviously, is his reputation was the deep ball threat," Baldinger said. "It was real. Brandon Tate and Deion Branch and Julian Edelman and Wes Welker, the group that they have there, no one gives them that presence. The fear factor is gone from that offense."

 

On his regularly scheduled appearance on The Dennis & Callahan Show, FoxSports analyst Brian Billick predicted that the absence of Randy Moss will make things appreciably more challenging for Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Wes Welker.

 

Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins will report by Nov. 16, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. Mankins, a restricted free agent who has been sitting out since the start of spring practices because he's upset about his contract situation, will report on recommendation from the National Football League Players Association, according to several sources. Mortensen says Mankins will report to the Patriots to earn an accrued season and secure unrestricted free agency in 2011.

The Baltimore Ravens may be 4-1 and leading the AFC North but they are also very banged up as they enter Sunday's showdown with the 3-1 Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Three players have already been ruled out of Sunday's game with five others sitting out practice on Wednesday. 

 

Ravens Injury Report for Wednesday:

OUT

T Jared Gaither (back)

LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder)

WR Donte Stallworth (foot)

 

Did Not Practice

LB Paul Kruger (knee)