Tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to try to practice with the Patriots this week in preparation for Sunday night's game against the 49ers, according to a report from Shalise Manza-Young of The Boston Globe.

Gronkowski has been out since suffering an arm injury (reportedly a broken left forearm) in the final minutes of a rout of the Colts on Nov. 18. He had surgery the following day. New England has won all three games since.

The idea the Patriots’ success this season has been because they’ve been gifted with a softer schedule than the rest of their AFC counterparts is one of the league’s great misconceptions. The truth of the matter is that by just about every metric, New England has faced the sternest test of any of its conference counterparts. 



FOXBORO -- In a surprising move Tuesday, the Patriots placed receiver Donte' Stallworth on injured reserve with an ankle injury and released tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. In addition, the team released OL Tommie Draheim from the practice squad.

Stallworth, 32, was re-signed by the Patriots on Dec. 4 and played in Monday night’s win over Houston. He scored on his only reception in the game on a 63-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the third quarter. He was tackled from behind and fell to the ground as he reached the ball over the goal line.

Making his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Tuesday, former Patriots receiver Troy Brown said that Bill Belichick makes a point of shutting down big-name former Patriots when they come in as the opponent. Given that, Brown said that former Patriot and current 49ers receiver Randy Moss will likely be paid extra attention by the New England defense this Sunday. 

"If there's somebody on that team that will beat the Patriots on Sunday, it will not be Randy Moss," Brown said. "He will not score a touchdown on Sunday night. 

Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday, the morning after he threw for 296 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-14 rout of the Texans. When asked how the Patriots were able to so easily handle a team that entered the game with an 11-1 record, Brady was quick to praise the work of the coaching staff in readying the players for the matchup.

In their last six games the Patriots have scored 255 points (more than eight teams in the league have scored this season) and have allowed 111.

There is peaking at the right time and then there is this.



KIRK MINIHANE

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FOXBORO -- The Patriots have a championship defense.



FOXBORO -- Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes to Aaron Hernandez and hit Brandon Lloyd and Donte' Stallworth for long TD strikes as the Patriots blew out the Texans, 42-14, in the much-anticipated Monday night showdown at a balmy Gillette Stadium. The Patriots are now 10-3 and keep the inside track for the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs. They are also now just one game behind the 11-2 Texans for the top seed in the AFC, with wins now over Houston and Denver.

CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason made his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan Monday morning and talked about Monday night’s Patriots-Texans game, the injury to Julian Edelman and more news from around the NFL.

Some in Houston are calling this game the biggest in the history of Texans franchise. Esiason said putting the game on a pedestal could give the Texans a needed edge.

Real nice seven-day stretch for CBS sports both nationally and locally, huh?



KIRK MINIHANE

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