ESPN football writer Chris Mortensen joined The Big Show to discuss the NFL and Week 7's matchup between the Patriots and Jets. 

Both teams enter Week 7 with a 3-3 record, as does the entire AFC East. Despite their identical records, Mortensen said he doesn't think the game will be close. 

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have ruled out three players for Sunday, including running back Brandon Bolden and safety Steve Gregory. Bolden injured his knee last week against the Seahawks and didn't practice all week while Gregory, who was limited in a Wednesday walk-through, will be missing his third straight game with a hip injury suffered on Sept. 30 against the Bills. Gregory did not practice Thursday or Friday. Bolden was spotted with a crutch in a photo tweeted by Stevan Ridley, who had the running backs all wear onesies Friday as a form of team bonding. 

Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo joined The Big Show on Friday to discuss Sunday's game against the Jets as every team in the AFC East enters Week 7 with a 3-3 record.  

"We're in the middle of the pack," Mayo said. "We're both 3-3 so it should be a good game." 

Patriots safety Patrick Chung joined Mut & Merloni on Friday morning as the Patriots prepare to take on the Jets in Foxboro this Sunday.

Asked about his status for this weekend health-wise, Chung wouldn’t give a definitive answer, although he appeared to acknowledge that he was practicing.

“I’m good, baby, getting ready for practice,” Chung said.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports joined Mut & Merloni for his weekly discussion of the Patriots and NFL news.

Tom Brady has received some criticism after his performance against the Seahawks on Sunday and for his inability to close out games this season. King said the national perception of Brady still is as an elite quarterback.

FOXBORO -- Logan Mankins and Aaron Hernandez returned to practice on Friday inside the Dana Farber Field House behind Gillette Stadium. Mankins and Hernandez both missed Thursday's practice prior to return to Friday's session in shorts and shells indoors.

Mankins (calf/hip) and Hernandez (ankle) both missed Thursday after taking part in Wednesday's walk-through.

FOXBORO -- The Patriots-Jets rivalry isn’t what it used to be.

Even Rex Ryan seems bored by it all.



MIKE PETRAGLIA

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FOXBORO -- Five players, including tight end Aaron Hernandez, safety Steve Gregory and guard Logan Mankins, did not practice on Thursday for the Patriots. (All three were part of a team walkthrough on Wednesday.) Nine Patriots were listed as limited, including defensive lineman Ron Brace, who showed up on the injury report for the first time this week with a back issue. Here is Thursday's full report: 

 

Did Not Practice

RB Brandon Bolden (knee)

FOXBORO -- Aaron Hernandez, Logan Mankins and Steve Gregory joined running back Brandon Bolden and linebacker Tracy White as missing at the start of Patriots practice on Thursday behind Gillette Stadium.

After conducting just a walk-through on Wednesday, the team returned to a more traditional shells practice on Thursday in the sunny, mild weather.

FOXBORO -- Aaron Hernandez spoke Thursday for the first time since injuring his right ankle on Sept. 16 against the Cardinals and admitted that he initially feared the ankle was broken when Julian Edelman and a Cardinals defender fell on him while he was engaged in a block. As he was lying on the ground, he was hoping that he didn't break the ankle, an injury that would've knocked him out for the season.