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News Blitz 12/19: Burkhead could return for playoffs
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on Patriots.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the New England Patriots organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Patriots officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
One of the few downsides to the Patriots dramatic, important win Sunday evening in Pittsburgh was the team losing running back Rex Burkhead to a knee injury.
Burkhead limped off following a third-quarter carry and was swiftly announced as out for the remainder of the game, which is often a bad sign in terms of the severity of the issue.
But after Burkhead reportedly got an MRI on Monday, things sound a bit more upbeat regarding the versatile back’s health.
The Boston Globe says Burkhead reportedly has a sprained knee and could return for the playoffs. The Globe notes a fun video on social media of Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola informing a Texas Tech football player that he’d earned a scholarship.
The Globe declares that Patriots down-to-the-wire win over the Steelers looked like a dress rehearsal for the Super Bowl. The Globe writes that the Patriots are both lucky and good, which is a perfect mix. The Globe looks back at some key plays from the win in Pittsburgh. The Globe Patriots notebook has Bill Belichick comparing the finish at Heinz Field on Sunday with the Super Bowl XLIX win over Seattle. The Globe breaks down the Patriots playoff scenarios.
The Boston Herald’s Patriots report card says the team is at its best when it counts the most. Herald columnist Steve Buckley says that Patriots haters have put it into overdrive now. The Herald breaks down why the Patriots were better prepared for game-changing situations on Sunday. The Herald also looks at New England’s playoff possibilities.
The Providence Journal writes that regardless of when it ends, Tom Brady is ready. The ProJo also has info on Burkhead’s sprained knee as well as Belichick comparing the Pittsburgh win to the historic victory over the Seahawks.
ESPNBoston.com wonders if Gronkowski should play fewer snaps on Sunday against a Bills team that could be looking for retribution against the tight end for his hit on Tre’Davious White a couple weeks ago in Buffalo. ESPNBoston.com notes that Burkhead’s injury could open the door for Mike Gillislee to return to the game day roster.
ESPN has New England No. 1 in its power rankings. ESPN also looks at the Bills and Patriots getting ready for their most meaningful late-season game since 1999, the last time Buffalo made the playoffs. ESPN says Bill coach Sean McDermott is asking his players not to think about the Gronkowski hit this week.
Coming off his crazy performance in Pittsburgh, fivethirtyeight.com looks at what Gronkowski does for the Patriots offense that he’s pretty much carried in the last two games he’s played.
WEEI.com declares that Brady won the NFL’s MVP award on Sunday. WEEI.com passes along Bill Belichick on the station’s afternoon show shrugging off the idea that there is a rift between him and Brady’s trainer/friend/business partner Alex Guerrero. WEEI.com reports on the report that the Patriots are optimistic about Burkhead’s status.
NBC Sports Boston says “hubris and disorganization” led to the Steelers downfall against New England. NBC Sports Boston looks at Brady telling Gronkowski that the game wasn’t over yet following the tight end’s two-point conversion in Pittsburgh. NBC Sports Boston says that everything matters for Belichick, highlighting the fourth-quarter kickoff in the hard-fought win in Pittsburgh.
With all the football world talking about the NFL’s catch rules after the game in Pittsburgh, NFL.com has Eli Manning saying he has no problem with it. NFL.com has the winners and losers from Week 15. One of NFL.com’s irrefutable truths from Week 15 is that Brady owns the Steelers.
The Baltimore Sun details how the Ravens were watching the Patriots and Steelers play while flying back from their own game in Cleveland on Sunday.
“We all got into it, coaches got into it,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh explained. “Couldn’t believe a couple of calls. I’m screaming, ‘How can you do that?’ It was like being in your basement. It was like being in your man cave with all your best friends looking at a football game. All yelling. Everybody yelling, everybody screaming. Rooting for different teams. You know who we were probably rooting against, but that’s just human nature. But I got off the plane, and I thought Pittsburgh won. It looked like it was a catch.”