Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski tied the team's touchdown record last Sunday in Pittsburgh with his 68th career score.
The All-Pro is healthy and hitting his stride this season heading into Sunday's trip to Buffalo, a team he grew up rooting for and against whom he's put up big numbers in his career.
But, according to the Boston Globe, Gronkowski isn't focused what will be his record-setting 69th touchdown but rather team success against the Bills. The Globe notes that Dion Lewis returned to the practice field on Thursday as he works back from knee injuries that forced him to open the year on PUP. The Globe's media writer declares that the NFL's ratings drop is an issue of quality of product right now. The *Globe *says the Patriots should ride the herd this weekend in Buffalo.
Boston Herald columnist Ron Borges says the Bills focus is misplaced this week as they prepare to host the Patriots. The* Herald* looks at the dirty work being done up front on defense by Alan Branch and Malcom Brown. The Herald's Patriots mailbag breaks down possible landing spots for Josh McDaniels if he were to leave New England after the season for another shot as a head coach. The *Herald *says Gronkowski doesn't know what's in store against the Bills.
The Providence Journal surmises that Gronkowski has learned to fight another day (or play) as he's matured as a player. The ProJo also looks at the job Branch is doing up front. The ProJo notes Lewis' return to practice and how the timeline could move forward with the PUP back.
ESPN writes about Gronkowski's focus on "self-preservation." ESPN passes along Rex Ryan's comments on the unwritten rules of pregame warmups and staying on your spot. ESPN has Kyle Van Noy admitting he was shocked to get traded to New England this week. ESPN notes that Tom Brady could notch his record-tying 26th win against the Bills on Sunday.
CSNNE.com says Roger Goodell and the NFL still hide behind the shield. With the Patriots carrying just two true tight ends, CSNNE.com has fullback James Develin keeping up with his technique at the position in case he's called upon. CSNNE.com has Gronkowski knowing when to get down at the end of a play, while also touching on Lewis returning to the practice field.
NESN.com's mailbag looks at the Patriots running back situation and how Lewis' return could alter the depth chart.
MassLive.com notes that Brady may not face much competition for the MVP award despite missing the first four games.