While there's never a bad time to have a weekend off, New England's bye week falls at a particularly opportune time. The Patriots are coming off a disastrous loss to Tennessee and several players are nursing injuries that could benefit from some rest.
We'll start with a potentially positive outlook for WR Julian Edelman. He missed a portion of the fourth quarter this past Sunday with an ankle issue, but according to ESPN, it shouldn't sideline Edelman for long, if at all.
As for the rest of the Patriots, the Mass Live blog provides a comprehensive look at who's hurt and if/when they might return. One added note to this piece, TE Dwayne Allen's injury is to his left knee.
TE Rob Gronkowski is one of those players on the list, nursing back and ankle injuries at the moment. He's under contract through the end of next season, but one NFL reporter from the Pro Football Talk website raised some eyebrows when he said over the weekend that Gronkowski might retire after this season if he doesn't get a new contract.
"I think there's a good chance [Gronkowski] just walks away after this year," the reporter declared, "unless the Patriots are willing to rip up the last year of that contract and give him some form of security that is not tied to being healthy and producing on the field."
Meanwhile, plenty of media experts are offering their thoughts on what New England needs to do going forward from this latest loss.
The Athletic website lists five problems the Patriots need to solve now.
Boston.com declares that this is a soul-searching week for Bill Belichick's team.
The Providence Journal explains why this was such an uncharacteristic loss for the Patriots in the Belichick era.
An ESPN blog post looks at the challenge presented to Belichick by head coaches who were former players or assistant coaches of his.
A Boston Globe columnist writes that the Patriots' mystique might be fading as a result of the defeat it Nashville.
However, a WEEI.com writer asserts that New England's offensive woes not as bad as they seem.