Even with the concerns following Sunday night's loss to the Seahawks at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots are clearly one of the top teams in the NFL right now.
Conversely, their opponent this Sunday at Levi's Stadium, Chip Kelly's 49ers, are clearly one of the worst teams in football.
As such, the Boston Globe wonders if the Patriots have anything to fear in San Francisco. The Globe has Julian Edelman looking forward to going home to play the 49ers. The Globe writes that signs are not good for Rob Gronkowski playing on Sunday.
The Boston Herald talks to Dont'a Hightower about the pride of the New England defense and comments by team Hall of Famer Ty Law questioning the unit. The Herald notes that Bill Belichick was once again very critical of football metrics and outside analytical breakdowns. The Herald has Gronkowski missing his third straight practice, while the paper also drops the Patriots down a bit in its power rankings.
The* Providence Journal passes along Belichick praising backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo, while the Patriots head coach also noted Tom Brady's obvious toughness. The *ProJo says Stephen Gostkowski is back on solid footing after a tough slump, while the paper has rookie Cyrus Jones talking about the tough lessons he's learning.
ESPN writes that Belichick simply has no time for advance metric websites. ESPN also notes Belichick's praise for his top two quarterbacks. ESPN brings 10 things to know prior to Sunday's game for the Patriots in San Francisco.
CSNNE.com says that after missing another practice, Gronkowski is unlikely to play on Sunday in San Francisco. CSNNE.com notes that when asked about a specific advanced metric the coach responded with, "What the hell is that?" CSNNE.com says the latest Patriots loss brings leadership issues on the team's defense into focus. CSNNE.com reveals that Brady was surprised to see reporters had beaten the quarterback into the Patriots locker room for early Friday morning media access as the team prepared to fly to San Francisco.
NESN.com says New England is heavily-favored in Sunday's game.
The Mercury News looks back at Brady's relationship with late throwing coach Tom Martinez.
MassLive.com has Cyrus Jones dealing with "a lot of frustration."