Patriots

Our panel picks 'em: Patriots should prep Banner No. 6

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Our panel picks 'em: Patriots should prep Banner No. 6

Our CSN panel has made their NFL picks as the season opens tonight and it's unanimous: Another Lombardi Trophy for the Patriots. Plus, bold predictions, MVP choices and more.

The panel: CSN Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran, Patriots reporter Phil Perry, CSNNE.com's DJ Bean, Arbella Early Edition host Trenni Kusnierek and CSN's Kyle Draper.

THE PICKS

AFC EAST: All pick the Patriots.

AFC NORTH
Perry: Pittsburgh
Bean: Pittsburgh
Kusnierek: Pittsburgh
Draper: Pittsburgh
Curran: Baltimore

AFC SOUTH
Perry: Houston
Bean: Tennessee
Kusnierek: Houston
Draper: Houston
Curran: Houston

AFC WEST
Perry: LA Chargers
Bean: Oakland
Kusnierek: Oakland
Draper: Oakland
Curran: Kansas City


NFC EAST
Perry: NY Giants
Bean: Dallas
Kusnierek: Dallas
Draper: NY Giants
Curran: NY Giants

NFC NORTH: All pick Green Bay

NFC SOUTH
Perry: Atlanta
Bean: Carolina
Kusnierek: Tampa Bay
Draper: Atlanta
Curran: Atlanta

NFC WEST: All pick Seattle

AFC WILD CARDS
Perry:
Oakland, Miami
Bean: Houston, Kansas City
Kusnierek: Tennessee, Kansas City
Draper: Kansas City, Denver
Curran: Pittsburgh, Oakland

NFC WILD CARDS
Perry: Dallas, Carolina
Bean: Panthers, Cardinals
Kusnierek: Falcons, NY Giants 
Draper: Dallas, Tampa Bay
Curran: Carolina, Arizona

SUPER BOWL
Perry: Patriots beat Packers
Bean: Patriots over Seahawks 
Kusnierek: Patriots beat Seahawks
Draper: Patriots beat Packers
Curran: Patriots over Packers

NFL MVP
Perry: Tom Brady
Bean: Tom Brady
Kusnierek: Russell Wilson 
Draper: Tom Brady
Curran: JJ Watt

PATRIOTS RECORD
Perry: 14-2
Bean: 16-0
Kusnierek: 12-4
Draper: 14-2
Curran: 15-1

BOLD PREDICTION FOR PATRIOTS
Perry: Rob Gronkowski will play 16 games
Bean: They will trade for Joe Thomas at the deadline
Kusnierek: Gronk plays the entire season
Draper: Gronk will play all 16 games 
Curran: Patriots punt on regular season finale to take only loss

BOLD PREDICTION FOR THE NFL
Perry: Chargers will be good
Bean: Browns will be kind of not that bad
Kusnierek: Tampa Bay jumps Atlanta in the NFC South
Curran: Jay Cutler wins comeback player of the year 

IF PATS DON'T WIN SUPER BOWL, IT'S BECAUSE...
Perry: There will be no Super Bowl thanks to North Korea
Bean: You're crazy for this one. They're for sure going to win the Super Bowl.
Kusnierek: Their defense
Draper: The front seven will not be able to pressure the quarterback 
Curran: A comet strikes

WHEN WILL BRADY START TO SHOW HIS AGE? 
Perry: 2018
Bean: 2017
Kusnierek: 2018
Draper: 2018
Curran: 2020

Injury report: Branch out, 10 Patriots questionable

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Injury report: Branch out, 10 Patriots questionable

The Patriots final injury report before their showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday includes 10 players listed as questionable and defensive lineman Alan Branch ruled out.

Branch, who hurt his knee in the Monday night loss to the Dolphins, missed three days of practice this week. Among the questionable are linebacker Kyle Van Noy and defensive lineman Trey Flowers, who didn't play against Miami. Tom Brady (Achilles), Brandon Cooks (hand) and Malcolm Butler (ankle) have been removed from the injury report. 

Cornerback Joe Haden (fibula) and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (hamstring) among the Steelers listed as questionable. The full injury report:

Gronkowski quickly puts suspension behind him

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Gronkowski quickly puts suspension behind him

FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski was not focused on the past or a lengthy press conference Friday. 

Speaking with the media for the first time since being handed a one-game suspension for his hit on Tre’Davious White two weeks ago, Gronkowski spoke for less than 2 1/2 minutes before declaring, “I’m out” and leaving the podium. 

MORE PATRIOTS:

“I definitely learned about it, but I’m not really here right now [to talk about that],” Gronkowski said. “With the game Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers, I’m just putting my focus on them right now. Definitely learned from the mistake that I made, for sure a couple weeks ago, the last game I played in, but we’ve got a huge game this Sunday. We’ve got a huge game as a team this Sunday, so I’m just putting all my focus into the Steelers this week.” 

The veteran tight end said that he was glad to be back practicing and playing, but tried to shift the conversation back to the Steelers when asked about the suspension. He declined to share whether he reached out to White after the late hit. 

Gronkowski’s return will be a welcomed sight for a Patriots offense that struggled last week without him. Tom Brady played his worst game of the season, completing 24 of 43 passes for 233 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in New England’s loss to the Dolphins.