BY TYLER BYRUM
In Week 14, the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots will square off in a matchup with huge playoff implications.
The Patriots, however, will probably be without their second biggest offensive weapon, Rob Gronkowski.
On Friday, Gronkowski is scheduled to undergo surgery for a herniated disc in his back, according to multiple reports, making his status for next week's matchup unlikely.
Already missing three games this season, the three-time All-Pro tight end has been one of Tom Brady's main targets throughout the year. The 27-year-old is tied for the Patriots second-most receiving yards with 540 while also scoring three touchdowns.
While Gronkowski is not the only threat for the Ravens' defense, with New England having seven different receivers scoring a touchdown, the Patriots are more successful when the TE gets more touches. In games where he has 90 or more yards the Patriots are 4-0.
For Baltimore (6-5) every game has playoff implications from here on out as the team battles the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) for the AFC North crown. It will not be a game for New England (9-2) to take lightly as they tied with the Oakland Raiders for the top playoff seed in the AFC.
A Ravens win over the Dolphins in Week 13 coupled with a Patriots loss to the Rams would set up a Week 14 showdown in which the Ravens could jump the Pats to the No. 2 spot in the AFC playoff picture.
Officially there is no time frame on Gronkowski's possible return but it is expected for him to be out for eight weeks.
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