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TE Rob Gronkowski - New England Patriots

6-6, 264Born: 5-14-1989College: ArizonaDrafted: Round 2

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Photo: Mark J. Rebilas, US Presswire

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Week 21: at Atlanta Falcons

All TE vs ATL

Mark and Joe say: Good matchup. Tom Brady has posted a phenomenal set of records during his post-season performances - for example, Brady is the all-time leader in Super Bowl completions (164), passing yards (1,605) and passing touchdowns (13) - but he comes into this Super Bowl with several of his targets ailing - Martellus Bennett (knee, ankle), Malcolm Mitchell (knee), Danny Amendola (ankle) and Chris Hogan (thigh) were all limited during practice Friday, January 27 - keep an eye on how the various receivers progress/don't progress in their recoveries this week. So far during the 2017 playoffs, Brady has thrown 18/38 for 287 yards, two TDs and two interceptions vs. Houston (with two sacks taken for -8 yards and several other hits/pressures), followed by a stong 32/42 for 384 yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions thrown (with two sacks taken for -10 yards) against the Steelers two weekends ago. He threw to three main targets against the Steelers - Hogan (12 targets for 9/180/2 receiving), Julian Edelman (10 for 8/118/1) and Bennett (five for 5/32/0) - Mitchell (four for 1/5/0) and Amendola (two for 2/12/0) were sparingly employed during the Conference Championship game. Brady has found enough offense to win both games by comfortable margins, and his talents as a quarterback remain formidable. The Falcons' pass defense has averaged 238.0 net passing yards allowed per game, with five passing scores given out vs. three interceptions and five sacks generated during the 2017 post-season. Russell Wilson managed 17/30 for 208 net yards passing, with two TDs and two interceptions thrown at Atlanta in the Divisional round (three sacks taken for -17 yards), while Aaron Rodgers managed 27/45 for 268 net yards passing, three TDs and one interception thrown (with two sacks taken for -19 yards) at Atlanta two weekends ago. Atlanta was ranked 28th in the NFL averaging 266.7 net passing yards allowed per game, with a whopping 31 passing scores given out during regular season (vs. 12 interceptions and 34 sacks generated). Over the final three weeks of regular season, Atlanta averaged 19.8 fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks (13th-most in the NFL); 21.8 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (14th-most); and 8.2 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends (17th in the NFL during that time span). The Falcons have played stronger during the post-season in this phase of the game, though, as the 28.7 net passing yards allowed per game drop in their post-season average demonstrates. Brady is one of the all-time best players at his position, and he has a wealth of post-season experience. The Falcons are a young, brash defensive unit that has improved over the course of 2016-17 - but they are still suspect against the league's top talents, as Aaron Rodgers showed us two weekends ago. Advantage, New England.

Recent Game Summaries

2016 Week 12 vs NYJ (2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Gronk's day consisted of two deep shots, then he was quickly removed for the rest of the game with a back injury. This is clearly something that bares monitoring, as it has a ripple effect on the entire offense. Gronk was seen on the sidelines at portions of the game, hopefully indicating the injury isn't severe.

2016 Week 10 vs SEA (6 / 3 / 56 / 0 rec)

It was a fairly quiet day for Gronk, who took a couple big hits from defenders in the process. Gronk actually finished with his lowest target count since Tom Brady's return, thanks in part to steady coverage and a Seahawks defense that didn't let routes develop for much of the game. On a 4th and goal play, a defender definitely made contact with Gronk and the refs didn't call it, and that was probably the highlight of the big tight end's night, as the game ended thereafter.

2016 Week 8 vs BUF (7 / 5 / 109 / 1 rec)

Once again, Gronk led the way for receiving on the day, beasting his way to 109 yards. He had a 33 yard catch that had a signature Gronk moment, dragging defenders draped all over him for several yards. He also had a long 53 yard touchdown, outrunning a cornerback in a display of true athleticism. As usual, Gronk blocked well, and also set the record for all-time Patriots receiving touchdowns in his 7th season. Not too shabby.

2016 Week 7 vs PIT (4 / 4 / 93 / 1 rec)

Continuing the "he's back" theme, Gronk's highlight play was a long seam touchdown that had him beat his covering cornerback and a safety over the top. Gronk simply outran the CB, no small task, and showing his versatility, the play came from the left slot. Gronk also had a couple more chunk gains, but his reception total was lower due to the run-heavy gameplan from the Patriots.

2016 Week 6 vs CIN (9 / 7 / 162 / 1 rec)

Gronk is back, and he destroyed the Bengals for a career high in yardage to make his statement. Running free all day and whipping Bengals defenders left and right, Gronk caught chunk gain after chunk gain, and got his Gronk spike in to cap it all off. The touchdown was a short curl route with perfect ball placement by Tom Brady, allowing Gronk to go low to catch it with his hands. Gronk was also involved in a couple scuffles, as he chewed out Vontaze Burfict after Burfict's extremely dirty low cheap shot on Martellus Bennett. Regardless, Gronk looks good to go going forward, and will be a choice target for Tom Brady as usual.

2016 Week 5 vs CLE (7 / 5 / 109 / 0 rec)

After murmurs and whispers that Gronk's injury was worse than he was letting on, the big tight end came out and showed that he's just fine. Gronk caught multiple chunk gains, and though he didn't score, he rumbled his way to over 100 yards. As usual, he was tough to bring down, though he didn't blow by anyone or drag multiple defenders on a play like we're accustomed to seeing. Gronk will be back as the top tight end starting next week.

2016 Week 4 vs BUF (2 / 1 / 11 / 0 rec)

Gronk played more snaps on the day than weeks prior, but only hauled in one catch. He was in on many blocking plays, a sign he may be getting his legs under him. He should be good to go with Tom Brady returning barring a setback.

2016 Week 3 vs HOU (1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Gronk was on a clear snap count, only playing a handful of snaps. He blocked on all but one of them, and his lone target was a high overthrow in the end one. With 10 days til his next game, he should be more involved against the Bills.


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