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SI’s Peter King predicts Super Bowl title for Patriots

08.28.13 at 1:23 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Peter King makes his predictions for the 2013 season in the magazine’s NFL preview issue that hits newsstands this week, and he predicts big things for the Patriots — namely a Super Bowl championship and an MVP for Tom Brady.

Writes King: “Brady’s master of the uptempo game and his team’s ability to seamlessly incorporate new skill players explain why SI is picking the Pats to win the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2004 season.”

King has the Patriots going 12-4 and finishing as the only AFC East team with a record over .500, ahead of the Bills (7-9), Dolphins (6-10) and Jets (3-13).

In the playoffs, he predicts three-point wins over the Ravens and Broncos and a seven-point win over the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.

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Patriots claim DT Gilbert Pena off waivers from Packers

08.27.13 at 10:15 pm ET
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The Patriots added to their depth at defensive tackle on Tuesday by claiming Gilbert Pena off waivers. The 6-foot-4, 317-pounder out of Ole Miss was originally signed by the Packers, but was recently cut loose. The Patriots waived injured offensive lineman Brice Schwab to make room for Pena.

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Tom Coughlin expects Giants starters to play 12-15 snaps against Patriots in preseason finale

08.27.13 at 10:07 pm ET
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Tom Coughlin said Tuesday that he will play his starters in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Patriots.

The Giants coach expects his starters to play between 12 and 15 snaps against New England in the preseason finale for both teams. That includes the No. 1 offense, a group that has struggled to this point in the preseason — the Giants starters have scored just two preseason touchdowns.

“I’d like to see some continuity and some execution, some performance,” Coughlin told reporters when asked about the offense. “I’d like to see us get the ball in the end zone, I’d like to see us do well on third down. I’d like to see our passing game, with our protection, look like some type of an efficient operation. I’d like to see progress, that’s what I’d really like to see [Thursday].

“We’re trying to get 11 guys to work together, [and that] has not been easy,” he added of his team, which is 1-2 through three preseason games. “There is, I hope, a silver lining in that lots of people have played, lots of experience, lots of guys have been in positions of flexibility. So we’ve had some things we could see, and I’m hoping that becomes a good thing.”

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Tom Brady: ‘I expect’ to play in preseason finale against Giants

08.27.13 at 8:15 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Tom Brady has always insisted on playing as much as he can, even when the circumstance and better judgment might seem to call for Bill Belichick to sit him.

The debate always comes up in blowout wins in the fourth quarter, end-of-season games when the Patriots have their playoff spot already wrapped up and the fourth preseason game.

Thursday night is that third situation for Brady and the Patriots. And nothing has changed, at least in Brady’s mind. He expects to play some against the Giants.

“I expect to. That’s how we’ve been preparing. It’s always up to coach Belichick but I’m ready to go,” said Brady, who has played in three preseason finales in the last 10 years. “I think there’s always something to be gained from the competition. You have to go out there and always be prepared. Whatever he wants to do for however long he wants to play us, that’s what we’re going to do. We’re ready to go.”

Brady said that after last Thursday’s 40-9 embarrassment in Detroit, the Patriots have responded with two good days of padded practice.

“We want to finish strong,” Brady said of the preseason. “We’ve had some good practices. We’ve had some weeks [of practice] against other opponents that have been good. The fourth preseason, really to see what we can accomplish this last week. It’s been a good week of practice. That’s always a positive.

“All the games are important, all the practices are important, all the walkthroughs are important. With the way things are now with the CBA, the limited amount of time we get on the practice field during the preseason, everything we do ends up being important. We always joke [about] coach [Belichick] comes in and says, ‘Alright guys, today is a big day,’ because it is a big day. Whatever we screw up today we really can get to tomorrow. So, every day is imporatnt and the more days we get right, the better we’re going to be at the end of the year.”

The most important thing to Brady is getting the game timing down with his new corps of receivers, led by Danny Amendola, who could return to the field this Thursday after sitting out the game in Detroit with an undisclosed injury.

“The game experience and being in there with the guys you haven’t played with is very important,” Brady hinted. “We’ve had a lot of guys, different faces, especially at the skill positions, that have to be a big part of our offense this year. So, the more time we can get under game conditions [the better]. We’re on a clock, play clocks, game clocks, different substitution packages and stuff like that. There’s a lot to do. In 10 days, we play a real game so it’s a final chance to really see where we’re at.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, Tom Brady,

Robert Kraft ‘optimistic’ workout buddy Rob Gronkowski will be ‘great contributor’

08.27.13 at 7:16 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Robert Kraft takes pride in taking care of himself. And sometimes that pride takes him face-to-face with some of his employees.

On Tuesday, the Patriots owner was working out in Gillette Stadium, getting some exercise in before Tuesday night’s Patriots Premiere kickoff gala, when he ran across one sort of famous employee.

Rob Gronkowski, who was not spotted during media access at practice on Tuesday, was spotted by the Patriots owner working out in the training room, trying to get himself ready for the season, whether or not that means beginning 2013 on the PUP list.

“I was actually was working out downstairs and he happened to be the only person in the training room and he’s working very hard,” Kraft said. “I’m optimistic that he’ll come back and be a great contributor.”

After Tom Brady, no one has been a bigger contributor to the Patriots passing game than Gronk and Kraft is hoping he begins the season with the team but knows that if he has to sit out the first six games, then he’s willing to wait.

“I’m hoping that he’ll be back as soon as possible. I’m going to let coach Belichick make that decision,” Kraft said.

Read More: 2013 training camp, Gronk, New England Patriots, nfl

Report: Aaron Hernandez used angel dust, was one misstep away from being cut

08.27.13 at 7:06 pm ET
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In the new issue of Rolling Stone, a story on Aaron Hernandez alleges the former Patriots tight end was a heavy user of angel dust and had become so paranoid as a result he carried a gun wherever he went. In addition, he cut himself off from friends and teammates, and had angered Bill Belichick so much with his actions — which included missed practices — that he was one misstep away from being released.

The story also alleges his former college coach Urban Meyer may have helped cover up failed drug tests, along with two violent incidents, including an assault and a drive-by shootout outside a local bar.

Odin Lloyd was found dead on June 17 near Hernandez’€™s home, and Hernandez was arrested nine days later. He was charged with first-degree murder and has been held without bail since. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges.

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Robert Kraft on Tim Tebow: Pats must ‘have the best 53 people to help us win games’

08.27.13 at 7:03 pm ET
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FOXBORO – Patriots owner Robert Kraft is pulling for Tim Tebow to make the 53-man roster to start the season.

He made that much clear when he said Tuesday before “Patriots Premiere” kickoff gala at Gillette Stadium that he is “rooting” for the third-string quarterback. But what he added Tuesday was that Tebow won’t be cut any breaks by the owner or head coach Bill Belichick, who will have the final say.

“I’m rooting for him big time,” Kraft said. “I’m in his corner, but I have the privilege of letting Bill make those decisions. He has a pretty good record doing it.”

Tebow survived the cut-down to 75 players on Tuesday but will he last when the final 53-man cut is made by Saturday at 6 p.m.? Tebow has not impressed in the preseason. He is just 5-for-19 for 54 yards, one interception and a 17.6 QB rating. Kraft was asked if there’s a spot on the roster for Tebow based on his character and work ethic alone.

“Week to week [in the regular season] you’re going to ask the questions, if we don’t perform up to standard, why we didn’t [perform],” Kraft added. “I think you want to make sure we have the best 53 people to help us win games during the year.”

The Patriots haven’t carried three quarterbacks since 2010, when Ryan Mallett was a rookie. Kraft acknowledged the fact they have been lucky so far to avoid the troubles of the Jets and Bills, both of whom have lost their projected starting quarterback to injury during the preseason and may have to start second and third-string quarterbacks to start the season.

“If you look around the league and see what’s happening to two of the teams in our division, I just give thanks to the position we’re in,” Kraft added.

Read More: 2013 training camp, New England Patriots, nfl, Robert Kraft
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