According to Shalise M. Young of the Boston Globe, New England will keep Gronk off the field against the Jaguars in Week 16.
Rob Gronkowski will not play on Sunday in Jacksonville, according to a league source— shalise manza young (@shalisemyoung) Dec. 21, 2012
This shouldn't be stunning news: Gronk broke his arm on Nov. 18 and was expected to need four-to-six weeks to recover. Anyone who remembers how badly Gronk was limited during the 2012 Super Bowl loss to the Giants should get an immediate glimpse into Bill Belichick's train of thought here.
New England has no interest in having Gronk back for games against the Jaguars and Dolphins, particularly since the outcomes of those games could potentially be irrelevant. If Denver wins against Cleveland and Kansas City, the Patriots can't secure a first-round bye.
The Patriots do have to concern themselves with 9-4 Baltimore (which holds a head-to-head tiebreaker with New England) walking them down, but beating Jacksonville and Miami should be doable without Gronk.
New England's top priority is getting their weapons healthy for a playoff run, and holding Gronk out for Week 16 is designed to do exactly that.
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