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Tom Brady will make his triumphant return to Foxborough, but his future Hall of Fame tight end will not. Rob Gronkowski, who was initially listed as doubtful for Sunday night's game with a rib injury, has been downgraded to out for the Buccaneers' highly anticipated matchup with the Patriots. And the news could be worse for the Bucs with NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reporting Gronkowski suffered at least four cracked ribs and a punctured lung. 

Gronkowski did not practice during the week after sustaining the injury during Tampa Bay's Week 3 loss to the Rams. The four-time All-Pro will surely be missed on Sunday, as Gronkowski already has four touchdown receptions this season. He caught seven TD passes during his first regular season with the Buccaneers before catching a pair of scores in Tampa Bay's Super Bowl win over the Chiefs

Rob Gronkowski
TB • TE • 87
TAR21
REC16
REC YDs184
REC TD4
FL0
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O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate are slated to get more playing time in place of Gronkowski. The duo has caught a combined seven of eight targets for 75 yards this season. An eight-year veteran, Brate has caught 29 career touchdowns that include two touchdown passes in 2020. A five-year veteran, Howard has 14 career touchdown receptions. 

Along with Gronkowski, Brady's favorite targets this season have been Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, who have caught a combined 35 passes through three games. Running backs Giovani Bernard (13 receptions) and Leonard Fournette (12 receptions) have also been a key part of the Buccaneers' passing attack. 

Tampa Bay's offense will face a Patriots defense that is currently ranked fifth in the NFL in scoring and second in passing. However, the Patriots' defense has struggled against the run, and is currently 24th in the league in rushing yards allowed.