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Rob Gronkowski cleared to return

Rob Gronkowski's long absence from the Patriots' roster may finally be at an end. The oft-injured tight end has been cleared to play in Sunday's game against the Jets. The tight-lipped Patriots haven't said whether or not he'll play yet, but considering how important tight end is to Bill Belichick's offense (and how rarely Tom Brady has thrown to tight ends not named Rob Gronkowski this season), we have to imagine they'd want him in there as soon as possible.

  • What are you expecting out of Rob Gronkowski if he returns this Sunday against the Jets?

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    Discuss (Total votes: 7,805)

  • Do you fault Rob Gronkowski for sitting out so far this season?

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      19%
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      81%

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  • Where does the Patriots' offense rank with Rob Gronkowski?

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      23%
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    Discuss (Total votes: 45,886)

  • Will Rob Gronkowski ever play a full season for the Patriots again?

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    Discuss (Total votes: 7,445)

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Jim Rogash/Getty Images

NFL Week 7 -- Patriots at Jets

Finally, an easy one for the New England Patriots. Except ... a few weeks back, the New York Jets looked more like a rival than a doormat in a 13-10 Patriots home win. In other words, it's hard to know what to expect from Rex Ryan's team, which has been intermittently good and bad in a 3-3 start. Meanwhile, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady's crew is coming off a comeback win over the New Orleans Saints, one that has fans thinking Super Bowl (if they can get the Rob Gronkowski injury thing sorted, of course).

Which team will win the Patriots-Jets game in New Jersey?

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    85%
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  • Are the Patriots legitimate Super Bowl contenders?

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      39%
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    Discuss (Total votes: 60,949)

  • If you were a Patriots fan, would you fault Rob Gronkowski for the way he's handling his injury situation this season?

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      28%
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    Discuss (Total votes: 4,983)

  • What grade would you give Geno Smith through his first six starts?

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  • If you were a Jets fan, which more reflects how you would feel about the team's 3-3 start?

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    Discuss (Total votes: 4,942)

  • Will Rex Ryan coach the Jets in 2014?

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      56%
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    Discuss (Total votes: 4,812)

  • Is the NFL better off when both the Patriots and Jets are good?

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      35%
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      36%
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      29%

    Discuss (Total votes: 4,850)

  • How much of an impact will newly signed KR/PR Josh Cribbs make for the Jets?

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      12%
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      64%
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    Discuss (Total votes: 26,933)

  • Who is a bigger loss on defense for the Patriots?

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    Discuss (Total votes: 30,709)

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The Patriots are 4-1 without Rob Gronkowski this season, but it's clear the team wants him back soon. Gronk hasn't yet been cleared to play Sunday against the Saints, which makes Tom Brady's job that much harder. Gronkowski's impact is undeniable considering his position on the all-time list of single-season receiving touchdown leaders. How many of them can you name?

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The Patriots' dual-tight end attack was the envy of the league a year ago, but due to the injuries of one and the legal troubles of another, the team has had to drastically scale it back -- Tom Brady has thrown only three passes to Patriots tight ends through the first two weeks. But they may get their best receiver back shortly, as tight end Rob Gronkowski's chance of being in the lineup Sunday against the Buccaneers reportedly is 50-50. His return would come just in time for the Patriots, who are 2-0 but had difficulty moving the ball in their wins over the Bills and Jets.

Here's a sampling of what readers had to say in our Facebook conversation on the story:

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