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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Rob Gronkowski back to bolster the Patriots

New England's Rob Gronkowski missed their loss to Miami due to a one-game ban
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Week 15
Sky Sports Action, 9.25pm Sunday

The game of Week 15 may prove to be a preview of the AFC Championship showdown.

Storylines are plentiful with New England coming off a shock defeat at Miami in a game for which they were double-figure favourites.

They sorely missed their suspended star tight end Rob Gronkowski in that game. Some have accused the Patriots of looking past the Dolphins with this key contest on the horizon but there will be no lack of focus in this high-stakes clash.

New England don’t take defeat well and have won their last six games following defeats. Tom Brady should be able to exploit an injury-hit Steelers defence after Pittsburgh staged an incredible comeback to beat Baltimore 39-38 last time out, but allowed the Ravens to romp for 413 yards of offence.

Gronk had 147 receiving yards against Buffalo before his suspension and has topped 70 yards in seven of 11 starts this season. He should be in business in a high-scoring clash.

Recommendation
R Gronkowski over 67.5 receiving yards
1pt 5-6 Paddy Power


The lowdown
TV Sky Sports Action
Starts 9.25pm
Venue Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Surface Grass
Weather Cold and damp, 3C
Vegas handicap New England -3
Vegas points line 54.5 

Team news
New England
Tight end Rob Gronkowski returns from suspension. Defensive tackle Alan Branch (knee) is out. Defensive end Trey Flowers (ribs), linebacker Kyle Van Noy (calf) and offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle (ankle) are among ten players listed as questionable.

Pittsburgh
Tight end Vance MacDonald (shoulder) has been ruled out. Cornerbacks Joe Haden (broken leg) and Coty Sensabaugh (shoulder) are listed as questionable, along with wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (hamstring).

Key stat
The Patriots have won and covered the handicap in the games following their last six defeats.


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Gronk had 147 receiving yards against Buffalo before his suspension and has topped 70 yards in seven of 11 starts this season
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