Rob Gronkowski

Patriots, Chiefs take long streaks into NFL season opener

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An impressive streak against the spread will end when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots host the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots are listed as nine-point favorites against the Chiefs on the NFL Week 1 betting lines with a 48-point total for their Thursday Night Football matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Defending Super Bowl champion New England is 11-0 straight-up in its last 11 conference games and is also 8-0 against the spread in its last eight games, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. However, Kansas City, which compiled the second-best record in the AFC last season, is 6-0 SU and ATS over its last six road games, suggesting they’re capable of earning the cover against a touchdown-plus line, if not winning outright.

Kansas City is 0-6 SU and 2-4 ATS in its last six road games against New England. Dating back to 2014, the Patriots are 10-4 ATS as a home favorite of 7.5 or more points.

The Chiefs were 12-5 and 9-8 ATS in 2016. Quarterback is Alex Smith is a game manager and few would try to argue otherwise, but will be surrounded by multiple weapons. If the Patriots focus on taking away the threat of TE Travis Kelce, that could create opening for long gains from both WR Tyreek Hill and rookie RB Kareem Hunt.

Kansas City is one of the best teams in the NFL at ball security, which could help with avoiding the early miscue that Brady and Co. turn into a lead that riles up the Gillette Stadium crowd.

The Patriots, who were 17-2 SU and 16-3 ATS overall last season, have surrounded Brady with a receiving corps built much more around speed, and also have TE Rob Gronkowski fully healthy. The main question is how much Brady, at this point, is on the same page with freshly arrived WR Brandin Cooks and Phillip Dorsett, who have joined Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola.

New England will have to be in sync, especially against a Chiefs defense that is very good at limiting opponents to field goals on red-zone opportunities.

Kansas City and OLB Justin Houston have managed to apply pressure to Brady in the past (most notably in a 41-14 victory during the 2014 season). Houston was not healthy when Kansas City got zero sacks during a playoff loss at New England two seasons ago.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid is 26-10 SU in his career in season openers or in games after bye weeks. That’s impressive, albeit not as much as Patriots coach Bill Belichick being 40-12 SU  in season openers or in games after bye weeks.

The total has gone over in five of the Chiefs’ last seven games on the road against the Patriots, and has also gone over in six of the Chiefs’ last eight September games.

For more info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the new OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Gronk: I use head injuries as an ‘excuse when I do something crazy’

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New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has had his fair share of injuries during his playing career, including one concussion that he publicly acknowledges.

With head injuries becoming more of a focus for the NFL and current and former players, as well as fans, Gronkowski explained why he’s not yet thinking about the long-term impact of hits to the head.

“I really don’t think about it that much right now at this stage of my life,” he said. “But I do use it as a great excuse whenever I do something wrong or say something wrong or do something crazy. I say, ‘It’s because I play football and I get hit in the head a lot.’ So if someone tries to argue with that, then I don’t know. I don’t know how they can argue with it. I use the positive out of it, and I use it as an excuse when I do something crazy. It’s because I play football, and I couldn’t control it.”

For more context about what “crazy” Gronk might look like, here’s a compilation of some of his wildest moments.

 

The Top 10 Rob Gronkowski photos from Patriots’ championship parade

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Rob Gronkowski might have been on injured reserve for the Patriots’ incredible Super Bowl run, but that didn’t let it deter his Super Bowl victory parade celebration.

The Gronk Cruise continued, except this time on duck boats through the city of Boston.

Here are the top ten photos of Gronk celebrating the Super Bowl win:

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 07: Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots drinks beer during the Super Bowl victory parade on February 7, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl 51. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Cue “We Are the Champions”

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 07: Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots celebrates during the Super Bowl victory parade on February 7, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl 51. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

While we appreciate the victory pose from Gronk here, the look of absolute fear from the guy at the right edge of this photo is tremendous.

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 07: Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots spikes a beer can during the Super Bowl victory parade on February 7, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl 51. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Did you really think we wouldn’t include a GronkSpike photo in this post?

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 07: Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots drinks beer during the Super Bowl victory parade on February 7, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl 51. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

We think it’s safe to assume that Gronk is also chugging Fireball in the aforementioned photo.

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 07: Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots drinks beer during the Super Bowl victory parade on February 7, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl 51. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

“That’s a lot of beer,” Gronk probably thought before cracking another beer.

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 07: Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots drinks beer during the Super Bowl victory parade on February 7, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl 51. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Gronk hungry.

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 07: Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots drinks beer during the Super Bowl victory parade on February 7, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl 51. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Guess Gronk needed a breather from Bud Light.

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 07: Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots drinks beer during the Super Bowl victory parade on February 7, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl 51. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Nope, back at it.

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 07: Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots (R) celebrates during the Super Bowl victory parade on February 7, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl 51. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Gronk apparently brought his beer coat to the parade.

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 07: Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots drinks beer during the Super Bowl victory parade on February 7, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl 51. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Guess Bud Light is good till the last drop.