When you think about the tight end position for the New England Patriots the name Rob Gronkowski naturally springs to mind. How can you help it when his face is everywhere you turn either hawking Dunkin' Donuts sandwiches or pushing fantasy football. But the Patriots quieter and possibly better all-around tight end, Aaron Hernandez, should be back in the lineup on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
Hernandez suffered a severely sprained ankle in the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals in week 2. After missing three games he appears to be ready to help the Patriots offense once again, though probably in a limited role.
The Patriots offense is undoubtedly more dangerous with Hernandez on the field. With a sure handed tight ends that on each side, defenses have a hard time matching up. Hernandez is much more than just a decoy; he had 79 receptions in 2011 with seven touchdowns. Plus with so much attention being paid to the tight ends that opens up opportunities for wide receivers like Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker.
The Patriots will need all the weapons they can get because the Seahawks have the number one ranked defense in the NFL. Seattle has allowed an average of just 14 points per game, second in the NFL. The good thing for Patriots fans is that the Seahawks have one of the worst offenses in the league. Their passing attack is ranked second to last with just 147 yards per game.
Sunday's contest at CenturyLink Field will feature strength against strength, the Patriots Tom Brady led offense against the Seahawks defense, and weakness against weakness, the Patriots porous defense versus the Seahawks anemic offense. It will probably be a closer game than many would think. The Patriots have shown already this year that they can struggle against a good defense, see the 20-18 loss to Arizona.
When all is said and done I think the Patriots will win by a score of 20-13. Then they will get to return home for a showdown next week against their rivals the New York Jets.
Darren Pare has been a New Engalnd Patriots fan for over 25 years with Steve Grogan, Troy Brown and Wes Welker being his favorite all time players. You can follow him on Twitter at dpare71 or on Facebook.
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