Patriots still met with universal approval

Gronkowsi-less Pats met with universal approval

All year, patrons have flocked to the betting windows in support of New England. And they’re not about to let a little perforated lung disrupt the flow now.

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Rob Gronkowski reportedly suffered the aforementioned injury in last week’s 31-24 defeat at the hands of the Seahawks. Yet the Patriots are still attracting 86 percent of wagers for this afternoon’s bout vs. San Francisco. Gronkowski’s absence aside, the 49ers’ situation couldn’t be much worse. Chip Kelly’s club has dropped eight in a row since upending the Rams on Sept. 12. Bill Belichick’s crew, of course, occupies first place in the AFC East.

At 4-5, Pittsburgh stands on shakier ground in the AFC North. That’s hardly dissuading the masses from gravitating toward Ben Roethlisberger & Co. today, though, as 86 percent of the population likes the Steelers to keep Cleveland winless. Mike Tomlin’s troops fell just short in a see-saw affair with Dallas, 35-30, and find themselves in an extremely advantageous spot here. In the Browns’ most recent contest, coach Hue Jackson’s decision to bench Cody Kessler for Josh McCown at quarterback failed to energize the woeful product in Ohio.

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Nothing’s wrong with the signal-caller in Oakland, where 77 percent of the crowd believes in the host squad to knock off Houston. Derek Carr continues to generate stellar numbers through the air, while Jack Del Rio’s defense resembles a playoff-caliber unit. Conversely, Houston (6-3) isn’t too happy about its offensive performance of late. Perhaps DeAndre Hopkins can help spark a turnaround by posting his first 100-yard effort in two months.

In Los Angeles, fans get to watch Jeff Fisher take the bubble wrap off Jared Goff. Seventy-four percent of people, however, think the Dolphins will spoil the rookie’s first NFL start. Goff steps in for Case Keenum, who had thrown for 2,169 yards, nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions in nine tilts. The former Cal sensation must face a Miami D that specializes in creating pressure. Emerging running back Jay Ajayi also presents an interesting challenge for the Rams’ celebrated front four.

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Finally, 71 percent of individuals cast ballots in favor of Seattle to dispatch Philadelphia. Not only does Thomas Rawls return to the mix, but Russell Wilson’s gradually regaining more and more of his trademark burst. The Eagles now reside in the basement of the NFC East. To complicate matters further for the visitors, Jordan Matthews (back) and Zach Ertz (hamstring) may sit out at CenturyLink Field.

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