Thornton: 'Pats are going to blow 49ers out of the stadium'

955047.jpg

Thornton: 'Pats are going to blow 49ers out of the stadium'

For the second week in a row, the Patriots find themselves matched up against a top-tier opponent. Last week, NFL fans were treated to the build up of an epic battle between two AFC power house teams, only to see the Patriots blast the Texans, 42-14.

This week, the Patriots host the San Francisco 49ers and for Jerry Thornton of Barstool Sports that creates a big problem. While it's usually advisable to remain somewhat even-keeled when it comes to football expectations, everything is coming together for the Patriots in a way that makes Thornton a little too optimistic for his own comfort.

"I feel like the Patriots are going to go out and blow San Francisco out of the stadium," Thornton said on Felger & Mazz. "If the Patriots blow out San Fran, the music industry is going to come together to raise money for their victims."

For a dose of reality, Thornton turned to the wise old sage - Mazz.

"You don't go every week blowing people out 42-14," reminded Mazz. "It does not happen that way."

But Thornton persists, pointing out that Rob Gronkowski returned to practice on Friday - surely a Christmas miracle if ever there was one. Ok, maybe that's a little far-fetched, but it was still more good news for a Patriots team that was already clicking on offense.

In addition, Thornton notes that this is the youngest Patriots team of the Bill Belichick era. It's a team with even more room to grow, and more room to impress. That's a scary thought for all those who play against the Patriots, and for people like Thornton, who are feeling a little confused by their holiday joy and optimism.

But if you want to see something really scary (or at least a little bizarre), check out the Something About Mary banter in the video above.

Gronkowski returns to practice; Mason, Branch still missing

patriots-rob-gronkowski-061316.jpg

Gronkowski returns to practice; Mason, Branch still missing

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had a welcome face back on the practice field on Wednesday, as tight end Rob Gronkowski returned to action after missing the team's previous five practices as he dealt with an injury. 

Gronkowski participated in the warmup period of practice and then remained with the majority of his teammates for drills. 

The last time Gronkowski was spotted on the field was last Monday, which was the first of three joint practices between the Patriots and the Bears. He pulled up after pursuing a Tom Brady pass, walked along the sideline, met with head trainer Jim Whalen, and then left practice early. He did not suit up for Thursday's game against Chicago. 

Gronkowski has not participated in a preseason game since 2012. 

Patriots not spotted at Wednesday's practice were Shaq Mason, Jonathan Cooper, Sebastian Vollmer (on the physically unable to perform list) and Dion Lewis (also on PUP). Alan Branch, who has been suspended by the team before last week's preseason game, was also missing. 

Jabaal Sheard, Rob Ninkovich, Malcolm Mitchell, Shea McClellin, Tre' Jackson (PUP) and Danny Amendola (PUP) were present for warmups but went to a lower field for conditioning. Amendola and Jackson were not in pads for the short-and-shells session. 

Jon Bon Jovi was taking in the session alongside Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. 

Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Ramirez gets night off

red_sox_hanley_ramirez_072816.jpg

Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Ramirez gets night off

Hanley Ramirez is getting a night off as the Red Sox look for their third straight win against the Rays tonight at Tropicana Field.

Travis Shaw will play first base, with Brock Holt at third.

Tonight's lineups:

RED SOX:
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Brock Holt 3B
Travis Shaw 1B
Andrew Benintendi LF
---
Rick Porcello P

RAYS:
Logan Forsythe 2B
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Brad Miller SH
Matt Duffy SS
Logan Morrison 1B
Steven Souza Jr. RF
Corey Dickerson LF
Bobby Wilson C
---
Matt Andriese P