A week after Tom Brady saw his streak of consecutive games throwing a touchdown pass end at 52, the New England quarterback hopes the return of tight end Rob Gronkowski will ignite a spark in the Patriots' offense when they host the New Orleans Saints. Gronkowski appears finally ready to return to the lineup after missing the first five weeks of the season following back surgery. New England is hoping to rebound from one of its worst offensive showings in recent memory when it failed to score a touchdown in a 13-6 loss at Cincinnati.
New Orleans is one of three undefeated teams in the NFL after passing a big test at Chicago a week ago. The Saints, who have their own star tight end in Jimmy Graham -- who leads the league with 593 receiving yards and ranks third in the NFL in total offense. Drew Brees is 3-0 all-time against the Patriots but the teams haven't met since 2009 when the quarterback threw five touchdown passes in a 38-17 rout.
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox. LINE: Patriots -1. O/U: 50.5.
ABOUT THE SAINTS (5-0): The Saints continue to exploit defenses taking of advantage of mismatches with Graham and running backs Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas. A week after Sproles toasted the Dolphins for a pair of receiving TDs, Thomas caught two scoring passes against the Bears. With coach Sean Payton back on the sidelines, not only is the offense clicking but the Saints' defense, which was near historic in its ineptitude last season, is now fourth in the NFL by allowing just 14.6 points a game.
ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (4-1): The Pats got back wide receiver Danny Amendola in last week's 13-6 setback but he caught just four passes and looked rusty as New England failed to score a touchdown for the first time since a 16-9 loss to the Jets in 2009. Gronkowski gives Brady his first full complement of targets since the season began but running back Stevan Ridley remains questionable with a knee injury. New England has won eight of its past nine games at home.
1. Brady enters the game ranked 17th in the league is passing yardage and his rating of 52.2 last week was his worst since 2007.
2. Graham has 100 yards receiving in four straight games, tied for the NFL record for tight ends.
3. The Saints have the fewest turnovers (five) in the NFC.
PREDICTION: New Orleans 30, New England 24