NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Rob Gronkowski will play versus the Houston Texans, according to a source informed of his condition. The tight end was not listed on the Patriots' inactive list released Sunday afternoon, meaning he is officially active.
New England's offensive linchpin missed last week's loss after suffering a knee injury in Week 12. The tight end was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday.
With Gronk on the field this season, Brady has a passer rating 23.8 points higher than when the tight end is out.
Facing a stout Texans defense that has allowed fewer than 20 points in four of its last five games and averages just 218.3 pass yards per game allowed this season (third in NF), having Gronkowsi on the field is huge for a Patriots team trying to end a two-game losing skid. Expect a lot of two-tight end packages.
New England lost two consecutive games for just the seventh time since Brady became the starter in 2001. The Patriots' last three-game losing streak came Weeks 4-8, 2002 (four straight -- the only three-plus game losing streak of the Brady era).