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Patriots continue preparations for Rodgers, Packers on short week

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FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI/AP) — After defeating the Buffalo Bills on the road, the New England Patriots have returned home to gear up for the Green Bay Packers on a short week.

This Sunday’s prime-time game is the first time in four years the Patriots and the Packers have faced off. It is also the first time Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has played at Gillette Stadium, since he missed the last match-up in 2010 due to injury. Last time the teams faced one another in 2014, the Packers beat the Patriots at Lambeau Field, 26-21.

It didn’t take Patriots head coach Bill Belichick long to recall what Rodgers did against his defense the previous time that the Packers faced the Patriots.

“He killed us,” Belichick said of the Patriot’s loss in Green Bay in 2014. “He does everything well. … He’s one of the great quarterbacks in the National Football League. No question about it.”

Patriots tightend Rob Gronkowski did not participate in practice Thursday after being limited in practice during Wednesday’s walkthrough. Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was listed as limited in Thursday’s practice as well with an ankle injury.

Rodgers has only thrown one interception so far this season, while Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has had 11 interceptions. Brady admitted in a recent interview with WEEI that Sunday’s match-up won’t be easy.

“It is going to be a big challenge for our defense,” Brady said. “We’re going to try and make it hard on their defense and we’ll see how it shakes out. They have had a lot of close games this year. I am sure this will come down to the wire.”

Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty was with the Titans in 2016 when they beat the Packers 47-25 in a game that saw Rodgers throw two interceptions.

But he said he isn’t counting on getting anything less than Rodgers’ best this time around.

“I really don’t want to compare anybody to Aaron Rodgers, so I won’t go that route,” McCourty said. “At the end of the day, however many football games you can play in preparation to help you get ready for this guy. … He’ll probably be the best quarterback we play against this year for sure.”

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