In 90 minutes, the New England Patriots take on the Cincinnati Bengals. Not only will the team celebrate the return of quarterback Tom Brady to Gillette Stadium, it will also try to improve its record to 5-1 and stay atop the AFC East.
The Patriots, however, will have to do that without the following players, as announced by the team:
RB Brandon Bolden
CB Justin Coleman
LB Jamie Collins
CB Cyrus Jones
LB Shea McClellin
DT Vincent Valentine
OT LaAdrian Waddle
As has been reported earlier, Collins was not expected to play today because of a hip issue that limited him in practice on Thursday and Friday. Now, it is confirmed that he will miss indeed the game. LB Elandon Roberts and LB Barkevious Mingo will likely see expanded roles, especially with LB Jonathan Freeny on the injured reserve.
Seeing both Cyrus Jones, who was ejected from last week’s game, and Justin Coleman inactive is a surprise. Neither was on this week’s injury report, so it seems that the team will likely play three-safety sets and turn to rookie Jonathan Jones. CB Eric Rowe is set to make his Patriots debut after being named Practice Player of the Week against the Browns.
McClellin and Valentine are dealing with a concussion and back injury, respectively, so seeing them inactive is no surprise. Waddle, the team’s number four offensive tackle has spent most of his season on the sidelines come game day.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who missed Friday’s practice because of an illness, will be active for today’s game. Don’t be surprised, though, if the team limits his snaps to keep him fresh throughout the contest.
The Patriots also return OT Marcus Cannon to the active roster after he missed last week with a calf injury. It will be interesting to see if he takes his starting job back from OT Cameron Fleming.
The following Bengals are inactive:
DB Chykie Brown
WR Cody Core
QB Jeff Driskel
TE Tyler Eifert
CB KeiVarae Russell
OL Christian Westerman
DL DeShawn Williams
The loss of Eifert is huge for the Bengals offense, but not surprising. The Bengals only have three defensive tackles active today, so don’t be surprised if the Patriots rely on RB LeGarrette Blount to wear down the defense.