On Sunday, the New England Patriots will host the Los Angeles Chargers in their last game prior to the team's bye week. And as a look at today's final injury report of the week shows, the team is limping towards its week off:
DT Malcom Brown (ankle; did not participate)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder; did not participate)
CB Eric Rowe (groin; did not participate)
Neither of the inactive players is a surprise at this point as all three have not been on the practice fields today. In fact, Hightower recently underwent surgery and is expected to miss the remainder of the 2017 season. Rowe, on the other hand, will likely return later down the line but miss his fourth straight game. Johnson Bademosi and Jonathan Jones will likely fill his role again.
The third player to not suit up on Sunday is defensive tackle Malcom Brown, who will miss his first game in three seasons. In his absence, the Patriots will likely see Alan Branch and Lawrence Guy play more snaps than usual. The team could also opt to promote Angelo Blackson from the practice squad – maybe in return placing Hightower on injured reserve – to gain additional depth at the position.
WR Danny Amendola (knee; limited participation)
OT Marcus Cannon (ankle; limited participation)
CB Stephon Gilmore (concussion/ankle; limited participation)
DT Lawrence Guy (chest; limited participation)
DE Cassius Marsh (shoulder; limited participation)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle; limited participation)
Stephon Gilmore, Lawrence Guy, Cassius Marsh and Elandon Roberts have been limited all week long. With the bye week coming up, the team could opt to play it safe with them and make them last-minute deactivations if it feels that this is the best course of action. As things stand today, though, all four are listed as “questionable” to partake in Sunday's contest.
The same goes for Danny Amendola, who is reportedly dealing with a hyperextended knee, and Marcus Cannon, who is a new addition to the report. The Patriots' starting right tackle was limited today with an ankle injury – a situation worth monitoring moving forward, as Cannon has dealt with ankle issues earlier in the year.
LB Harvey Langi (back)
TE Jacob Hollister (chest)
While Jacob Hollister has been removed from the list because of a return to full strength, fellow undrafted rookie Harvey Langi has been removed because he was transferred to the non-football injury list. He will miss the rest of the season due to the transaction, that is the result of a car crash suffered in early October.
For comparison, Los Angeles' injury report looks as follows:
OT Joe Barksdale (foot; did not participate)
Joe Barksdale, who has missed the last week's game due to his foot injury, is the Chargers' top option at right tackle. In his likely absence, Michael Schofield is expected to be the starter at the position.
RB Melvin Gordon (foot; limited participation)
DT Corey Liuget (back; full participation)
With Melvin Gordon being Los Angeles' number one running back it would be a surprise to see him held out on Sunday despite his “questionable”-status. He might be limited, though. The same has might hold true for Corey Liuget, who was absent last week, as well.
TE Antonio Gates (knee; full participation)
K Nick Novak (ankle; full participation)
Both Antonio Gates and Nick Novak are core members of the Chargers' offense and special teams, respectively. Both will be active on Sunday and play considerable snaps.