Later today, the New England Patriots will play only their second divisional game of the season versus the visiting Miami Dolphins. The Patriots, however, will be without some core players especially on the offensive side of the ball: Offensive linemen David Andrews and Marcus Cannon as well as wide receiver Chris Hogan have already been ruled out on Friday.
On the same injury report, tight end Martellus Bennett was listed as “doubtful” but it looks as if he will miss today's contest as well (via NFL Network's Ian Rapoport):
#Patriots WR Danny Amendola (knee) is expected to play vs the #Dolphins, source said, though TE Marcellus Bennett (shoulder, hamstring), won't. He was doubtful.
Neither seeing Danny Amendola play nor Bennett's expected inactivity are surprises. After all, the former has been active the Patriots' last three games as well despite being listed as “questionable” each time. The same was true for the recently re-signed Bennett. However, his game status' recent downgrade cast some doubt on his availability for today's game. Rapoport's report all but confirms this.
As a result, New England will likely give additional snaps to backups Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister in two or more tight end sets. Allen in particular could benefit from Bennett's absence as he is a more well rounded player at this point than undrafted rookie Hollister. Going against a defense that has shown vulnerabilities against both the pass and the run, Allen's versatility could help him get onto the field.