Tonight, the New England Patriots will play the Miami Dolphins in a prime-time matchup that could secure the defending world champions their ninth straight division title and playoff berth. However, in order to beat Miami on the road, the Patriots need to overcome multiple personnel shortages: Due to injuries and Rob Gronkowski's one-game suspension, New England is far from at full strength.
According to the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe, though, the team's best running back will be available tonight – while the availability of two other players will be decided closer to the game's start:
Dion Lewis (illness) is good to go tonight. Deatrich Wise (foot) and LaAdrian Waddle (ankle) are game-time decisions, per source.
Lewis, who leads the Patriots with 590 rushing yards on 112 carries, was listed as questionable on Saturday's final injury report due to the above-mentioned illness. With running back Mike Gillislee already ruled out, having Lewis available is a big boost to a New England ground game that gained almost 200 yards when the Patriots and Dolphins met two weeks ago.
Like Lewis, Deatrich Wise Jr. and LaAdrian Waddle have also been listed under the “questionable” category. Wise Jr. in particularly is worth keeping an eye on as New England is already short along the defensive line due to Trey Flowers' rib injury and subsequent downgrading (he will not play tonight). Like the rookie, LaAdrian Waddle would also play a big role, although the Patriots' offensive tackle position is not as light as the defensive edge.
All three players traveled to Florida with the team, per the Boston Sports Journal's Christopher Price. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore and wide receiver Chris Hogan, also among the pre-game questionables, also made the trip. Hogan, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, will be active tonight barring any setbacks:
Barring a setback in pregame, #Patriots WR Chris Hogan will be active tonight against the #Dolphins after a 4-game absence, source says. Another weapon for Tom Brady as Rob Gronkowski serves his suspension.
As Pelissero notes, having Hogan available gives the Patriots another option on offense with Gronkowski unavailable.