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Week 15 Patriots at Steelers inactives: Trey Flowers, LaAdrian Waddle return

Take a look at New England’s inactive players for today’s game in Pittsburgh.

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

In a little more than an hour, the New England Patriots will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in a highly anticipated game that will have a big influence on the AFC's playoff picture: If the Patriots win, they earn the inside track to get the conference's number one seed. If the home team Steelers win, however, the road through the postseason will pretty much go through Pittsburgh.

In order to win, New England will have to play a complete game - a big task when looking at the team's inactives list:

RB Mike Gillislee

DT Alan Branch

LB Kyle Van Noy

OT Cole Croston

DE Geneo Grissom

WR Chris Hogan

DB Brandon King

Alan Branch, Kyle Van Noy and Brandon King were already declared out over the course of the last two days, while Chris Hogan was expected to miss the game as well - paving the way for newly acquired Kenny Britt to play meaningful snaps in New England's offense. The four players are joined on the list of inactives by three depth options at this point in time, with Mike Gillislee a healthy scratch for the sixth-straight week.

A look at the inactives list also shows that the Patriots receive some reinforcements on offense and defense: Starting right tackle LaAdrian Waddle returns to the lineup as does the team's best pass rusher, Trey Flowers - both are key parts of the team and will help against a talented Steelers team. Linebacker David Harris, who was a surprise inactive last week against the Dolphins, is also back.

The Steelers inactives are as follows:

QB Joshua Dobs

WR Justin Hunter

CB Joe Haden

S J.J. Wilcox

OT Matt Feiler

TE Vance McDonald

DT Daniel McCullers

Haden is a big inactive for the Steelers defense as their secondary has struggled with him on the sidelines. McDonald is another absentee of note because of his value in Pittsburgh’s two tight end sets.