Later today, the New England Patriots will finally enter the 2017 NFL playoffs. The team appears to be in good shape entering the tournament considering that it had perfect practice attendance on Thursday for the first time since late September. Still, deactivate seven players before the contest against the Tennessee Titans the Patriots must – and it looks like two listed as “questionable” on the final injury report will be among them.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, neither Rex Burkhead nor Mike Gillislee are expected to be active tonight:
Patriots’ RBs Rex Burkhead (knee) and Mike Gillislee (knee), both listed as questionable for tonight’s Divisional Playoff game against the Titans, are not expected to play, per league sources.
The two running backs recently returned to practice after their respective injuries forced them to miss some playing and practice time over the last weeks. Burkhead and Gillislee being likely inactives weakens New England's depth at the position and also means that the team will face the Titans without one of its typical bigger backs available. Expect Dion Lewis and maybe even Brandon Bolden to see increased playing time because of if.
Luckily for New England, another running back is on its way to a comeback: Per Schefter, James White is expected to play against Tennessee:
Patriots’ RB James White, who missed the past two games with an ankle injury and is listed as questionable for tonight’s Divisional playoff game, is expected to play against the Titans, per league source.
As Schefter notes, White missed New England's final two regular season games because of an ankle injury. Him returning is good news for the team's depth at the running back position, which allows Lewis to come off the field in some of White's typical situations like two-minute drills or third downs.
The official list of inactive players will get released 90 minutes before the game starts.