The New England Patriots have listed seven players inactive for today’s season finale against the Miami Dolphins. With the Indianapolis Colts in a good position to beat the Houston Texans, it makes sense for the Patriots to keep the guys who they need active and go all-in for a bye to help churn a long Super Bowl run.
Tackle Mark Zusevics, cornerback Marquice Cole, rookie backup safety Nate Ebner, rookie project DE Jake Bequette, newly re-added depth wide receiver Kamar Aiken, solid rookie starting cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, and the always versatile interior offensive lineman Nick McDonald are the seven inactive for the Patriots today.
Not on the list? Brandon Spikes and Rob Gronkowski. Some projected that Spikes would be inactive after being nicked up coming into the game and missing the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, but the Patriots star middle linebacker is back. The Pats need him in order to bully the opposing running game and take advantage of a weak interior.
Gronkowski was expected to play per reports from Tom E. Curran and Ian Rappoport, and it was Albert Breer who tweeted this morning that Gronk was medically cleared to play and would indeed play after missing more than a month with a broken forearm. I hope Gronk only plays for a bit to shake off the rust, because there is no sense in getting him injured again leading into the playoffs. His health is of paramount importance as one of the best players in the game.
The inactives are not surprising, with Dennard being the only starter who is inactive. We’ll miss him and possibly the depth lost with Cole’s absence, but the Pats look healthy and ready to lock up a win on a cold, snowy day at Gillette. If the Patriots win, then they will finish undefeated in divisional play for the second time in franchise history and the first since the near-undefeated year of 2007.
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