The New England Patriots released their final injury report for their Sunday Night Football matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. Who is in and who is out?
The New England Patriots have a huge matchup this week in a Super Bowl matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Out of conference games have the least impact on team’s win-loss records based on tiebreakers, but this one has a little more riding on it based on what happened in the Super Bowl in February.
The Falcons will be looking to exact some revenge on the Patriots after they blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl. If they are going to defeat the Patriots, getting their passing game on track would be helpful. It could happen this week as the Patriots final injury report update is not what fans want to see.
Big money free agent acquisition, Stephon Gilmore, will miss his second consecutive game with a concussion and ankle injury. Gilmore isn’t the only cornerback sidelined, as Eric Rowe will also miss the game because of a groin injury.
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With Gilmore sidelined, the Patriots could be forced to make a move in their secondary. Last week against the New York Jets the Patriots went with only three cornerbacks. That is not a smart strategy against a pass-first team such as the Falcons. Malcolm Butler will have his hands full attempting to slow down Jones.
In addition to Gilmore and Rowe, the Patriots have also ruled out linebacker Harvey Langi because of a back injury. However, the injury news was not all bad for the Patriots, as their offense will have some of their weapons back.
Chris Hogan getting in a full practice Friday was big. He wasn’t listed on the final injury report and will be ready to go. Hogan took a hard shot to the ribs last week but will be out there giving Tom Brady his full allotment of wide receivers with Hogan, Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks.
The Patriots will be getting running back Rex Burkhead back into the lineup. Burkhead was also removed from the injury report and will be on the field for the first time since Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints.
However, Burkhead’s role with the team is totally up in the air. Dion Lewis has moved up the pecking order, as he looks like he is potentially ready to take over the lead back role in the Patriots offense. He has led the team in rushing for two consecutive games, and the Patriots won both. Mike Gillislee is also getting early down work still, while James White is playing during the passing downs.
It will be interesting to see how Burkhead is integrated into the lineup. His return could enable the Patriots to add more flexibility to their packages, as he could play on the field at the same time as any of the other running backs.
Having this many options at running back is a good problem for the Patriots to have. They can all fill a number of roles, making the team more unpredictable offensively.
For the Falcons, only outside linebacker Jordan Tripp has been ruled out. Deion Jones, Takkarist McKinley, Mohamed Sanu and Courtney Upshaw were all limited Friday. Vic Beasley Jr., Matt Bryant, Jermaine Grace and Duke Riley were all full participants and should be good to go.