Patriots/Bills Round 1: What are the most notable injuries?

FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots reacts after running onto the field prior to the start of the game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots reacts after running onto the field prior to the start of the game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots enter their undefeated showdown against the Buffalo Bills with a slew of important players on the injury report.

Who would have thought that both the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills would enter their Week 4 matchup undefeated on the season?

While neither team has necessarily faced the stiffest competition thus far – their previous opponents combined have just one win between them all – it’s still a testament to the excellent football being played by both AFC East teams in the early going of the 2019 season. In particular, both the Bills and the Patriots have been exceptional on defense, with each ranking in the league’s top five in both yards and points allowed.

Only one of the two rivals can remain undefeated after Sunday, however. The Patriots with Tom Brady under center have dominated Buffalo historically: the G.O.A.T. is a ridiculous 30-3 all-time versus the Bills. In fact, it’s been eight years since Brady has lost on the road against Buffalo.

This is a different Bills team than some of the pushovers from those days, though. Head coach Sean McDermott has slowly but surely built a formidable team since he first arrived in 2017. Buffalo has always been strong defensively and in the run game, but now they believe they’ve finally found a franchise quarterback as well in second-year signal-caller Josh Allen.

For the Bills to spring the upset (they’re currently a touchdown-underdog at home), the team will need as close to perfect health as possible from the players on their roster. Per the official injury report for both teams listed at, Buffalo has 11 players whose names appear on the sheet.

Seven of those 11 players did not participate at all during Wednesday’s practice, though four of them may have just been given the day off for rest reasons: linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, wide receiver John Brown, defensive end Jerry Hughes, and tackle Ty Nsekhe.

Linebacker Corey Thompson underwent ankle surgery and should be considered out for Sunday’s game against the Pats. Tight end Tyler Kroft is also dealing with an ankle injury that leaves his status for Sunday very much in doubt, though his potential absence could be mitigated by Dawson Knox, the rookie tight end out of Ole Miss. Knox has played well this season, particularly in Week 1 against the Bengals (three receptions on four targets for 67 yards and a touchdown).

The most concerning name for Bills fans on the “did not participate” injury list is running back Devin Singletary. Singletary, a rookie out of Florida Atlantic University, looked impressive in leading the Bills in rush yards in Week 1, and was well on his way to doing the same in Week 2 before he went down with a hamstring injury. With Singletary considered questionable to play on Sunday, the Patriots probably are preparing to see a lot of 36-year-old Frank Gore at running back instead.

Limited participants in Bills practice Wednesday included right guard Jon Feliciano (neck), cornerbacks Taron Johnson (hamstring) and Tre’Davious White (neck), and wide receiver Zay Jones (shoulder). All four are expected to suit up against the Pats.

There’s good news and bad news from the New England angle of the injury report. The good news is that the Patriots enjoyed perfect attendance at Wednesday’s practice. The bad news is that just like Buffalo, New England has a whopping 11 players listed on the report itself with various ailments.

The biggest names remain Tom Brady (calf) and Julian Edelman (chest).

Brady is almost assuredly going out there on Sunday even though he’s currently listed as questionable; it’s certainly nothing new for his name to be listed with a little red ‘Q’ next to it, as it has been for many years now in New England.

Edelman’s status is much more truly questionable. He left last weekend’s game against the Jets and was taken to the locker room to get X-rays done on his torso. Thankfully those results came back negative, but he’s still dealing with a chest injury of some kind. His status bears the most careful monitoring as this week goes on.

The Patriots also have another five players from the offense who were listed as limited participants on Wednesday: running back Rex Burkhead (foot), tight ends Ryan Izzo (calf) and Matt LaCosse (ankle), left guard Joe Thuney (shoulder), and left tackle Marshall Newhouse (illness).

Burkhead’s injury is new, and while the exact severity is unknown, the Patriots probably aren’t as concerned as they could have been since James White is returning to the lineup in Week 4. White missed last Sunday’s win over the Jets to attend the birth of his child.

If neither Izzo nor LaCosse can suit up on Sunday, the Patriots will travel to Buffalo without a healthy tight end on their roster. New England tight ends have just four total receptions through three weeks of the season (Izzo and LaCosse each have two), so it’s not like the Patriots have made the position a point of emphasis in their offense so far. Still, it’d be nice to have at least one healthy tight end on the roster versus the Bills.

Thuney is an NFL ironman – he should be fine to play this weekend. Newhouse also will probably make a go of it, as he must realize just how desperately he’s needed on a thin New England offensive line that has been decimated by injuries (David Andrews, Isaiah Wynn, Marcus Cannon).

Speaking of Cannon, he was upgraded to “full participation” at practice on Wednesday. It’s an encouraging development after the starting right tackle left New England’s Week 1 victory over the Steelers late in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury. Though he missed Week 2 against the Dolphins, he returned to action last Sunday against the Jets.

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On defense/special teams, the Patriots have three players who were limited in practice Wednesday: linebacker Dont’a Hightower (shoulder), defensive end Michael Bennett (shoulder), and safety Nate Ebner (groin). Though New England has excellent depth across the board defensively, losing Hightower and/or Bennett for any stretch of time would still be worrisome for the team’s outlook.