The New England Patriots needed help to get their preferred seeding in the playoffs. They got it last week when the Houston Texans lost to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots now control their own destiny heading into their final regular-season game of the season. If they can beat the lowly New York Jets at home, they will be off next week as the No. 2 seed in the AFC. They will then get to host the highest remaining seed in the second round, a path that they have taken to several Super Bowls in the path.
The road is clear. The Patriots need only to win this home game to earn another one. Win that one, and the Patriots are once again only one game away from the Super Bowl. The only thing standing in their way right now are the Jets, one of the worst teams in the NFL and a franchise that is incentivized to lose in order to improve its draft position. Here are the Patriots inactive choices in this must-win game that they should walk away with very easily.
Here’s the Patriots’ full list of inactives:
WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee)
TE Jacob Hollister (hamstring)
DE Adrian Clayborn
DE Keionta Davis
OL James Ferentz
S Obi Melifonwu
CB Duke Dawson
Cordarrelle Patterson is inactive with the knee injury he suffered in the Patriots’ Week 16 win over the Buffalo Bills. Patterson was limited in practice all week. Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and special-teamer Matthew Slater are left at wide receiver for the Patriots.
— The Patriots will need a new kick returner with Patterson out. Rookie running back Sony Michel took over those duties after Patterson suffered his injury last week.
— Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen will handle tight end duties with Hollister out. The Patriots elected not to sign Stephen Anderson off their practice squad this week.
— Defensive end Derek Rivers is up after being a healthy scratch six straight weeks. Trey Flowers, Deatrich Wise, John Simon and Ufomba Kamalu also will play defensive end with Clayborn and Davis inactive. Clayborn has been a healthy scratch two straight weeks now. That’s a bad sign for the 2018 free-agent addition.
— Backup offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle will dress after missing Friday’s practice with an illness.
— Dawson hasn’t played a single game his rookie season after being a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He missed the first half of the season on injured reserve. He’s been a healthy scratch since being activated off of IR.