On Saturday night, the Patriots ripped the suspense out of the typical Sunday morning announcement of the inactive list, releasing the names of six players who didn?t travel to Buffalo and wouldn?t play against the Bills.
Right guard Dan Connolly (concussion), linebacker Jermaine Cunningham (calf), tight end Aaron Hernandez (hip), defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick (shoulder), defensive lineman Myron Pryor (back) and defensive lineman Mike Wright (concussion) were downgraded to out Saturday. The Patriots finished off their inactive list Sunday morning by announcing wide receiver Taylor Price and running back Thomas Clayton would not play, either. Price and Clayton were not listed on the injury report.
With Connolly out, the Patriots are using an all-hands-on-deck approach with their offensive linemen. They typically only dress seven linemen for each game, but everyone except Connolly is active in Buffalo, including Ryan Wendell, who is expected to start in Connolly's absence. Quinn Ojinnaka (preferably a right tackle, but he can play everywhere on the line), Mark LeVoir (tackle) and Rich Ohrnberger (interior lineman) are the reserves.
Running back Fred Taylor is back in the lineup after he was a healthy scratch last week for the first time in his career, and defensive lineman Ron Brace will suit up after missing last week's game with a concussion. Linebacker Tully Banta-Cain (groin), safety James Sanders (flu), wide receiver Deion Branch (knee), cornerback Devin McCourty (rib), cornerback Kyle Arrington (elbow) and quarterback Tom Brady (foot, shoulder) are also playing after being listed on this week's final injury report.
Price has been inactive for all 15 games this season, while Pryor is missing his seventh straight game, Wright is out for the fifth consecutive game and Clayton is out for the fourth week in a row (and sixth time during multiple stints with New England this season). This is the first game Deaderick has missed with a shoulder injury, but it's the fifth time he's been inactive this season. Connolly is out for the first time in 2010, and Hernandez and Cunningham are inactive for the first time in their career.