FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots again will be shorthanded in the secondary when they welcome the Cincinnati Bengals to Gillette Stadium on Saturday.
Cornerbacks Jalen Mills (groin) and Jack Jones (knee) both will not play against Cincinnati. Mills was ruled out Thursday after not practicing this week. Jones had been listed as questionable entering Saturday.
Those losses create what could be a matchup nightmare for New England. The Patriots will need to defend arguably the NFL’s top receiving trio (Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd) without two of their top three corners.
Jonathan Jones, Marcus Jones, Myles Bryant and Shaun Wade will be tasked with slowing down the Bengals’ explosive wideouts, all three of whom have more receiving yards this season than any Patriots players.
Chase, Higgins and Boyd also stand 6 feet, 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-2, respectively. All three will have a height advantage over Jonathan Jones (5-10), Marcus Jones (5-8) and Bryant (5-9), and the 6-foot-1 Wade has hardly played this season.
Here is the Patriots’ full list of Week 16 inactives:
WR DeVante Parker
CB Jalen Mills
CB Jack Jones
RB Damien Harris
ST Raleigh Webb
S Joshuah Bledsoe
DT Sam Roberts
— Harris will miss his third consecutive game as he recovers from a thigh injury. Rookie running backs Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris have played well of late as complements to top back Rhamondre Stevenson.
— Parker was ruled out Thursday. He’s still recovering from the concussion he suffered against Arizona in Week 14.
— Webb, Bledsoe and Roberts are healthy scratches. It’s Webb’s first DNP since the Patriots signed him in October following special teamer Cody Davis’ season-ending knee injury.
— The Patriots placed long snapper Joe Cardona (ankle) on injured reserve Friday and promoted Tucker Addington from the practice squad to replace him. Addington, a 25-year-old undrafted rookie, will be the first New England long snapper other than Cardona to play in a non-preseason game since Danny Aiken in Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks.
Cardona’s move to IR snapped a streak of 140 consecutive games played. This will be the first game he’s missed in his career, which began in 2015.
— The Patriots elevated tight end/receiver Scotty Washington and kicker Tristan Vizcaino from their practice squad for Saturday’s game.
This will be both Washington’s NFL debut and a reunion for the 25-year-old, who spent the last two seasons on Cincinnati’s P-squad. His role could be similar to the one Lil’Jordan Humphrey — another big-bodied tight end/wideout tweener — played for New England early this season.
Expect Vizcaino to handle kickoff duties with punter Jake Bailey, who returned to practice this week, not yet activated off injured reserve.