The Patriots once again will be shorthanded at cornerback as they look to extend their season Sunday in Buffalo.
New England on Saturday ruled out starting corner Jalen Mills, who had been listed as questionable with a groin injury. It’s the sixth consecutive DNP for Mills, who has not played since the Patriots’ Thanksgiving loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
With rookie Jack Jones unavailable due to both injury and suspension, Jonathan Jones, Marcus Jones, Myles Bryant, Tae Hayes, Shaun Wade and practice squadder Quandre Mosely will be the Patriots’ available cornerbacks for their Week 18 matchup with Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs and the AFC East champion Bills.
The Patriots struggled to defend Diggs when these teams first met in Week 13, surrendering seven catches for 92 yards and a touchdown to Buffalo’s No. 1 receiver in a 24-10 loss at Gillette Stadium. Mills and Jack Jones both missed that game.
New England also ruled out tight end Jonnu Smith, who will miss his second straight game with a concussion. The Patriots likely will elevate Matt Sokol from the practice squad to back up starter Hunter Henry.
Smith finishes his second Patriots season with 27 catches for 245 yards and no touchdowns over 14 games. The high-priced tight end has found the end zone just once in 30 appearances for New England.
Jonathan Jones, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers and special teamer Brenden Schooler listed are questionable.
Kickoff for Sunday’s game at Highmark Stadium is set for 1 p.m. ET. A win would earn the Patriots a playoff spot, as would losses by Miami, Pittsburgh and Tennessee.