The New England Patriots could be down not one, but both of their starting safeties in Week 17.

Kyle Dugger, who’s listed as questionable with an illness, is “pretty severely under the weather” and will be a game-time decision for Sunday’s matchup with the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium,’s Evan Lazar reported on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s pregame coverage. Dugger did not practice Friday.

The Patriots already ruled out safety Jabrill Peppers for the second consecutive week as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury. Dugger and Peppers rank first and second, respectively, among Patriots defenders in snaps played this season.

Dugger was on the field for 97.7% of New England’s defensive snaps through 15 games. The 27-year-old ranks third on the team with 93 tackles and is tied for the team lead with two interceptions. He also has six passes defended, 1 1/2 sacks, six tackles for loss and four quarterback hits.

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Head coach Bill Belichick recently called Dugger and Peppers two of the best safeties in the NFL. Losing both would be a significant blow to the Patriots’ defense against Josh Allen and a talented Bills offense.

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Jalen Mills, who cleared concussion protocol this week, played 90% of snaps in Peppers’ absence in last Sunday’s win over the Denver Broncos and is likely to see another heavy workload against Buffalo. If Dugger also can’t go, rookie Marte Mapu and veteran Adrian Phillips would be next in line on the safety depth chart. Slot corner Myles Bryant also can fill in there.

The Patriots fortified that position group Saturday by signing third-year pro Joshuah Bledsoe off the practice squad. Bledsoe has not appeared in a game since last season.

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New England’s inactive list will be announced at 11:30 a.m. ET. Kickoff in Buffalo is set for 1 p.m.

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images