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Game Day Roster Update: A busy Christmas for Patriots 

Analyzing the last-minute roster shuffling the Patriots have done in advance of their 2021 Week 16 game with the Buffalo Bills.


While most of us where exchanging gifts this Christmas Day, the Patriots were almost as busy as Old St. Nick delivering transaction news to the NFL.

For Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills, New England has removed WR Kendrick Bourne from the COVID reserve list, as the league's transaction wire indicates. That means he'll be eligible to suit up after being out of commission the last several days. That's good news for the Patriots, as fellow wideout Nelson Agholor won't be playing due to a concussion suffered against the Colts last weekend. However, Kristian Wilkerson's promotion from the practice squad might mean there's a need for depth at receiver, with N'Keal Harry (hip) still dealing with his own health issue.

LB Josh Uche is also cleared to play in a game, having been designated to return from injured reserve. Uche has been practicing of late, so this move has been in the works. In what looks like a one-for-one swap, the Patriots also promoted defensive lineman Daniel Ekuale from the practice squad after placing DL Deatrich Wise on the COVID list. Ekuale has been called up a few times already this season and performed well, with a couple of sacks to show for his efforts.

With running back Rhamondre Stevenson declared out on Friday due to an illness that went unspecified on the injury report (he was later added to the COVID reserve list Christmas Eve, per the NFL transaction wire), New England chose not to add any further depth to the running back position, even though both Damien Harris (hamstring) and Brandon Bolden (knee) were listed on the injury report this week. It appears both have a good chance of playing. In Harris' case, it'll be a return to action after he sat out the Colts game a week ago. New England only made one further practice squad promotion, bringing defensive back D'Angelo Ross up to the active roster.

For last week's game in Indy, New England called up practice squad runner Devine Ozigbo, but not for this latest Bills game, probably because J.J. Taylor, who returned to practice this past week after being on COVID reserve, could be back in the running back mix Sunday.

Several more deactivations must be made by late Sunday morning for New England to reduce its active roster down to the game-day limit of 48. Stay tuned for further news and analysis thereof tomorrow.

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