There's very little suspense involved in today's list of deactivated Patriots, as four of the six men were ruled out either on Friday or late Saturday. The remaining two aren't much of a surprise either, as tight end Devin Asiasi is a healthy scratch yet again (not listed on the injury report) and running back J.J. Taylor has had a limited role thus far in 2021.
However, the noteworthy names are those NOT listed as inactive, including linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley, who missed last week's game with a shoulder issue. Bentley was injured versus New Orleans in Week 3 and has been limited in practices ever since. Also worth mentioning, newly-reacquired linebacker Jamie Collins should make his debut today in his third stint with New England.
Meanwhile, Taylor's absence today means rookie Rhamondre Stevenson will be on the active game day roster for the first time since Week 1. After fumbling early in the opener, it'll be intriguing to see if and how much Stevenson gets to carry the football today, especially given the situation up front.
The big questions today revolve around the offensive line and defensive backfield. With only one regular starter available today – center/co-captain David Andrews – will we finally see the NFL and Patriots debut of tackle Yodny Cajuste, who's dealt with injuries throughout his previous two seasons with New England and has yet to take the field.
And who will line up next to Andrews at guard? Versatile, experienced veterans Ted Karras and James Ferentz are likely options for either of those two spots, the latter after just having been promoted from the practice squad. Or perhaps Yasir Durant, who's been thrust into tackle duty since coming to New England earlier this year, will slide back over to his more customary guard position.
Given the huge number of injuries in the secondary, practice squad call-up Myles Bryant could see some action today as well.
On the Houston side, the Texans have several former Patriots on their roster, but only one – wide receiver Brandin Cooks – will face his old squad today. Running back Rex Burkhead is out with a hip issue that kept him from practicing all week. Wide receiver Danny Amendola was limited with a thigh injury and only practiced sparingly. Meanwhile, tackle Marcus Cannon was placed on injured reserve due to a back ailment.