Before the Patriots had even landed in Buffalo on Halloween afternoon, they'd declared six players Out for today's game against the Bills. Two of those men – WR Julian Edelman and rookie OL Justin Herron – were subsequently placed on the team's Injured Reserve list.
As a result, New England had to declare a few more players inactive for this contest to comply with the league's 2020 game-day roster limit of 48 maximum players (including practice squad promotions).
Most glaring is the omission from today's lineup of both Patriots rookie tight ends, Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene. Just when it appeared that the latter was emerging after making his NFL debut last week against San Francisco, Keene suffered a knee injury during Friday's practice, which limited his participation therein. So, it's not altogether surprising that he's unable to go today in Orchard Park, N.Y.
However, perhaps more disconcerting for fans of the team is the deactivation of Keene's fellow rookie TE, Asiasi, who's a healthy scratch (not listed on the injury report). That leaves just one Patriots tight end, veteran Ryan Izzo, available for today's game. With the running game expected to play a big part in today's contest due to the inclement weather forecast in the Buffalo area, it's a curious decision to exclude Asiasi from the action today. He was inactive as a healthy scratch versus San Fran a week ago as well.
On a positive note, rookie LB Josh Uche is set to make his NFL debut today after just being activated off IR this weekend.
Meanwhile, as has been the case the last few weeks, veteran QB Brian Hoyer, the third-stringer, is inactive, leaving second-year player Jarrett Stidham as the backup to Cam Newton.
On the Bills sideline, Buffalo's secondary will severely miss starting cornerback Josh Norman, declared Out after not practicing all week because of a bad hamstring, and starting safety Micah Hyde (concussion). The latter also didn't practice all week because of his current health condition. The Bills' safety tandem of Hyde and Jordan Poyer is as good as there is in the NFL, but perhaps Buffalo will dodge one today if the Patriots are unable to throw as much because of the expected weather conditions.