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Inactive Analysis: Dugger, Hightower, Barmore to play

A rapid-reaction examination of who will and won't suit up for the Patriots in the Wild Card playoff game against the Bills.


The news is good for a few New England players who either didn't play or were injured during the regular season finale last weekend. Safety Kyle Dugger (hand) and linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee) will be back in uniform tonight against Buffalo. Neither man played a week ago and both were limited in their practice participation this past week. Rookie defensive lineman Christian Barmore, who appeared to suffer a serious knee injury late in last week's game, will also suit up tonight.

Of the seven Patriots who've been deactivated for this Wild Card game, two stand out both because they aren't on the injury report and are usually not on this inactive list: linebacker Chase Winovich and defensive tackle Carl Davis. They appear to be coaches' decisions to sit this one out in favor of other defenders who'll be more a part of the game plan versus the Bills offense.

We already knew that left tackle Isaiah Wynn would not play tonight, as he was ruled out on Friday with ankle and hip injuries. The remaining four who won't take part tonight are third-string QB Jarrett Stidham, tight end Devin Asiasi, and running back J.J. Taylor – all normally listed here – as well as practice squad call-up Kristian Wilkerson.

The latter may have been brought up as insurance for wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, who popped up on the injury report this week with a thigh injury, but Meyers will be among the 48 active Patriots tonight, so, Wilkerson is expendable.

Meanwhile, Buffalo has no one of significance on its inactive list. The Bills appear as healthy as can be expected this time of year among their regular starting players.

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