Defensive tackle Malcom Brown has been practicing this past week, despite being limited by a left knee injury he sustained 10 days ago versus Indianapolis. However, he’s not yet fit enough to return to game action. Brown will sit tonight’s game versus Kansas City. That will hurt New England’s depth on the d-line, particularly when it comes to stopping the Chiefs’ rushing attack.
The Patriots will get a boost in the secondary with Eric Rowe returning to form after sitting out several weeks with a groin issue. Rowe started the season at cornerback opposite Stephon Gilmore, but in his absence, Jason McCourty has established himself quite nicely. It will be interesting to see who gets the starting nod tonight and if there will be any sort of personnel rotation throughout the game.
With Rowe back, rookie J.C. Jackson is a healthy scratch (not listed on the injury report).
Meanwhile, defensive ends John Simon (shoulder) and Geneo Grissom (ankle), who are predominantly relied upon for their special teams acumen, are not yet ready to play and will be out for tonight’s contest at Gillette. Defensive end Keionta Davis is a healthy scratch as well, along with the final two inactive Patriots, o-linemen Cole Croston and Ted Karras.
With Simon, Davis, and Grissom out of commission, second-year DE Derek Rivers gets a rare opportunity to show what he might be able to provide this defense from a pass-rush perspective.
From the Kansas City sideline, the Chiefs defense, already struggling this season, will take a big hit tonight. KC originally listed star safety Eric Berry (heel) and fearsome pass rusher Justin Houston (hamstring) as doubtful to play against New England, and neither will be able to dress for action. To make matters worse for them, both players’ backups are out with injuries tonight as well. Safety Eric Murray and OLB Tanoh Kpassagnon are dealing with ankle injuries.