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Inactives Analysis: Patriots O will miss Gronk, Michel

Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower is inactive for Week 8.
Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower is inactive for Week 8.

FOXBOROUGH – New England will be without two of its most important offensive weapons for the Green Bay game tonight. It will be up to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to find a way to compensate for the absence of tight end Rob Gronkowski (ankle/back) and running back Sony Michel (knee).

Both players were questionable to suit up tonight, but after having played against Buffalo this past Monday night, Gronkowski is a mild surprise to be named among the seven inactive players. It also appeared that Michel was more likely to play after having spoken to reporters late this past week. 

Perhaps both men are being held out of this game out of an abundance of caution, but there's no doubt this offense will be severely limited in what it can do versus the Pack tonight.

Meanwhile, with starting guard Shaq Mason having to sit out with a calf issue, Ted Karras will likely take his place in the lineup. Karras is a solid player and the o-line shouldn't be too worse off. Plus, right tackle Marcus Cannon (concussion) figures to be back in his usual spot after missing the past couple of games.

On defense, the Patriots should get a boost with the return of LB Dont'a Hightower, who missed Monday night's Buffalo game with a knee issue. 

Green Bay isn't in bad shape.

WR Geronimo Allison (hamstring) is the only significant Packer who won't play tonight.

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