FOXBOROUGH – Cordarrelle Patterson is listed as a wide receiver on the roster, but he’s done so much more for New England in this, his first season as a Patriot. In addition to being a pass catcher, the veteran has been the team’s top kickoff returner and even played several snaps as a true running back in 2018.
Last week against Buffalo, however, Patterson injured a knee while returning a kickoff in the early third quarter. He immediately left the field with the medical staff and didn’t return to action until this past week, when he was limited in the team’s practices. Perhaps if this were a true playoff game, he’d suit up, but the team is electing to hold Patterson out against the Jets, likely in an abundance of caution, as the Patriots have already clinched a spot in the postseason.
For the second consecutive week, a healthy Adrian Clayborn will not see game action. However, in his stead, second-year defensive end Derek Rivers – a frequent healthy scratch in 2018 – will get an opportunity to be on the 46-man game day roster. Earlier in the week, head coach Bill Belichick had encouraging things to say about Rivers, who missed all of his rookie season last year with a knee injury. It’ll be interesting to see how much playing time Rivers might finally get today versus New York.
Only one Patriot was ruled out for the Jets game when New England distributed its final injury report on Friday. Throughout this season, tight end Jacob Hollister has dealt with a hamstring injury which has limited him in practices recently.
The remaining four inactive Patriots have been regulars on the list of late. All are healthy scratches, as they’re not mentioned on the injury report: defensive end Keionta Davis, offensive lineman James Ferentz, defensive back Obi Melifonwu, and rookie cornerback Duke Dawson.
The Jets, meantime, are in rough shape medically. Yesterday, they placed three players, two of them starters, on injured reserve. WR Quincy Enunwa was a playmaker for them on offense and starting corner Morris Claiborne is a significant absence for them as well.
Enunwa’s inability to play today is magnified by the loss of fellow starting wideout Jermaine Kearse (Achilles). Claiborne’s status is further noteworthy because New York chose to deactivate its other starting corner, Trumaine Johnson, as a healthy scratch. These are a couple of areas the Patriots could choose to try to exploit this afternoon.