ATLANTA – As was the case two weeks ago for the AFC Championship, every Patriot deactivated for Super Bowl LIII today is a healthy scratch. New England listed no one on the final injury report this past week.
The team’s seven-man inactive therefore list is nearly identical to last week’s Divisional Playoff, with two noteworthy exceptions, both on the defensive line.
Tackle Danny Shelton will be in uniform along with defensive end Deatrich Wise. Shelton was active in the Divisional Round versus the other L.A. team, the Chargers, who presented a more potent rushing attack than the Chiefs did in the AFC title game. With the Rams featuring two explosive backs in Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson, the decision to activate the big-bodied Shelton seems to make sense. Defensive back Obi Melifonwu goes back to being inactive, as does defensive end Derek Rivers.
It would seem that Rivers had to make way for Wise, who had been dealing with an ankle issue prior to the AFC Championship. Wise is a more experienced and productive player than Rivers at this point and should help give the Patriots another potential rotational option at DE tonight.
The remaining five inactive Patriots haven’t been on the 46-man game day roster for most of this season, so, their inclusion on the list is no surprise: defensive ends Keionta Davis and Ufomba Kamalu, tight end Stephen Anderson, offensive lineman James Ferentz, and rookie cornerback Duke Dawson.
The Rams, meanwhile, also have a relatively healthy squad. They removed their only two listings, safety Blake Countess (foot) and kicker Greg Zuerlein (left/plant foot), on Friday. Zuerlein is a big-legged kicker and if he were to aggravate his injury tonight, it would put the Rams in a bit of a bind when it comes to kickoffs, extra points, and field goals.