The Patriots downgraded the status of OG Stephen Neal, CB Jonathan Wilhite, DT Myron Pryor, DT Mike Wright and OT Mark LeVoir to out for Thursday's game against the Lions.
The Pats did not rule out RB Fred Taylor, S Jarrad Page or QB Tom Brady.
Neal and Pryor have missed the past two games. Wilhite missed last Sunday's win over the Colts. This will be the first game that Wright, who leads the team with 5½ sacks, has missed. LeVoir has seen action in just four games this season.
The way we see it
Dan Connolly will continue to fill in for Neal at the ORG spot, and he has filled in nicely the past two games after spending the beginning of the season at left guard for Logan Mankins. The Patriots will again go with just three active cornerbacks and could play with three safeties in their sub packages. Expect CB Darius Butler to see more playing time. Missing Pryor and Wright will hurt. Pryor is Wright's backup as the inside rusher. Gerard Warren and Brandon Deaderick will have to pick up the slack. Undrafted rookie DL Kyle Love could see some defensive snaps, and the Patriots may use LBs Tully Banta-Cain and Jermaine Cunningham as rushers up front.