Patriots not expected to play vs. Lions

August, 22, 2013
8/22/13
5:00
AM ET
Tonight the Patriots play their third preseason game, which almost always represents the closest thing to regular-season action, as teams typically play their starters for substantially longer than other preseason games.

It would come as no surprise to see Tom Brady and Vince Wilfork on the field in Detroit into the third quarter, while there are other players whom we aren't expecting to see at all, highlighted below.

Non-Football Injury List/Physical Unable to Perform players
TE Rob Gronkowski (PUP)
WR Mark Harrison (NFI)
DT Armond Armstead (NFI)

Players who were absent from practice this week
WR Danny Amendola
DE Jermaine Cunningham
CB Brandon Jones

Players who were limited during Tuesday's practice
DE Justin Francis
OT/G Marcus Cannon
TE Daniel Fells
CB Ras-I Dowling
WR Kamar Aiken

A trio of others to keep an eye on includes defensive backs Devin McCourty and Alfonzo Dennard, as well as offensive lineman Dan Connolly. McCourty and Connolly have yet to play in a preseason game (both are recovering from offseason shoulder surgery), but they were on the field for practice this week.

Additionally, McCourty shed the red non-contact jersey he had worn throughout much of camp. Dennard, meanwhile, has been limited of late, but could return to action after missing the team's second preseason game.

If the 11 players who we expect not to play in the game do in fact sit out, the Patriots will have 73 players in uniform for the contest. That total could shrink if McCourty, Dennard or Connolly is once again unable to suit up.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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