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Patriots Daily: Three Ruled Out; Week 16 NFL Games of Note

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New England Patriots wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (7) runs with the ball past Pittsburgh Steelers safety Damontae Kazee (23) during the first half of an NFL football game on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, in Pittsburgh. He was the Patriots highest graded offensive player by Pro Football Focus in Week 14 (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The New England Patriots injury report came out for tomorrow night’s game against the Denver Broncos. Three Patriots players have been ruled out, with another nine listed as questionable. As mentioned in yesterday’s Patriots Daily, New England is at a point in the season where both the team and the players will need to be making tough decisions about what is best in terms of playing at less than 100%.

The complete Patriots injury report:

OUT (3)

DB Jabrill Peppers (hamstring)
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (ankle)
RB Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle)

QUESTIONABLE (9)

DT Christian Barmore (shoulder)
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (knee)
OT Trent Brown (ankle/hand)
TE Hunter Henry (knee)
LB Anfernee Jennings (illness)
CB Jonathan Jones (knee)
OT Connor McDermott (concussion)
ST Matthew Slater (hamstring)
LB Jahlani Tavai (ankle)

Aside from Patriots-Broncos there are several NFL games in Week 16 that should be of interest to New England football fans. Several because they could be a postseason preview, and others that could affect the Patriots 2024 NFL Draft positioning.

Top Games of Week 16 (with NFL Power Rankings)

#2 Baltimore Ravens at #1 San Francisco 49ers (Mon 8:15)
#4 Dallas Cowboys at #3 Miami Dolphins (Sun 4:25)
#7 Cleveland Browns at #12 Houston Texans (Sun 1:00)

Games Affecting the Patriots Draft Position

#23 Green Bay Packers at #32 Carolina Panthers (Sun 1:00)
#27 Chicago Bears at #30 Arizona Cardinals (Sun 4:25)
#29 Washington Commanders at #26 New York Jets (Sun 1:00)

Also in today’s Patriots Daily: Tyreek Hill chases Megatron; Mike Tomlin trade options; 1986 Heisman Trophy race, and more…

New England Patriots

Patriots Football Now – Head Coach Candidates for the 2024 New England Patriots

Patriots Football Now – Trent Brown Doubles Down on Critique of Cunningham Handling

AFC East News

Washington Post – These Bills are built for Buffalo, and for the playoffs

ESPN – Can Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill break Calvin Johnson’s receiving record?

New York Post – Jets still have high hopes for little-used rookie Will McDonald

NFL News

NFL.com – Contract-year winners: 10 players poised to cash in

Yardbarker – Could the Steelers consider trading Mike Tomlin?

Patriots Football Now – NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 16

PFN+ – 2024 NFL Draft Previews

Boston Bruins

Go over to our sibling site Boston Hockey Now to check out the great Boston Bruins coverage from Jimmy Murphy and the BHN team. The NHL season is underway and there is plenty happening in the Bruins 100 Anniversary season.

Subscribe here or at BHN to get a subscription to both sites. Subscribers get bonus coverage such as NFL Draft scouting reports and weekly NFL Power Rankings. It also provides a completely ad-free experience on the sites.

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Fun Fact of the Day

Today is Jim Harbaugh’s birthday. In 1986 Harbaugh, playing for Michigan, finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting. Vinnie Testaverde of Miami (Fla.) was the runaway winner. The top four in the voting was:

  1. Vinnie Testaverde, QB – Miami (Fla.)
  2. Paul Palmer, RB – Temple
  3. Jim Harbaugh, QB – Michigan
  4. Brian Bosworth, LB – Oklahoma

The player who finished with the second-most first place votes finished fifth in the overall voting. That player: Holy Cross two-way star Gordie Lockbaum. The following year Lockbaum would move up to third overall in the Heisman voting, won by Notre Dame WR/PR Tim Brown.

Tweet of the Day

Tweet of the Day is from the official Patriots X account, with a link to Bill Belichick’s press conference from Friday. Always enjoyable to see Belichick dive deep into football conversation that interests him…