The game is still about an hour away, but the inactive lists are out. Lets take a closer look at who’s not available this week for both teams:
Seahawks Inactives: WR Charly Martin, SS Winston Guy, CB Danny Gorrer, CB Jeremy Lane, DT Clinton McDonald, DT Jaye Howard.
Having both McDonald, who’s the nickel DT who gives Brandon Mebane the occational breather, and Howard, who’s next in line on the depth chart in that same roll, is a big issue for the Seahawks. Mebane is dominant when kept fresh, but tends to wear down fairly quickly. Look for the Seahawks to use DE Greg Scruggs at DT in this game to help make sure Mebane gets a chance to rest.
You might also notice that the Seahawks have 3 defensive backs on the inactives list. Many people thought Danny Gorrer would get significant playing time in this game since he’s a better matchup against Wes Welker than Marcus Trufant is. Also, not having Winston Guy could be costly, since it limits the ability of the Seahawks to use the bandit formation in situations that aren’t obvious passing situations.
Patriots Inactives: DE Jake Bequette, SS Steve Gregory, WR Julian Edelman, OLB Dont’a Hightower, OLB Tracy White, TE Michael Hoomanawanui.
There’s an important name not on the list. TE Aaron Hernandez is back, which gives the Patriots one of the best TE receiving threats. It is unclear if he’s 100%, but even at 80% he’s damn good, and will make the Patriots offense tougher to contain.
Not having Edelman hurts, as he’s the only real slot receiver on the Patriots besides Welker, but it doesn’t hurt that much as he was unlikely to get much playing time considering their reliance on TEs and the fact that Hernandez is back.
The real problem for the Patriots is the loss of Hightower. The Patriots aren’t exactly deep at LB, as the talent level drops off pretty quick after the starters. This is especially tough on the Patriots this week as White, Hightower’s backup, is also out. The Patriots will be on their third string outside linebacker on the weak side, which is never good against a runner like Marshawn Lynch.