Patriots Downgrade Valentine, Hamilton to Out vs. Steelers

The New England Patriots have downgraded DTs Vincent Valentine and Woodrow Hamilton to out for Week 7 against the Steelers.

It looks like the Patriots will be a little thin in their interior defensive line against one of the league’s best rushers. Valentine will miss Sunday’s contest with a back injury while Hamilton is dealing with an ailing shoulder.

Starters Malcolm Brown and Alan Branch will likely see more playing time with Valentine and Wilson on the shelf. New England has the ninth-ranked rushing defense (92 yards-per-game) while Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell is averaging 5.5 yards per rush on the year. Now even more shallow up front, and facing Landry Jones at quarterback, the New England defensive line is sure to see a steady dose of the running game on Sunday.

In good news for the Patriots, LB Jamie Collins made the trip to Pittsburgh after missing last week with a hip injury. His status for the game is questionable, but the fact that he traveled with the team is a good sign that he could play Sunday.

LB Shea McLellan and RB Brandon Bolden were also upgraded this week after not playing last week. McLellan has been dealing with the after-effects of a concussion and Bolden has been sidelined since injuring his knee in Week 4 against the Buffalo Bills.

LB Elandon Roberts was added to the injury report this week with an ankle injury. His playing status for Sunday is uncertain.

For the Steelers, RB DeAngelo Williams, WR Markus Wheaton T Marcus Gilbert and C Cody Wallace join QB Ben Roethlisberger as the offensive players who won’t see the field Sunday. DE Cameron Heyward and S Shamarko Thomas will be out for the Pittsburgh Defense.

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