- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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1. Adalius Thomas is a healthy scratch. With Thomas out, the Patriots are without their most powerful outside linebacker. This is a surprise, as Thomas was not on the team's injury report. Without Thomas, one would assume the Patriots will shy away from running the 3-4 defensive scheme because of concerns in setting the edge. So this looks like a game in which we'll see more four-man line and sub packages.
3. With starting left tackle Matt Light out (right knee), the Patriots will either slot rookie Sebastian Vollmer into that spot or move veteran Nick Kaczur from right tackle to left tackle. If Kaczur moves, Vollmer projects to play right tackle. Veteran lineman Kendall Simmons is active for the first time Sunday, and he looks like the third tackle. Rookie center/guard Rich Ohrnberger is a healthy scratch. The top interior backup remains Dan Connolly.
4. With veteran receiver Joey Galloway a healthy scratch for the third straight week, the Patriots once again will go with the combination of Sam Aiken-Julian Edelman to fill the Nos. 3 and 4 role. This has been an area of concern for the club. It's possible that tight ends could be a more featured part of the game plan as well -- split out wide at times in a receiver-like role -- as all three are active.
5. With running back Fred Taylor out once again (right ankle), the Patriots will have Sammy Morris, Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis as their top backs. Morris got the bulk of the work last week. Ball security with this group takes on added importance in the elements.
6. With safety James Sanders out (shoulder) for the second straight week, veteran Brandon McGowan once again should draw the start. That pushes rookie Pat Chung up a rung on the depth chart, although cornerback Shawn Springs is also a possibility at safety.
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