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Saturday, November 2, 2013
Projecting the Patriots' inactives

By Mike Reiss

Before the New England Patriots play a game, we'll attempt to predict the team's inactive players.

Our best guess on the list for Sunday's home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers:

Steve Beauharnais: Linebacker has dressed for three games this season and adds depth on special teams, but with more players returning to health the seventh-round draft choice gets bumped out.

Jake Bequette: The signing of veteran defensive end Andre Carter bumps him down the depth chart behind Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones, Carter and Michael Buchanan.

Josh Boyce: Rookie receiver has been inactive the past three games as veteran Austin Collie has leapfrogged him on the depth chart.

Marcus Forston: First-year defensive tackle adds important depth, but with Isaac Sopoaga primed to play after being acquired in a trade from the Eagles, he could be the odd man out. Buchanan was considered, but his role on the punt team adds to his value.

Tommy Kelly: Veteran defensive tackle was officially ruled out on Friday.  Kelly practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday, but with the bye week ahead, keeping him out gives him the benefit of two more weeks to rest.

Aqib Talib: Cornerback has missed the last two games with a hip injury and has been limited in practice. While he appears to be moving better in practice, perhaps the Patriots would lean toward keeping him out one more week heading into the bye with the big-picture in mind.

Leon Washington: Veteran running back is on the comeback trail from an ankle injury that has kept him out the last three games, but similar to Kelly and Talib, the thinking here is that he could benefit from two more weeks to heal up.