FOXBORO -- The Patriots knew they would be tested by the Texans in pass protection on Sunday. The test got even tougher when it was announced before the game that starting right tackle Marcus Cannon would miss the game as he's still dealing with a concussion and an ankle issue.
Linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee), special-teams ace Matthew Slater (hamstring), corner Eric Rowe (groin), running back Rex Burkhead (ribs), linebacker Harvey Langi and offensive lineman Cole Croston are also inactive for Sunday's matchup.
How the Patriots replace Cannon is still unknown. The Patriots have a pair of options they like in LaAdrian Waddle and Cam Fleming, though both players had their share of difficulty with Texans pass-rushers in joint practices last month at The Greenbrier in West Virginia.
On Houston's end, its defense will be without starting corner Kevin Johnson and running back Alfred Blue as well as guard Jeff Allen, receiver Will Fuller, receiver Andy Jones, guard Jah Reid and defensive end Carlos Watkins.
Both tight end Rob Gronkowski and receiver Danny Amendola are active for the game after telling reporters earlier this week that they were good to go for kickoff. Phillip Dorsett, Stephon Gilmore, Chris Hogan, Elandon Roberts and Nate Ebner are also active. All were listed as questionable on the injury report this week.