FOXBORO -- The Patriots will be without two of their captains when they kick off with the Jets on Christmas Eve.
Linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee) and special teamer Matthew Slater (foot) -- both recently named to the Pro Bowl -- have been ruled inactive for Saturday's divisional matchup. Both were questionable coming into the game. Though the Patriots did not practice on Friday, they did release an injury report estimating the participation level of injured players had they worked out. Both Slater and Hightower were listed as "limited."
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With Hightower out, the Patriots should continue to use linebacker Kyle Van Noy in a prominent role. Van Noy will also probably be expected to relay the calls from defensive coordinator Matt Patricia on the sideline. Linebackers Shea McClellin and Elandon Roberts could be in line to see an increased workload with Hightower unavailable.
Slater is one of the team's top kick-coverage players, but the Patriots have received strong play in that regard from rookie Jonathan Jones and second-year man Brandon King. With Slater out, King could be the choice to serve as one of the gunners opposite Jones in punt coverage.
Corner Justin Coleman is inactive, but rookie second-round pick Cyrus Jones will be in uniform. Jones was inactive last week against the Broncos but will be available as a depth option at corner. The Alabama product could also see reps as a punt-returner despite the difficulty he's had there throughout this season. Julian Edelman filled in that role last week.
Newly-acquire Patriots receiver Michael Floyd will be in uniform for the first time since he was claimed on waivers last week. He's not expected to have a huge role, but this will be an opportunity for the Patriots to get an in-game look at the wideout they've been trying to quickly get up to speed.
Other Patriots inactives are running back DJ Foster, tackle LaAdrian Waddle, quarterback Jacoby Brissett and receiver Danny Amendola (ankle).