Projecting the Patriots' inactives

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 road game against the Cincinnati Bengals:

Chris Barker: Developmental rookie guard was a healthy scratch last week now that veteran Will Svitek, who had been battling a knee injury, is healthy enough to dress.

Steve Beauharnais: Rookie linebacker has been a healthy scratch the last three games.

Jake Bequette: Second-year defensive end was inactive last week as rookie Michael Buchanan is ahead of him on the depth chart.

Aaron Dobson: Rookie receiver took a big hit in Sunday night's game against the Falcons, injuring his neck. He's been limited in practice, and we wonder if the Patriots would have signed Austin Collie if they felt Dobson was ready to go.

Rob Gronkowski: Tight end has been making positive strides, but if this is mostly about his comfort level, perhaps they'll wait another week so he can have his first game at home.

Stevan Ridley: Running back has already been ruled out with a knee injury, meaning LeGarrette Blount almost certainly steps into the No. 1 role.

Matthew Slater: Special-teams captain returned to practice Friday for the first time since injuring his left wrist, and was sporting a black cast. He is officially doubtful.

Extra point: The Patriots have two open roster spots, which are likely to be filled with practice squad promotions. Our best guess: DT Marcus Forston and S Kanorris Davis.