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Analysis from Patriots' inactives

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Some quick-hit thoughts from the Patriots' inactive players:

1. Both starting guards out. With starting left guard Logan Mankins (ankle) and starting right guard Dan Connolly (back) out, the Patriots will most likely have Nick McDonald on the left side and Donald Thomas on the right side. That's how they finished last week's game. Also, recently re-signed Mitch Petrus is active and is a top interior backup.

2. Chung out again; McCourty likely to stay at safety. With safety Patrick Chung (shoulder/hamstring) missing his fourth straight game, it increases the likelihood that Devin McCourty remains at safety alongside veteran Steve Gregory. That would likely mean Aqib Talib slides in at left corner, with Kyle Arrington at right corner. Rookie Alfonzo Dennard then could come on in nickel situations.

3. Scott's return affects Francis at defensive end. The return of veteran Trevor Scott (hamstring) after missing the last three games affects rookie Justin Francis, who showed up last week with a few strong rushes and a near punt block. Scott offers a little more on special teams than Francis in terms of playing on multiple units.

4. White back to boost special teams. Veteran linebacker Tracy White, who has missed the last four games with a foot injury, is back in the lineup. He was the team's second-leading tackler on special teams last year.

5. Fells sliding down the depth chart. The Patriots have shaken up their tight end depth chart, with Visanthe Shiancoe and Michael Hoomanawanui dressing over Daniel Fells as backups behind Rob Gronkowski. This reflects how Fells has fallen out of favor with the coaching staff, which seemed to begin last week when he played just three snaps.

6. Lloyd and Welker ready to go. No surprise as Brandon Lloyd (knee) and Wes Welker (ankle) are dressed. That was the expectation all along. But Julian Edelman (No. 3) and practice-squad call-up Greg Salas (No. 4) could potentially see more time than the norm if an issue crops up for either Lloyd or Welker.