Danny Amendola's reps could rise with Malcolm Mitchell inactive

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Rookie New England Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell is inactive for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills, which thrusts veteran Danny Amendola into a potentially larger role.

Mitchell and Amendola have essentially been splitting repetitions as the No. 3 receiver behind Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan.

Mitchell has been limited in recent weeks with a hamstring injury and making him inactive against the Bills could be a move made with the big picture in mind as the Patriots have a bye next week. That gives Mitchell, who also had a miscommunication with quarterback Tom Brady on a long pass route last Sunday in Pittsburgh, some extra time to heal.

Mitchell joins cornerback Cyrus Jones, linebacker Kyle Van Noy, running back Tyler Gaffney, offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle, running back D.J. Foster and defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton as inactive players.

This marks the third straight game that Jones is inactive. The Patriots' top 2016 draft pick (second round, 60th overall) last played Oct. 9 against the Cleveland Browns when he was ejected for throwing a punch in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Van Noy was acquired on Tuesday in a trade from the Lions and just getting acclimated to the team's system. Gaffney was promoted from the practice squad on Saturday, as it looks like a case where the Patriots had to fill the 53rd spot on their roster, per NFL rules, but didn't have an immediate need on the 46-man game-day roster.

The Bills inctives are quarterback Cardale Jones, safety Aaron Williams, running back LeSean McCoy, offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, center Patrick Lewis, receiver Marquise Goodwin and defensive lineman Jerel Worthy.