It’s week one of the NFL season, and teams are gearing up to set the tone early. The New England Patriots enter the season with a tough matchup as they take on the Philadelphia Eagles, who are coming off a Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and have plenty to prove. For the Patriots, the questions continue to surround their offense and quarterback Mac Jones, as many are waiting for Jones and this offensive unit to take the next step. Many are hopeful this season with new additions JuJu Smith-Schuster, Ezekiel Elliot, Mike Giesicki, and rookie wide receivers Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglas joining the mix.
Heading into the weekend, two starters were to watch: running back Rhamondre Stevenson (illness) and wide receiver DeVante Parker (knee). Both players were in jeopardy of missing the season opener, but thanks to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, we now know who’s in and who’s out.
The Patriots will have their starting RB after he missed Friday’s practice due to his illness, but after attending team meetings on Saturday, he seems to have recovered in time and will be on the field for the 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff. Stevenson was a huge part of the Patriots’ ground game a season ago when he broke out with 1,040 rushing yards and five touchdowns in his second season.
While they will have their backfield duo of Stevenson and Elliot, they will be short a WR as DeVante Parker, who had been listed as questionable with a knee injury leading up to the game, is not expected to play, according to Rapoport.
The loss of Parker will be felt as he has the most 2022 receiving yards (536) among returning pass catchers, leaving QB Mac Jones with a bunch of new faces against a top-five Eagles defense out for blood.