The New England Patriots will be without their top cornerback Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
The Patriots on Saturday downgraded corner Stephon Gilmore (knee), safety Kyle Dugger (ankle) and offensive lineman Justin Herron (ankle) to out for Sunday’s game, indicating the three did not travel to Buffalo.
New England already had ruled out wide receivers Julian Edelman (knee) and N’Keal Harry (concussion) and defensive tackle Carl Davis (concussion).
Gilmore suffered his injury during practice Thursday and did not practice Friday. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year has been rumored as a potential trade candidate as Tuesday’s deadline approaches.
This snaps a streak of 53 consecutive starts (including postseason) for Gilmore, who has not missed a game since Week 8 of the 2017 season. He’s played 98.7 percent of New England’s defensive snaps this season, second-most on the team behind safety Devin McCourty (99.7 percent).
Losing Gilmore and Dugger, who sat out last week’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers, deals a significant blow to New England’s secondary, which will look to slow an explosive Bills air attack led by quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
Sunday’s forecast for Orchard Park, N.Y., calls for rain and heavy winds, which could make passing difficult.
Herron, a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, has been a valuable O-line reserve this season, making starts at both tackle spots. The Patriots also are without starting right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor, who is on injured reserve.
Eight additional Patriots players are listed as questionable for Sunday: guards Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason, running back Damien Harris, cornerback J.C. Jackson, outside linebackers John Simon and Shilique Calhoun, defensive tackle Lawrence Guy and tight end Dalton Keene.
The Patriots are 2-4 following their first three-game losing streak since 2002. The Bills sit atop the AFC East standings at 5-2.