11:30 a.m.: No surprises on the Patriots’ inactive list:
Edge rusher Khalil Mack and wide receiver Allen Robinson both are active for Chicago.
11:15 a.m.: We now have a good idea of who the Patriots’ final two inactives will be.
Offensive lineman Brian Schwenke and defensive end Keionta Davis are running through a separate pregame warmup with practice squad quarterback Danny Etling and injured rookie linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, suggesting they will not suit up this afternoon.
Schwenke had gotten the nod over Ted Karras in the previous three games, but it looks like Karras, an Illinois native, will draw back into the lineup for this one.
The Patriots already have ruled out tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Jacob Hollister, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon and defensive ends John Simon and Geneo Grissom.
Side note: It was interesting to see Bentley, a 2018 fifth-round draft pick, make the trip to Chicago. He tore his bicep in Week 3 and is not expected to play again this season.
10:30 a.m.: In an unsurprising move, the Patriots officially ruled Rob Gronkowski out this morning. They should have their other banged-up skill players available, though, according to multiple reports:
One of the first Patriots players on the field this morning was Gordon, who could take on an even larger role with Gronkowski out. Gordon was Tom Brady’s favorite target in last week’s win over the Kansas City Chiefs, catching five passes on nine targets for 42 yards.
Some scenes from pregame:
8 a.m. ET: Good morning from chilly Soldier Field in Chicago, where the New England Patriots are preparing to take on the Bears in Week 7 of the NFL season.
The Patriots, who are looking to extend their three-game winning streak, will be extremely shorthanded at the tight end position for this matchup, as Jacob Hollister (hamstring) was ruled out Saturday and Rob Gronkowski (back/ankle) reportedly is not expected to play.
That leaves blocking-focused Dwayne Allen as New England’s only available tight end, which likely will result in an uptick in four-wide receiver and/or two-running back sets.
Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon and defensive ends John Simon and Geneo Grissom also have been ruled out for the Patriots, and six others are listed as questionable: wide receivers Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman, running back Sony Michel, cornerback Eric Rowe, defensive tackle Malcom Brown an defensive end Deatrich Wise.
The status of Chicago’s best defensive player also is uncertain, as star pass rusher Khalil Mack is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Starting Bears wideout Allen Robinson — quarterback Mitchell Trubisky’s favorite target this season — also is questionable, as is nickel corner Bryce Callahan.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET, but be sure to check back here throughout the morning for full pregame coverage.
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images