The New England Patriots will have a pair of key defensive players out Sunday vs. the Miami Dolphins. Kyle Dugger was ruled out Friday before Dont’a Hightower was downgraded to out Saturday after being listed as questionable on Friday. The team announced the downgrading of Hightower Saturday.

Dugger’s hand injury kept the safety out of practice all week while Hightower’s knee limited the linebacker in practice all week.

It’s likely that the Patriots are taking a conservative approach and not taking any risks with injuries this week, as while it’s an important game in terms of seeding, New England has already clinched a playoff spot. They could clinch the division with a Bills loss to the Jets and a win over the Dolphins, but that’s highly unlikely. The Patriots will need him for the playoffs.

Still, eight players remain questionable for the Pats as well.

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