The Patriots have battled many injuries to key players this season. Big names like Logan Mankins, Aaron Hernandez, Chandler Jones, Rob Gronkowski and others have missed games. In some ways the injuries have been the story of the season.

It's a tale that won't change this Sunday against the Jaguars where the Patriots will have to do without two of their key defensive players.

Middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, right cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and tight end Rob Gronkowski will not play for the Patriots in Sunday's game against the Jaguars, the team announced.

That is some pretty awful news. Though admittedly it'd be more awful if the team wasn't facing the lowly 2-12 Jacksonville Jaguars.

Gronkowski, Spikes and Dennard all practiced all week. Gronk was not expected to play since breaking his forearm in Week 11 against the Colts. This would be Week 4 of the 4-6 weeks he was supposed to miss.

Dennard has left the past two games due to injury. Neither caused him to miss any practice time but, while he suited up against the 49ers after sustaining a hamstring injury the week prior, the knee injury he sustained in that San Francisco game was apparently bad enough to keep him out this game.

Patriots fans might want to cover their ears for this part. Kyle Arrington will fill in as the top backup to Dennard. The cornerback who seems to always be near a big play. It's worth noting that after Dennard went out last week, Arrington stepped in for him and of course was the targeted corner on Michael Crabtree's long catch and run touchdown. This was, of course, the first offensive play for San Fran after the Patriots had tied the game at 31. The Jaguars don't have much, but they have two dangerous receivers in Cecil Shorts III and Justin Blackmon. They've been in shootouts before. Patriots fans have to hope this doesn't turn out to be another one.

Brandon Spikes has had knee and ankle injuries the past couple of weeks and has often been spotted by the media on a bike during practice. Either Mike Rivera or Tavon Wilson will fill in for him at linebacker, or Rob Ninkovich could slide back there.

Still, one should expect the Patriots to still take care of business against Jacksonville. Neither injury seems to be too serious since there was no missed practice time. The team could very well just be thinking ahead here with their seeding almost all but certainly locked up.

How does effect the Patriots keys to victory?

Michael Saver 12/22/2012 08:31:00 PM Edit

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