FOXBORO (CBS) – This isn’t official, but if I had to guess, here are some of the top Patriot players who I don’t think will see any action tonight against the Saints.

Brandon Spikes:  He missed the beginning of camp with a knee injury, came back for a couple of practices, and now he’s been gone for the last three sessions.  The Pats need Spikes — when he’s out there on the field he gives them energy —  but right now he’s just having trouble staying on the field.

Read: Pats-Saints: What To Watch For

Deion Branch:  The 10-year-vet has been slow the last couple of days.  He may be nursing something, but he has not been in many of the drills down at camp the last couple of sessions.  Deion cannot afford to miss any time, with Donte’ Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney likely passing him on the depth chart. Branch is on the bubble, and not playing will hurt his cause.

Ron Brace:  The four-year player out of Boston College is once again on the injured list.  He has tried to stay healthy but there’s always something with him. He started camp on the field but after a couple of practices, the trainers were stretching him out on the sidelines.  He’s hasn’t been at practice since.

Logan Mankins, Sebastian Vollmer and (obviously) Brian Waters:  The offensive line has been struggling in camp and this is why.  Mankins and Vollmer are here but not ready to take the field. Brian Waters is not even in camp.   There is speculation that he will show up later, but for now, the group that protects Tom Brady is thin.

Patriots Blog: Ridley Getting More Comfortable

Tom Brady:  I know Greg Bedard said he’s going to start, but if it was my own personal call Brady should keep his helmet at home.  The offensive line is thin and it would be a shame if Brady gets hurt. The Saints are going to get after the quarterback — they did it in the Hall of Fame game and sidelined Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb with sore ribs.  Tom does not need that.

So he’ll be playing, but just hope it’s not for too long with the state of the offensive line…

Follow Levan Reid on and on Twitter @LevanReid all Patriots’ season long! 


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