The New England Patriots have been one of the NFL's most disappointing teams this season, solidified by last week's 34-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Bill Belichick & Co. look to stop the bleeding when he faces his former pupil Josh McDaniels and the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET.
A loss to McDaniels would be nothing short of embarrassing, meaning Belichick must put his best possible lineup on the gridiron in Week 6. Only 48 Patriots can suit up in any given week, so a handful of players must watch from the sidelines.
Here are five Patriots players who are most likely to be inactive against the Raiders in Week 6.
5 Probable Patriots Inactive vs. Raiders in Week 6
1. JuJu Smith-Schuster
Several Patriots were banged up in the loss to the Saints, including JuJu Smith-Schuster. The veteran wide receiver was forced out of the game with a head injury and didn't return.
Unfortunately, Smith-Schuster has been absent from practice throughout the week. There are five steps to clearing the NFL's concussion protocol and considering how the 26-year-old hasn't even reached the first step of "symptom-limited activity" (stretching/balance training), he appears to be a long shot to face Las Vegas.
Besides, concussions are serious and the last thing New England needs is for the ex-USC Trojan to suit up before he's ready.
Nevertheless, Smith-Schuster's concussion is only the latest issue in a disappointing season for the offseason acquisition. Signed to a three-year, $33 million deal, he's only recorded 14 catches for 86 yards without a touchdown in five games.