UPDATE: October 26, 1:30 PM EST by Sam Westmoreland
It's official: The Patriots won't have Hernandez this week, according to their injury report:
The Patriots have released their entire inactive list: Hernandez, Chung, Gregory, Bolden, White, Dowling, Scott.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) October 26, 2012
This means the Pats will be relying heavily on Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker in the passing game, and gives Tom Brady one less weapon to throw to. It won't cripple New England to lose the talented tight end, but anytime you lose a player as talented as Hernandez, it's going to take a toll on your offense.
The thinking here is that if the Patriots can survive a trip overseas without Hernandez, the Pats will return with their tight end in better spirits for the second half of the season. While Hernandez came back from the ankle injury two weeks ago, he hasn’t looked like his explosive self.
The Patriots are 2-2 without Hernandez in the lineup this season. He is one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets, and the Pats offense has not looked the same without Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski both at full strength.
Dating back to last year’s Super Bowl, a time period in which a tight end has been hobbled in all but one game, New England is 4-4.
This season, the offense has had some trouble getting receivers into open space, leaving Brady unable to get rid of the ball as quickly as he would like. With St. Louis’ feisty defensive backs and underrated pass rush, New England could be in for another tight game.
The trip to London won’t be to a hostile environment, but everything else that goes along with traveling applies and then some. The time change and jet lag that go along with a trip across the pond are one thing, but being without Hernandez will amplify the challenges even further.
Those aren't all of the Patriots' obstacles during this turbulent international week. The Patriots chose to stay in the United States until Thursday. Coach Bill Belichick and his staff decided not to change the normal travel schedule, whereas the St. Louis Rams have been in London since Monday.