Matt Judon, Ja'Whaun Bentley Placed on Patriots' COVID-19 List Ahead of Jaguars Game

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 28, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 18: New England Patriots Linebacker Matt Judon (9) lines up for a play during the NFL football game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts on December 18, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Patriots placed linebackers Matt Judon and Ja'Whaun Bentley ahead of their Week 17 clash with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero noted a record-high 106 players across the NFL landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The NFL and NFLPA agreed to amend the league's COVID-19 protocols to allow for vaccinated and asymptomatic players to return more quickly amid the surge of new cases.

Judon appeared to downplay (warning: link contains profanity) the likely time frame for his absence.

Thanks to their 33-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills, the Patriots fell out of first place in the AFC East. At 9-6, they still occupy a wild-card spot but have yet to clinch a postseason berth.

New England is a 15.5-point favorite over Jacksonville at DraftKings Sportsbook.

The Jags are clearly overmatched on paper, but the Houston Texans' 41-29 upset of the Los Angeles Chargers showed how teams eliminated from the playoff hunt can relish the role of spoiler.

Missing Judon and Bentley would be a big setback for the Patriots defense.

Judon punched his ticket to a third straight Pro Bowl with a team-high 12.5 sacks through 15 games. Bentley's 88 tackles, meanwhile, are second on New England, only two behind leader Kyle Dugger.

That's a lot of production the Patriots would have to replace.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).

Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), or call or text the TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789 (TN).

21+. NJ/PA/WV/IN/IA/CO/IL/TN only. In partnership with Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.