Malcolm MItchell reportedly is expected to play against the Steelers. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)
The Patriots will have a gameday roster decision to make in advance of Sunday’s AFC championship game.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell will play against the Steelers after missing the last two games with a knee injury. The report also adds Chris Hogan (thigh) is good to go as well.
With Mitchell out against the Texans last weekend, the Patriots went with Hogan, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Michael Floyd. This could be altered a bit Sunday with Mitchell appearing to be ready to go.
It seems unlikely the team will have five receivers active against the Steelers because of other needs on the roster. Edelman and Hogan are locks to play. Mitchell is playing, according to Schefter, so this leaves the Patriots seemingly deciding between Amendola and Floyd for the last wide receiver roster spot.
Amendola returned last week from an ankle injury that kept him out of the last month of the season. He was the fourth receiver on the depth chart, but it’s hard to say if that was just a case of him working his way back and not ready for a full work load.
Floyd, who joined the Patriots in December, played in the last two regular season games before the playoff game. The former Cardinals receiver didn’t have the best of games last Saturday, as his chemistry with Tom Brady appeared a tick off. Brady led Floyd too much on one of his interceptions and there seemed to be some issues with Floyd’s breaks on routes.
This reporter sees the Patriots going with Amendola over Floyd because of Amendola’s chemistry with Brady (remember how important he was in the playoffs the last time the Patriots won the Super Bowl?) and the fact he has some special teams value returning punts. Floyd doesn’t have any special teams value.
Ultimately, the final decision will be known around 5:10 p.m. Sunday when inactives are released.