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Bills vs. Patriots: New England Won't Have Logan Mankins

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A New England Patriots offensive line that has struggled with consistency and continuity in the early goings of the 2012 season will be without its best player for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.

Per Tom Curran of CSNNewEngland.com (via PFT), four-time Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins did not make the trip to Orchard Park and has been downgraded to out for Week 4. (He was previously questionable.) That should mean that Donald Thomas will get another start, though that could be at right guard, with Dan Connolly flipping over to the left side to replace Mankins.

For Bills defensive tackles Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus, however, an interior trio of Connolly, Ryan Wendell and Thomas is significantly less imposing than one with Mankins, Wendell and Connolly. Mankins joins receiver Julian Edelman and tight end Aaron Hernandez on the inactive list.

The news isn't all bad for New England, however: tight end Rob Gronkowski, listed as questionable on the injury report with a hip injury, is expected to play. That's not terribly surprising, given the Hernandez injury and the earlier release of Kellen Winslow, but it's good news for the Pats all the same.