NFL Rumors: 2 Key New England Patriots to Miss Significant Time

The New England Patriots' 2023 season took a devastating turn on Sunday afternoon. During yesterday's 38-3 humiliation at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys, edge rusher Matthew Judon and cornerback Christian Gonzalez both suffered significant injuries that, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, will keep them out indefinitely.

Judon suffered a bicep tendon tear, and the current expectation is that he'll miss several months if not the remainder of the season. Little is known about Gonzalez's injury so far, but if he's seeking a second opinion, he probably didn't like the first. He could be looking at an extended absence as well.

Judon is arguably the Patriots' most established star and a lynchpin of their defense. He's coming off four consecutive Pro Bowl seasons and a career-high 15.5 sacks in 2022. He had opened this current season on a tear, notching 4.0 sacks, five tackles for loss, and nine quarterback hits.

Gonzalez was the Patriots' 17th overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft and has been enjoying an impressive rookie season. Through four games, he has nabbed an interception and three passes defended while allowing an 87.6 passer rating on throws in his direction. His 80.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus this season is easily the best mark among Patriots qualifying cornerbacks.

Judon and Gonzalez both missing significant time is a nightmare scenario for a Patriots team that is already spiralling. The Patriots are 1-3 and their defense has been their strength so far: they rank 10th in yards allowed. If that unit were to take a significant step back, the Patriots could quickly become one of the NFL's worst teams: their offense ranks 31st in points scored and 26th in giveaways.

A lot of those struggles can be attributed to quarterback Mac Jones. The third-year passer has thrown four interceptions and is averaging a middling 5.6 net yards per passing attempt this season. Coming off two losing seasons in three years, the Patriots may be forced to rebuild next year with a new franchise quarterback if Jones can't turn his career around.

Photo Credit: © Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports