The New England Patriots have Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans waiting for them this weekend in a battle of AFC division leaders. Their midweek opponent might be even nastier.

A whopping eight players on the Patriots missed practice Wednesday with what as listed as an illness, including star cornerback Stephon Gilmore and four other starters on the 10-1 team.

The absences come as a flu bug is reportedly making its way through the New England locker room, according to NFL Network’s Michael Giardi.

Obviously, missing that many starters would be quite a problem for the Patriots if this illness extends to Sunday. Fortunately, they still four days to get healthy.

The bigger objective might be to make sure no other players contract the illness, which the team seems to be working on.

The situation is apparently serious enough that several players are taking preventative measures, with one even wearing a facemask. Another reportedly relayed that head coach Bill Belichick has urged his players to remain germ-free.

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November 27, 2019 at 11:00PM