Patriots wide receiver Demario Douglas, who suffered a concussion against the Giants, will not play Sunday against the Chargers. Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

Bailey Zappe is expected to start at quarterback for the New England Patriots on Sunday against the Chargers, but Zappe will be without a pair of rookie wide receivers on Sunday afternoon.

Both Pop Douglas (concussion) and Kayshon Boutte (illness/shoulder) were ruled out for this weekend’s game against the Chargers. Douglas has been in the concussion protocol since absorbing a clothesline on a punt return in against the Giants, while Boutte missed the final two practices of the week with an illness.

That’ll leave Zappe with JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Tyquan Thornton, Jalen Reagor, and perhaps Malik Cunningham at wideout.

CHARGERS: Keenan Allen has been listed as questionable for the Los Angeles Chargers’ game at New England on Sunday.

Allen has an NFL-leading 97 receptions and is second in receiving yards with 1,117. Coach Brandon Staley said Friday he was optimistic the 11th-year wide receiver will be able to play after he was a limited participant during practice.

Allen missed Wednesday and Thursday’s sessions after suffering a thigh bruise during last Sunday’s 20-10 loss to Baltimore. The Chargers have lost three straight and are 4-7.


“It was good to have him back out there. He was sore from the game, so we wanted to give him some rest,” Staley said. “He was able to get out there and do some work today.”

Allen has at least 10 receptions and 100 yards in three straight games for a team that is thin at receiver. Mike Williams suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 3 and Joshua Palmer will miss his fourth straight game with a knee injury.

First-round pick Quentin Johnston has been inconsistent and Jalen Guyton has been limited the past two games due to a groin injury.

STEELERS: Pittsburgh safety Minkah Fitzpatrick said Friday he will play this weekend against Arizona after being sidelined for more than a month.

Fitzpatrick suffered a hamstring injury against Jacksonville on Oct. 29. He said the lengthy recovery process can be “annoying” but required him to be patient in building back to full speed.

“You don’t know until you go,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s one of them injuries where you can feel great and then you go out there and you run and it’s still not 110 (percent). And then you can go out there and feel great and then you might pop some scar tissue or tweak it a little bit. And especially as a DB, receiver or running back, something like that, you don’t want to be out there until you’re 110 and you can play at full go.”


BROWNS: Joe Flacco will start Sunday for Cleveland, who is turning to the veteran quarterback to keep them in the playoff chase.

The 38-year-old Flacco is the fourth QB to start this season for the Browns (7-4). He was signed two weeks ago after Deshaun Watson underwent shoulder surgery, and Flacco is playing this week against the Los Angeles Rams because rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson remains in concussion protocol after getting hurt in last week’s loss at Denver.

If Flacco plays well this week, he’ll likely remain Cleveland’s starter for the rest of this season.

• The NFL suspended Cleveland wide receiver Michael Woods on Friday for the final six games this season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

Woods, a sixth-round pick in 2021 from Oklahoma, has been sidelined all season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. He got hurt while working out in Texas with quarterback Deshaun Watson during the offseason and underwent surgery in April.

The league did not provide any other details about why Woods was suspended. The 23-year-old played in 10 games for the Browns last season, finishing with five catches for 45 yards. He also contributed on special teams.

PACKERS: Green Bay running back Aaron Jones will miss a second straight game Sunday night when the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs visit Lambeau Field.

Jones hurt his left knee late in the second quarter of a 23-20 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 19. He sat out the Packers’ 29-22 Thanksgiving Day triumph at Detroit and hadn’t practiced this week.

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