The New England Patriots will close out the final two games of the season without the services of defensive lineman Alan Branch who is expected to miss “a few weeks” due to a miniscus issue, according to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.

While Branch will certainly miss the final two games of the season, it is unknown at this time if he will miss more time than that.

If New England can secure a 1st round bye, then the chances of Branch being available to play in the Patriots’ opening playoff game increase.