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A New England Patriots helmet during the game between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Patriots coaching staff has been insistent throughout the week that Sunday’s finale against the Jets is not a preseason game. Their goal is the same as it’s been all season – to win.

However, their roster is going to look pretty preseason-y. On Saturday, the team elevated five players off the practice squad for the season finale, including three who haven’t played in a game yet this season. The group includes linebacker Cassh Maluia, cornerback Michael Jackson, TE/DE Rashod Berry, who were officially signed to the 53-man roster, and offensive lineman Ross Reynolds, and cornerback D’Angelo Ross, who are temporary elevations.

A sixth-round pick in 2020, Maluia was with the team for the first half of 2020, playing a special-teams specific role. He was released in late November to open up a roster spot, but brought back on the practice squad a few days later. This will be his second straight game on the active roster, he was elevated last week and played his first career defensive snaps against the Bills.

Jackson was acquired by the Patriots via trade back in August, but failed to make the team and ended up on the practice squad to start the season. He’s remained there throughout the year. His lone NFL experience was a single game last season while a UDFA rookie with the Detroit Lions.

MORE: What to watch for in Sunday’s Patriots finale

Berry was with the Patriots in training camp as a UDFA rookie this year. This marks his third promotion to the active roster. He’s played a total of 44 snaps this season, including 22 on defense against the Chargers in early December.

Reynolds was signed to the practice squad back in late November, after spending time with the San Francisco 49ers. He’s in his second NFL season, and has never appeared in a game.

Ross has spent the last two training camps with the Patriots. He got off to an impressive start in 2019, but a preseason injury landed him on IR. This year, he couldn’t crack the tremendous depth the team has at cornerback, but has hung around on the practice squad since Week 1. Sunday will be his first NFL game.

In order to make room for all five players, the Patriots placed running back Damien Harris on IR. The move doesn’t come as much of a surprise, with Harris being ruled out for the game on Friday.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.