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Broncos Vs. Patriots, 2012 NFL Playoffs: Denver Rules Out Long Snapper Lonie Paxton, WR Eric Decker

The Denver Broncos suffered a significant blow on Friday afternoon when long snapper Lonie Paxton was declared out for Saturday's 2012 NFL Playoffs game against the New England Patriots. Paxton was excused from the previous two days of practice for personal reasons and the matter is serious enough that he will be unable to play in the game. It is not fair game to speculate on why he will be missing the game. Paxton was snapping the ball on all those field goals Matt Prater made to tie or win games.

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As expected, wide receiver Eric Decker is out for the game after a James Harrison hit to his leg sprained an MCL. Brian Dawkins is listed as doubtful, but his neck injury is a serious concern and will likely be deactivated for the game.

As for Paxton's replacement, Chris Kuper is on injured reserve after his leg injury. The Broncos did work out a couple of long snappers on Thursday, according to Adam Caplan.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Denver. For more on this game, visit Broncos blog Mile High Report and Patriots blog Pats Pulpit. Head over to SB Nation NFL for more coverage of the 2012 NFL Playoffs.