BOSTON (CBSMiami) – The New England Patriots continued to win Sunday night, but the win could come with a heavy cost that could help open the door for the Miami Dolphins.

According to the Boston Herald, league sources said Patriots starting nose tackle Vince Wilfork will likely be placed on injured reserve after tearing his right Achilles tendon early in the game. Wilfork, also a former University of Miami star, has been the steadying hand of the Patriots defense for years.

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Wilfork has only missed six games in his entire career up to this point and hadn’t missed a single game since 2009.

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In his place, the Patriots inserted rookie Joe Vellano, who did pull down one sack of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. The Patriots are likely to look around free agency to add another big body to the roster.

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Losing Wilfork for the season will be a major setback for the Patriots defense. It’s also a major gain for the Dolphins as Miami looks for a way to finally overtake New England. If the Patriots’ defense is weakened just a little, Miami could leap ahead if the Dolphins defense can slow down Tom Brady.