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Bills RB Fred Jackson practices, could play vs. Patriots

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
Jackson has been sidelined since Week 1. (US Presswire)

Bills running back C.J. Spiller may be a long shot to suit up against the Patriots Sunday, but the other feature back in this offense, Fred Jackson, appears set to return after missing the last two weeks with a sprained knee suffered against the Jets in the season opener.

At the time Jackson sounded optimistic: “Hopefully sooner, but I'll definitely be back in four weeks. Without a doubt."

Turns out, Jackson might be right: sooner. Barring a setback, the man who signed a two-year extension in the spring is on pace to be on the field against New England.

"Fred worked and worked well today, and there didn't seem to be any residual affect negatively from yesterday," Bills coach Chan Gailey said Thursday according to the Buffalo News.

"I think if we make it through the next couple days and continue to improve I think he'll have the opportunity to play," the coach added.

Spiller, meanwhile, took a few reps in Thursday's practice, four days after suffering a shoulder injury against the Browns.

"He didn't take a lot, but he took a few and he got back into the swing of things," Gailey said. "We didn't do tackling drills out there ... We'll see where it takes us. I don't know where it's going."

The Bills have had memorable wins against the Pats -- the 31-0 blanking in Week 1 of the 2003 season and last year's 34-31 victory immediately come to mind -- but the reality is that they've also endured a 15-game losing streak during that stretch.

We have a theory that Buffalo outperforms expectations when no one's paying attention but flounders once folks start noticing. It happened a year ago, and the Bills were no-shows in the Week 1 loss to the Jets.

Maybe it's coincidence. Either way, a win against the Pats could go a long way in helping this team get to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. At worst, they'll be 3-1 and tied for first in the division. Added bonus: New England will fall to 1-3.

And because you're dying to know: five of CBSSports.com's experts like the Pats, while three picked the Bills.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the Pick-6 Podcast on iTunes. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.

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