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Blount, Vereen questionable vs. Bills; Gray ruled out

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Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount plowed through Buffalo for 189 yards and two touchdowns in last year's regular-season finale. Don't bank on that happening again on Sunday.

Blount -- questionable with a shoulder issue -- is one of three banged-up backs heading into New England's AFC East battle with the Bills. Fellow runner Jonas Gray has been ruled out after missing practice on Friday with an ankle injury while Shane Vereen's ankle issue has him listed as questionable.

We expect Blount and Vereen to dress, but the variable is playing time. With homefield advantage sealed up in the AFC, neither back needs to be shoved into action against Buffalo. If the duo can't contribute fully, James White and Brandon Bolden could see plenty of snaps.

New England's ground game has struggled to put up big numbers down the stretch. After lashing the Colts for 246 yards in Week 11, the Patriots have been held to under 100 yards in four of their past five games. It makes sense to nurse this stable of runners back to health in time for January's party.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews the biggest matchups in Week 17 and makes its picks for the last week of the season. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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