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Julian Edelman could return Week 17 for Patriots

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Good news Patriots fans, your battle station should be close to fully operational by the time January games roll around.

Tom Brady's go-to receiver Julian Edelman has been on the practice field after missing the past four games with a broken bone in his foot. While he won't play Sunday, the expectation is that the Pats best receiver will return for the season finale.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport said Sunday on NFL Network's GameDay First that rehab is "going incredibly well."

"Now the thought is that Edelman should be on the field for Week 17 for the Patriots, assuming there is anything to play for, which is big because 1) rehab is going well; but 2) it will get him acclimated to be really ready to go when the postseason starts," Rapoport said.

With the playoffs locked up, the Pats are currently working on securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC, with games remaining against the Titans, Jets and Dolphins. New England will earn a first-round bye Sunday with a win and a Denver loss or a win coupled with a Cincinnati loss and Denver tie.

Getting Edelman back for the playoffs is huge. As Brady's security blanket, Edelman can win on both the inside and outside and feasts on matchups when defenses key on slowing down Rob Gronkowski. If Edelman can get in some prep work in Week 17, it could help knock off the rust and reignite his chemistry with Brady.

With a backfield that seems to lose a running option every other week, getting Edelman back will strengthen one of the most prolific passing attacks in the NFL as the playoffs begin.

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