NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Rex Burkhead is expected to return this week, according to a source informed of the situation. The running back hasn't played since Dec. 17 due to a knee sprain.
Burkhead's return would make the Patriots offense an even more diverse operation. New England can deploy the tailback in multiple formations. He's a shifty power-runner from the backfield, and a matchup nightmare against linebackers when split wide or in the slot. Burkhead became the Patriots' go-to back in the red zone, which will be pivotal against a smothering Jacksonville defense.
In 10 games this season, Burkhead earned eight total touchdowns, 264 rushing yards on 64 totes, and 30 receptions for 254 yards.
Elsewhere in injury news on Monday: