Bills running back Fred Jackson is 189 yards short of the 1,000-yard rushing mark, and it won't be easy to hit it. New England ranks 15th against the run. The New York Jets, Buffalo's last opponent, rank fourth against the run.
Jackson had 136 yards against the Pats in the 2008 season finale. He had 57 and 80 yards against the Pats in 2009. He only got four carries at New England in September.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick is a fan of Jackson's.
"I have as much respect for him as really anybody we've played," Belichick said. "He's outstanding, good at everything, good on blitz pickup, a good outside runner, good inside runner. They use him in the passing game as a receiver, split out and empty and those kinds of things. He's a very good screen back."
"That's pretty big praise coming from a guy like that," Jackson said.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is suffering from the flu and skipped Wednesday's practice. Other starters who did not practice for the Pats were receiver Deion Branch (knee), guard Dan Connolly (concussion), and defensive end Mike Wright (concussion). Others who sat out were linebacker Tully Banta-Cain (groin), tight end Aaron Hernandez (hip), defensive end Brandon Deaderick (shoulder), and nose tackle Myron Pryor (back).
The Bills rested tackle Demetrius Bell and linebacker Chris Kelsay. Center Geoff Hangartner (knee) is out.
Bills receiver Stevie Johnson did not know how many straight losses the Pats have inflicted on the Bills. "A lot," was Johnson's answer to the question on the length of the streak. Jackson said coach Chan Gailey has not mentioned the words "14 straight" in any meetings with the players this week.
"To be honest with you, I don't get into that stuff," Gailey said. "I really don't. I understand people that have been around the program and the Bills for a long time, I understand how it would bother them. But I just don't think that you can if you start to focus on that, then you lose focus on the game and what it takes to win the game and what you have to do to get better. You can't focus on those things that are good stories for you all but really are irrelevant to winning or losing this ball game. They're a good football team. We're going to have go out and play very well to win the ball game."
Who is the most valuable player of the NFL? Brady or Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick?
"I think it's a two-man show between him and Vick," Jackson said.
"I'd vote for him if I had a vote," said linebacker Paul Posluszny of Brady.
"Brady," said safety Donte Whitner, without any hesitation.
Would you say the same thing if you weren't playing the Patriots this week, Whitner was asked.
"Well, hopefully after this game, it's Vick," Whitner said.
The game will not be sold out in time to lift the local television blackout. The Bills signed defensive back Brett Johnson to the practice squad after Tampa signed defensive back Dominique Harris off the Buffalo practice squad and onto the Bucs' active roster. Bills DT Kyle Williams was given a half-sack with Whitner in a statistical change from Sunday's game. Arthur Moats originally shared the sack with Whitner. Williams now leads the Bills with 5.5 sacks.