Fred Jackson or C.J. Spiller: Which Bills RB Will Play More in Week 4?

Chris TrapassoAnalyst ISeptember 28, 2012

Sep 25, 2011; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson (22) runs with the ball as New England Patriots defensive end Shaun Ellis (94) pursues during the third quarter at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE
Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE

It is New England Patriots Week in Buffalo, and everyone in Western New York wants to know if Bills running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller will be ready for the AFC East clash.  

By now you know, but let's rehash: Jackson was tackled awkwardly in the Bills' season-opening loss the New York Jets and suffered a sprained LCL in his knee.

In the first quarter of Buffalo's Week 3 game in Cleveland against the Browns, defensive back Usama Young fell on Spiller and the third-year pro sprained the AC joint in his shoulder. 

Jackson returned to practice on Wednesday, and Spiller made his way onto the practice field on Thursday. 

After Friday's practice, here's what head coach Chan Gailey said to Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News regarding the availability of both players, who are both officially listed as questionable: "I think they both have a chance, a legitimate chance."

In Gaughan's post, he did state the following: "Given the fact Spiller only got a couple of snaps on Thursday, he's probably more questionable than Jackson."

So, which versatile runner will play more in Week 4? 

Gailey's more specific statement regarding Spiller lends credence to the weeklong thought that Jackson, a guy who's had three weeks of recovery time, not only has a better chance to play, but will be more prominently featured in Buffalo's offense against New England.

The individual circumstance for each running back is undeniably intriguing, however. Jackson's LCL sprain is far more serious than Spiller's AC joint sprain, and could have much more of a hindering affect on No. 22 throughout the game against the Patriots. 

As stated by Gailey, there's a chance both are on the field on Sunday, but even though Jackson's injury was more severe, he seems to be closer to 100 percent than Spiller. This should lead to more touches for the 31-year-old runner. 

Either way, third-stringer Tashard Choice will factor into the running game, and it's highly unlikely that Jackson receives anywhere near his normal amount of touches, which in 2011, was nearly 21 per game.

Don't be stunned if Spiller's active, but all signs are pointing to Jackson garnering more playing time. 

This is a huge game for the Bills, and they appear to be conducting a little gamesmanship with the typically cryptic Patriots. But they know they have 12 more games after Sunday's clash with New England, so precautionary measures will still be taken.