Patriots RB Rex Burkhead expected back for AFC title game

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 26: Rex Burkhead
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 26: Rex Burkhead /

The Patriots have done just fine with Dion Lewis and James White, but Rex Burkhead should be in the backfield for the AFC Championship Game.

Patriots running back Rex Burkhead went down in the regular season game against the Steelers with a knee injury, and while he’s listed as probable, he’s expected to play in the AFC title game against the Jaguars on Sunday.

In the regular season, Burkhead was electric when he was on the field. He rushed just 64 times for 264 yards, 4.1 yards per carry, but he also added 30 receptions for 254 yards. Burkhead was able to get into the end zone 8 total times this year, 5 times on the ground and 3 times through the air. He was 6th in yards from scrimmage on the Patriots, behind Brandin Cooks, Dion Lewis, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, and James White, and that was in just 10 games. Burkhead was tied for 2nd on the team with 8 touchdowns with Gronk, behind Lewis’ 9.

Clearly, Burkhead is a weapon that Tom Brady and coordinator Josh McDaniels love to use. Defenses have to prepare for the runner and the receiver, and that gives New England an advantage. In the AFC Championship Game, we could see McDaniels get creative. He could elect to have Burkhead and Lewis on the field at the same time, or he could have the running back throw a pass if the Jaguars defense is napping.

Next: How the Patriots matchup with the Jags

Burkhead could be a huge factor in the game, and it’s great that he’s back for this big game for the Patriots. The game will kick off at 3:05 PM on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. It’s the 7th straight AFC Championship Game for the Patriots, and they are looking to get Brady and Belichick to their 8th Super Bowl with this team. The dynasty lives on for now, and Burkhead could soon become a critical part of it.