Patriots know Falcons have strong offense even if RB Stephen Jackson misses game

Vince Wilfork's job might be easier without Stephen Jackson charging at him. That doesn't mean the Patriots' defensive tackle wants the Falcons' running back to miss Sunday night's game.

Wilfork figures if New England beats a team that's at full strength, no one can question the victory.

Jackson missed last Sunday's 27-23 loss to the Miami Dolphins with a hamstring injury. That kept him out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday.

But Atlanta has two solid backups. Against Miami, Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for 86 yards and Jason Snelling picked up 53.

The Patriots take a 3-0 record and the NFL's sixth best pass defense against Atlanta's balanced offense. Matt Ryan has dangerous receivers in Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez.


AP NFL website: and