Without Jackson, pressure falls on Bulger

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Rams' chances for an upset in New England took a hit when the team named running back Steven Jackson inactive Sunday.

Coach Jim Haslett sounded optimistic on Jackson early in the week. He expressed relief Monday upon learning that Jackson had suffered only a thigh bruise against the Cowboys. Haslett's subsequent comments sounded more guarded, but I expected Jackson to play anyway.

Quarterback Marc Bulger will likely have to carry more of the offensive load for the Rams. Antonio Pittman's return to health improves the depth at running back, but Jackson is in another class. The Patriots should be able to stop the run with nose tackle Vince Wilfork already enjoying favorable matchups against the Rams' interior offensive line.