Fred Jackson to return vs. Pats

Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson told ESPN's Josina Anderson on Sunday that he will play Sunday against the New England Patriots.

He said he will wear a brace around the knee he injured in the Bills' Week 1 loss to the Jets. The injury has kept him out of Buffalo's last two games. Jackson's recovery is ahead of schedule after he was initially expected to miss at least three weeks.

Running back C.J. Spiller also is active despite injuring his shoulder in a 24-14 win at Cleveland last weekend. Jackson will start for the Bills, sources said, and is expected to split carries with Spiller.

For the Patriots, tight end Rob Gronkowski will play, despite a recent hip injury that limited him during Friday's practice.

With Aaron Hernandez out and the recent release of Kellen Winslow, the Patriots are thinned down to three tight ends, and receiver Julian Edelman's absence leaves the Patriots with four healthy wide receivers. Having Gronkowski on the field is an important consideration for the Patriots' passing attack.

Information from ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss and The Associated Press was used in this report.