New England Nation

Patriots' defense focused on containing former teammate Lewis

FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — The New England Patriots took the practice field Thursday to resume their preparations for the Tennessee Titans, led by former Patriot Mike Vrabel.

The team welcomed RB Rex Burkhead back to practice though he won't be eligible to play until Week 13 under the league's new injured reserve rules.

Much of the discussion at Gillette Stadium surrounded another former Patriot, Dion Lewis, and how the New England defense will need to contain Tennessee's dynamic rusher.

"He's a great player and they have a great team," Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy said. "They're doing lot of good things. They're coming off big win in Dallas so we're excited for the challenge."

Lewis had 122 all-purpose yards and a receiving touchdown in the Titans' 28-14 victory over the Cowboys. 

"He's a great player, can catch the ball out of the backfield, run hard, so we have to play as a team on defense in order to stop him," Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore added.

In the meantime, the 6-2 Patriots are coming off a statement 31-17 win over the Green Bay Packers and will look to pick up their seventh straight win on the road in Tennessee.

"This is big game for them, this is a big game for us. I'm sure their fans are going to be rowdy," WR Matthew Slater said Thursday. "Any time you get a chance to go play on the road in this league, it's a challenge. I think we're going to embrace the challenge and try to go down there and execute at a high level."

The only absentee for the Patriots at Thursday's practice was OL Trent Brown, who's dealing with an illness, according to the team's latest injury report.

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