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Patriots Defense May Have To Deal With Christian McCaffrey This Weekend

BOSTON (CBS) -- Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey hasn't played since late September. But the All Pro may make his return to game action this weekend when the New England Patriots pay a visit to Bank of America Stadium.

McCaffrey was designated to return from injured reserve by the Panthers on Wednesday morning, and will make his return to the practice field later in the afternoon. Carolina will now have 21 days to activate McCaffrey, though he may be ready to go for this weekend's game against New England.

That's what Panthers head coach Matt Rhule hinted at on Tuesday. A return by McCaffrey would obviously make this weekend's tilt with the Panthers a lot more difficult for Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

"He's one of the most explosive players in the league," Belichick said of McCaffrey on Wednesday. "He can score from anywhere."

McCaffrey was placed on IR in Week 6 after dealing with a lingering hamstring injury for a few weeks. He has run for 201 yards and a touchdown in his three games this season, adding another 163 yards off 16 receptions.

If he can play on Sunday, it would be the second time that McCaffrey goes up against the Patriots defense in his career. Back in the 2017 season, the back rushed for just 16 yards on six carries to go with four receptions and 33 yards in a 33-30 Panthers victory in New England.

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