Back in action! (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Bad news, everyone!
The Falcons could be down as many as three key players against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday afternoon, thanks to the Football Gods kneecapping our boys in black and red. The first and most obvious absence in Jon Babineaux, who will be out for the next couple of weeks with a partial MCL tear. That's not the news, though.
No, the news is that Kelvin Hayden is out. The Atlanta Falcons got a nice performance out of him against the Eagles, and perpetual punching bag Chris Owens will start in his place. Frankly, I'm not sufficiently intimidated by any Bucs wide receiver to be worried about Owens. There's also the fact that the fan hatred for him and all he stands for is more than a bit over the top.
The surprise on this list is Stephen Nicholas. The athletic linebacker has been solid as a starter outside through the first two games, and he's officially questionable for Sunday based on his limited practice today. If he can't go, thankfully the Falcons have Mike Peterson, run-stopping Methuselah.
Now the good news. Matt Ryan and Todd McClure are probable, and it'll be very nice to get McClure back on the offensive line. Roddy White, Shann Schillinger, John Abraham, Corey Peters and Ray Edwards are also all considered probable. The Falcons should be reasonably healthy, then, for an important game.