The Atlanta Falcons have faced two reeling teams since their week 13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. They've been without their WR1 and under Matt Ryan's watchful eye, they've dominated. But everything changes a little bit this weekend.
Because of some kooky strength of schedule-related math I'm bad at explaining, the Falcons can clench their first playoff berth since 2012 if they beat the division rival Carolina Panthers on Saturday. And even if these Panthers aren't the same team that played in the Super Bowl last season, the Falcons will need to battle if they want to walk away victorious. Injuries will undoubtedly determine what product they put on the field, and it's Wednesday, so let's break down the latest injury report.
Full Falcons' injury report: Julio Jones, Taylor Gabriel, Jalen Collins, Adrian Clayborn... https://t.co/N357Z4ndT6 pic.twitter.com/xfEupaecFx— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) December 21, 2016
Adrian Clayborn practiced for the first time since he partially tore his meniscus three weeks ago. He'd racked up an impressive 4.5 sacks and 13 quarterback hurries before the injury. His presence has been sorely missed but that said, expect the Falcons to take their time with him. I'll be shocked if he plays Saturday.
Austin Hooper (knee) and De'Vondre Campbell (
brain injury concussion) are both working their way back. Neither man practiced today. Best guess? Neither man plays Saturday. For what it's worth, Hooper did some jogging yesterday. So the fact that they held him out today is a little discouraging. Dan Quinn says Hooper's injury isn't a long-term concern but that doesn't mean he will play Saturday.
Jalen Collins (knee), Nick Williams (concussion), and Julio Jones (toe) all practiced today but were "limited." Given the team's decision to let future Hall of Fame WR J.D. McKissic go this week, I'm guessing both Williams and Julio will be good to go on Saturday. This is apparently the first time Julio has done things at full speed for a couple weeks. Ideally he responds well but it's certainly something to keep an eye on.