The Atlanta Falcons are hoping to keep their explosive offense running like a well-oiled machine into the playoffs. That will get a little tougher with two starters ruled out Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
Hooper and Taylor Gabriel out for Sunday.— Jeanna (@jeannathomas) December 30, 2016
A win Sunday would lockup a first round bye for the Falcons, along with at least one home game. The Saints will, of course, do their best to play upset. We expect a pretty good shootout and the Falcons will be very short-handed at tight end. While Aldrick Robinson can fill in as an explosive deep threat across from Julio Jones, Hooper's backups are Joshua Perkins, D.J. Tialavea, and Levine Toilolo. All three have looked surprisingly good this season, but none are quite as athletic as Hooper.
The Falcons will need to rely a bit more on their young and unproven defense to slow down Drew Brees enough to pull off the win.