If you’re looking for Julio Jones to destroy the Packers, today’s injury news will probably temper your enthusiasm, if only mildly.
Julio missed practice today, and while Dan Quinn says he’ll ramp up the rest of the week, it’s a fair bet that he’ll ultimately wind up participating on a limited basis all week long and being listed as questionable for the NFC Conference Championship against the Packers. That means we’re not going to have much in the way of insight into his status until we actually see him suit up on Sunday afternoon.
Ultimately, Julio is going to play, because you can’t very well keep him off the field in a do-or-die NFC Conference Championship game unless he’s physically unable to get on the field. He may very well be limited, but his presence on the field always creates problems for defenses, and Green Bay’s defense has enough problems as it is. He’s a solid bet for 50-plus yards receiving and creating a gravity well that pulls in defensive backs, so it’s still mighty important to have him out there.
Meanwhile, the Falcons got limited participation from Jonathan Babineaux, Taylor Gabriel, and Keanu Neal. All three should play, and while all three are going to be major contributors, Neal’s physicality and playmaking ability is going to be truly vital against this high-powered Green Bay offense, so I hope the Falcons take care with him over the next few days.
The Packers, meanwhile, are very banged up. They’re almost certainly going to be without starting wide receiver Jordy Nelson and safety Morgan Burnett, and even starting receiver Davante Adams is no lock to play. Aaron Rodgers almost doesn’t need a gifted set of receivers to make his magic happen, but it greatly helps the Falcons if their options in the passing game are limited, so keep an eye on the report this week.