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Deion Jones will be eligible to return from injured reserve in three weeks

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If the Falcons can hang tough over the next two games, they’ll get one of their biggest stars back.

Atlanta Falcons v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Falcons got an interception out of Deion Jones in Week 1 and then lost him to injured reserve shortly thereafter, which was a cruel twist of fate. Fortunately, he will be able to return soon, and that could make a massive difference for a defense struggling to make big plays.

Jones is eligible to return after eight games, not weeks, which puts him on track to return just in time for a home game against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11. If the Falcons can win one or both of their next two games—preferably the latter—they’ll be in a position to make a last gasp run at a playoff spot, even if the division and indeed the conference continues to look pretty daunting. That would mean beating a semi-tough Washington team and an up-and-down Browns team over the next two weeks, which is possible but certainly not fated.

The difference that Debo could make on his return really can’t be overstated. This team is going to be limited until their pass rush consistently gets going, particularly with their grave losses at the safety position, but Jones is is a legitimate playmaker whose speed and skill makes him a huge asset in coverage. Even a little rusty, as he’ll surely be, he’s a massive upgrade on the likes of Foye Oluokun and Duke Riley in the middle. That will go a long way toward getting this defense hauled up to passable.

Even if the Falcons aren’t treading water, Jones will make the last several weeks more watchable with his mere presence. If they can stay alive—which is at least a possibility—it may mean a lot more than that.