The Atlanta Falcons will be without star wide receiver Julio Jones this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as he continues to battle a hamstring injury, meaning he will miss his second game in a row and third over the last four.
Jones, 31, has caught 51 passes for 771 yards and three touchdowns in the nine games he's been active this season. Jones did not participate in the first two days of practice this week for Atlanta, forecasting doubt over his Sunday status before finally being ruled out. It's now in question if Jones should be active over the remainder of the regular season as Atlanta has been officially eliminated from the playoffs.
As cornerback Jamel Dean returned to full participation on Thursday for the Buccaneers, trending towards playing after missing the last two games (concussion/groin), Tampa Bay should feel much better about the matchups between their passing defense and Atlanta's typically-threatening passing offense.
Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage combined for 13 receptions, 206 yards, and a touchdown as Jones was sidelined against the Los Angeles Chargers this past week. Look for those two, and perhaps tight end Hayden Hurst, to see a significant number of targets against the Bucs on Sunday. However, keep in mind that Ridley has been limited on the Falcons' injury report this week with a foot injury.
The Buccaneers are set to face the Falcons at 1 P.M. on Sunday, in Atlanta, Ga.
Stay tuned to Sports Illustrated's AllBucs.com for further updates and all things Tampa Bay Buccaneers.