Falcons think Julio Jones will be back this week

Getty Images

The Falcons feel good about having wide receiver Julio Jones under their tree on Christmas Eve.

Jones has missed the last two games with a toe injury, but worked out before Sunday’s victory over the 49ers. Watching him go through that workout left coach Dan Quinn feeling good about the chances of Jones returning to the lineup against the Panthers on Saturday.

“I’m hopeful that he’s back,” Quinn said, via ESPN.com. “So, I think that he will [return]. We’re going to take it all the way through, practice Tuesday and Wednesday, and then we’ll have a good shot. But I am hopeful for that. I can’t say it’s for sure until he can explode like he can, but I think he’s a heck of a lot closer than he has been over the last two weeks.”

The Falcons have routed the Rams and 49ers in their two outings without Jones and the 83 points they’ve put up in those games show that their offense isn’t overly reliant on the star receiver. That’s good news for the team’s chances with or without him in Week 16 and for their chances of holding onto their lead in the NFC South.