The Atlanta Falcons are looking ahead to a season filled with doubts
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, and all they can really do in the face of all those is take this thing one week at a time. For one more week, at least, they’ll be favored doing so.At home, potentially facing down a Bengals team minus A.J. Green, and fresh off back-to-back offensive explosions, Atlanta’s a nearly six point favorite (it’s five points) against a quality Cincinnati team. If you think that’s not giving Cincy enough credit—they did win their first two games by the identical scores of 34-23—bear in mind that they’re fresh of a disappointing loss to the Panthers and have only beaten the Colts and Ravens
, and Atlanta’s been slicing defenses into julienne peppers. The Falcons’ defense is the primary concern here, and if the Bengals are really out A.J. Green and have a limited-at-best Joe Mixon returning, their offense isn’t nearly as fearsome as the Saints’. That should enable the Falcons to hang on in a shootout, though we have yet to see what the team’s new safety tandem does in a full game.Be cautiously optimistic about this one, as we’ll need to be throughout what promises to be a crazy 2018 season.Breaking: Deion Jones to injured reserve with a foot injury The bad news continues to pile up for the Falcons, as the team has just announced that star linebacker Deion Jones has been placed on injured reserve.Jones has been dealing with a foot injury since the opener against the Eagles
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, and we now know that it will keep him out for quite some time. Coach Dan Quinn said that tests after Thursday’s game in Philadelphia revealed an injury that requires an as-yet undisclosed procedure, but that the team is hopeful Jones will return at some point this season. Quinn did not provide specifics regarding either the injury or his potential return date.This is the last news the Atlanta Falcons wanted to hear right on the heels of Keanu Neal’s season-ending knee injury, as now they will be without two of their most impactful young defenders. To say this is a blow to the defense is a massive understatement, and it won’t be clear for some time how the Falcons choose to address the now glaring hole at middle linebacker. Jones is coming off of his first Pro Bowl season, a year where he officially put the NFL on notice, notching 91 solo tackles and three interceptions. ProFootball Focus considers him one of the best coverage linebackers in the league today
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, and he was primed to build on that reputation in his third year. The Falcons are now without their first and second-round picks in 2016’s NFL Draft, and a promising season has quickly been tossed into a state of flux. The questions will be answered in the days to come, but for now we want to extend our best wishes to Deion Jones, and hope he’s back in the near future.