This is the most important game for the Atlanta Falcons so far this season. It’s not even just any other playoff game. It’s the NFC Championship Game. And the Falcons would love to be at 100% health coming into the game. Unfortunately, that’s not reality. Here’s the players on the injury report.
Safety William Moore, linebacker Stephen Nicholas, and cornerback Chris Owens all saw full practice the entire week of practice. Owens saw limited practice time Wednesday, but full practice on Thursday and Friday. All three of those players are projected to be probable for tomorrows NFC Championship game. I would expect Nicholas to continue to be his impactful self, and also that Willliam Moore would see an increased role in the game. He had a couple really good tackles against Seattle, but he will probably be better against San Francisco. He is suffering from a hand injury, but he will be fine.
There are two injuries that could really be detrimental for the Falcons. The first is defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux. He saw limited practice all week long and is questionable for the game while dealing with a shoulder injury. I’m not entirely sure how much this injury will affect his on-field performance, but I hope it’s slight. It’s also important that he isn’t dealing with a leg injury, so he has a strong base which he can push off of. I would expect him to be his normal self.
That brings us, finally, to defensive end John Abraham. Abe suffered an ankle injury in Week 17 against Tampa, and rested it during the bye week. Unfortunately, he re-tweaked the ankle early in the game last week against Seattle. Whatever pass-rush he generated was lost, and the Falcons desperately missed his presence both setting the edge up against the run, and rushing the passer. He’s questionable for the game, and we’ll see how it all works out.
I sincerely hope that the limited practice time helped Abe to rest up and get things healed. Even if he’s not 100%, which I doubt he will be, he needs to still be a solid contributor. Without Abraham, the Falcons defense loses a lot of potency.