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Julio Jones' role for Atlanta Falcons hinges on scoring

Julio Jones is questionable for Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a lingering ankle sprain. How much we see of the Atlanta Falcons wideout likely depends on how this NFC South battle unfolds.

NFL Network's Jeff Darlington reported Saturday the pace of the matchup might dictate how Jones is used on offense. The second-year receiver sprained his ankle in Week 10 and played only 35 of 73 snaps in last Sunday's win against the Arizona Cardinals before re-aggravating the ankle.

Jones returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday and Bucs coach Greg Schiano told Darlington he expects the pass-catcher to play. How much remains the question and it leaves fantasy owners in a bind.

The potential for a shootout is real. Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman and friends are posting 28.7 points per game, fifth-best in the NFL. Their run defense ranks No. 1 in the league, which should put pressure on the Falcons to move the ball through the air.

In an ideal world, Jones would be given more time to nurse the ankle back to full health, but if this one spins out of hand, we expect him to play a major role.

Follow Jeff Darlington on Twitter @JeffDarlington.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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