Atlanta's rematch with New Orleans might not include some important participants.
Receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) and running back Todd Gurley (knee) are questionable for Sunday's meeting with the Saints.
Jones has been dealing with the lingering hamstring issue since the start of the season, injuring it in Week 1 and then aggravating the ailment the following week. He's managed to fight through the issue, catching 54 passes for 677 yards and three scores through eight games, but left early in Week 11's loss to the Saints because of the same injury and did not play in Week 12.
Calvin Ridley stands as a reliable replacement, but it's worth nothing he was a limited participant in Friday's practice due to foot and ankle troubles, and has also missed time this season.
Gurley has had knee issues for a good portion of his career, starting with an ACL injury while in college at Georgia and extending into his pro career with what has been described as an arthritic problem. While never fully confirmed, Gurley seemed to be on a pitch count in his final year and a half in Los Angeles and was released in early 2020, landing with the Falcons as a free-agent signing.
Since-fired general manager Thomas Dimitroff expressed confidence in Gurley's knee, and it has held up for most of his first season with the Falcons, but it is no surprise to see "knee" next to his name on an injury report.
Gurley has scored on the ground nine times this season, but has done so while falling below 4 yards per carry, rushing for 610 yards on 167 attempts. He's also near the bottom of the league in rushing yards over expectation per attempt (-0.45 per carry) for the second straight season, per Next Gen Stats.
Without Gurley, Ito Smith gained 65 yards and scored a touchdown on 12 attempts while Brian Hill added 55 yards on 13 carries, helping the Falcons break 100 yards as a team in a blowout win over the Raiders.