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Julio Jones to play; Steven Jackson out for Falcons

With a playoff berth on the line, the Atlanta Falcons will have game-changing wideout Julio Jones on the field to face the Carolina Panthers.

The Falcons announced that their star wide receiver is active against the Panthers. NFL Media's Albert Breer reported that the team feels so good about the receiver's hip that they won't need to test him pregame, per Falcons sources.

Having the dynamic pass catcher on the field healthy could turn the tide of the bout with the Panthers in a winner-take-all battle for the NFC South title.

Over the last three games Jones has been dominant with 28 receptions for 555 yards and two touchdown catches. In the Week 11 matchup against the Panthers in Carolina, Jones had six catches for 59 yards.

The Falcons, however, will be without Steven Jackson. Atlanta listed the running back as inactive with a quad injury.

We expect rookie Devonta Freeman to take over most of the between-the-tackles runs with Jacquizz Rodgers being used as a change of pace and in the passing game. Freeman showed some pop last week with a 31-yard run and has flashed potential on the Falcons' game-tape the last few weeks.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews the biggest matchups in Week 17 and makes its picks for the last week of the season. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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