Julio Jones will be a “true” game-time decision for the Falcons‘ Thanksgiving Day game against the New Orleans Saints in Week 13, Atlanta coach Dan Quinn told Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer several hours before kickoff. The 3-8 Falcons will face the 9-2 Saints in New Orleans at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC.
The Falcons’ All-Pro receiver sustained an AC joint sprain during last Sunday’s 35-22 loss to the Buccaneers, a loss that snapped Atlanta’s two-game winning streak. Jones, who did not practice throughout the week, was officially ruled as questionable for Thursday night’s game in the Falcons’ final Week 13 practice report.
The 30-year-old Jones has not missed a game this season and has played in all 16 regular season games in each of the previous two seasons. Through 11 games, the six-time Pro Bowler 64 of 101 targets for 950 yards and four touchdowns. He has four 100-yard receiving efforts this season that includes a season-high 152 yards on 10 receptions in Atlanta’s Week 8 loss to Seattle.
If Jones can’t go, expect receivers Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage to receive more targets from quarterback Matt Ryan. Ridley has caught 14 passes or 228 yards and two touchdowns in the Falcons’ past two games, while Gage, 2018 sixth-round pick, caught a season-high eight passes for 76 yards in last week’s loss to Carolina.
Ryan will also likely throw early and often to tight end Austin Hooper, who is second on the team with 56 receptions for 608 yards and six touchdowns. The Falcons are going up against a Saints secondary that is 15th in the NFL in passing yards allowed.