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Falcons think Julio Jones will be back this week

Atlanta Falcons v Philadelphia Eagles

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Jalen Mills #31 of the Philadelphia Eagles interferes with Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on November 13, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Falcons 24-15. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

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The Falcons feel good about having wide receiver Julio Jones under their tree on Christmas Eve.

Jones has missed the last two games with a toe injury, but worked out before Sunday’s victory over the 49ers. Watching him go through that workout left coach Dan Quinn feeling good about the chances of Jones returning to the lineup against the Panthers on Saturday.

“I’m hopeful that he’s back,” Quinn said, via “So, I think that he will [return]. We’re going to take it all the way through, practice Tuesday and Wednesday, and then we’ll have a good shot. But I am hopeful for that. I can’t say it’s for sure until he can explode like he can, but I think he’s a heck of a lot closer than he has been over the last two weeks.”

The Falcons have routed the Rams and 49ers in their two outings without Jones and the 83 points they’ve put up in those games show that their offense isn’t overly reliant on the star receiver. That’s good news for the team’s chances with or without him in Week 16 and for their chances of holding onto their lead in the NFC South.