Falcons chances of beating Ravens skyrocket with a Deion Jones return

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Dan Quinn had this response when asked whether he thinks Deion Jones will be ready to play come Sunday,

It has been a lost season for a third-year linebacker coming off of his first Pro-Bowl a year ago. The Falcons have been extremely cautious in his return, holding him out of two critical games despite being removed from IR and placed on the active roster. If they decide to bring him back with barely any playoff chances left alive, you have to think he will be 100% ready to go.

That is a disastrous sign for the Ravens, who will be starting Lamar Jackson, making his third start as a rookie. In his previous two, Jackson has shown he is an electric runner and an inconsistent passer to this point. That is pretty much what we all expected, but what has come as a surprise, is Jackson’s influence on the running game as a whole. Gus Edwards has taken off beside him, and the two have combined for over 400 yards rushing the past two weeks, a gloomy sign for a team like Atlanta that has been gashed on the ground in their previous three games.

The Falcons allowed nearly 200 yards rushing to Nick Chubb, almost 200 yards all-purpose yards to Ezekiel Elliot and over 150 yards to the Saints. It seems crazy to think one player can change all that, but that is the kind of impact a healthy Deion Jones can have this week. His speed allows him to cover sideline to sideline as well as any linebacker in football. That is critical in a matchup with Lamar Jackson, whose speed can freeze defenses. One of my favorite matchups every year is Deion Jones versus the Carolina Panthers because of the way he plays against Cam Newton. The simple presence of Jones back on the field will have Jackson thinking twice about pulling it down and running.

Not only can Jones have a major impact in stopping Jackson on the ground, but his instincts in the passing game could also help force a turnover or two. Jackson hasn’t shown much with his arm, averaging under 170 yards per game in his two starts and throwing one touchdown compared to three interceptions. The Ravens do not have very threatening weapons on the outside. As a result, most of Jackson’s completions will come over the middle of the field, where Jones will be looming. The last thing the Ravens’ playoff hopes need is a Deion Jones return in week 13.

 

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