Mack, Jones & Freeney Banged Up
One of the biggest keys for teams attempting to win the Super Bowl is health. Just how healthy are the Falcons ahead of Super Bowl 51?
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetDSI, the Falcons remain 3-point underdogs versus the Patriots while the over/under currently sits at 58.5 points. That said, given some of the injury news trickling out on Sunday morning about Atlanta's health, perhaps the line will move today for the first time since the odds were released two weeks ago.
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According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, it's uncertain how long Falcons center Alex Mack will play today against the Patriots. Mack is reportedly dealing with a chip fracture in his left fibula that normally requires a 6-8 week recovery period. Mack suffered the injury in the second half of the team's victory over the Packers in the NFC Championship Game and despite having the last two weeks off, the center is going to be less than 100-percent tonight.
Also, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Julio Jones could require offseason surgery on his sprained toe. The receiver will undergo a full evaluation after the season to determine whether or not rest is sufficient, or if surgery is required. Jones has been playing on the injury for weeks, so bettors knew he wasn't going to be 100-percent healthy. Still, the talk of surgery is concerning when coupled with the news of Mack's injury. If Jones leaves the game at any point, Atlanta will be without its most dangerous offensive weapon.
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One other Falcons-related injury note: defensive end Dwight Freeney will be playing with a calf injury in Super Bowl 51. He sat out Thursday's practice before returning to a limited session on Friday. He wasn't listed on the Falcons' final injury report but it's clear he too isn't 100-percent. Freeney will play a significant role after the team lost Adrian Clayborn to a season-ending biceps tear.