FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Falcons have been involved in some of the best prime-time matchups of the season, and this week is no different. Monday night's game between the Falcons (5-4) and the Seahawks (6-3) figures to be one of the best in Week 11, and it's another one that will shape the playoff picture in the NFC.
Today's Early Bird Report includes Julio Jones' thoughts on Richard Sherman missing Monday night due to injury as well as other injury updates from Seattle.
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
ESPN.com: Julio will miss matching up with injured Richard Sherman
On Monday, Falcons coach Dan Quinn explained that when he reached out to Richard Sherman the injured Seahawks cornerback told him he'd miss competing against wide receiver Julio Jones. According to ESPN's Vaugh McClure, Jones feels the same way.
"I love playing Richard," Jones told McClure. "I love matching up with Sherm. He's a great competitor. He's obviously a leader on their defense, on their team. And it's going to be difficult for them not having him out there."
Sherman tore his ACL during Seattle's Thursday night victory against Arizona, and it remains to be seen how the Seahawks' vaunted secondary fares without their star cornerback.
NEWS ON THE FALCONS' OPPONENT: Seattle Seahawks
*The Seattle Times: *Seahawks injury updates: Earl Thomas expected back, Kam Chancellor iffy
Sherman's injury isn't the only one Seattle is keeping an eye on leading up to Monday night. Speaking on his normal Monday radio show, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he felt confident starting free safety Earl Thomas would be back in the lineup after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury, according to The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta. Carroll seemed less sure of starting strong safety Kam Chancellor's status, however.
"We'll find out,'' Carroll said, according to Condotta. "We don't know yet. He had a stinger thing that happened during the game, we have to make sure that he's okay. Don't know right now. He's going to get some tests and make sure. This is stuff that is just so critical we do a really good job and take our time with it and all that. We're doing that."
BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFC SOUTH
*Tampa Bay Times: *Dirk Koetter says plan unchanged for injured Jameis Winston
There has been some confusion regarding Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston's status as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury. Earlier this week, Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht said Winston may be out for an "extended period," a comment head coach Dirk Koetter does not seem to agree with.
"There has been no discussion between Jason and myself of him not playing again," Koetter said, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times*. *"That would all be something that would have to come up in the future."
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