After taking down the up-and-coming Seattle Seahawks in the division round of the NFL playoffs last weekend, the number one seeded Atlanta Falcons will advance to the NFC Championship game on Sunday to face-off against the San Francisco 49ers at the Georgia Dome.
Fortunately, the Falcons received some good news on Wednesday regarding defensive end John Abraham. Atlanta lost Abraham to a re-injured ankle last weekend against the Seahawks and his playing status against the 49ers has been uncertain ever since.
Although Abraham has been adamant about his intentions to play on Sunday, the Falcons’ coaching staff hasn’t been as certain until now.
According to ESPN.com, Abraham is expected to play in the NFC Championship game against the 49ers:
Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith said he expects defensive end John Abraham to play in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.
Abraham, the NFL’s active sacks leader, made it through just 15 snaps in last week’s divisional playoff victory over Seattle before aggravating a left ankle injury that forced him to leave in the second quarter.
With 122 sacks in his career, Abraham is 13th on the all-time list and a valuable defensive asset for the Falcons heading into this game with the 49ers.
After second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick torched to the Green Bay Packers secondary for an NFL record 181 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, the Falcons will need Abraham on the field now more than ever. If Abraham is ultimately unable to go or leaves the game early due to further injury, the Falcons will have suffered a major loss on the defensive side of the football and Kaepernick may have another huge day running the football as a result.
Despite Abraham’s persistance to get on the field on Sunday and head coach Mike Smith confident he’ll play, there’s no telling how well or how long the veteran defensive end will be able to play.