​The Atlanta Falcons were smacked hard in the face by the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1. ​With safety Keanu Neal done for the season and linebacker Deion Jones placed on the injured reserve, it appears they'll be without a key member of their offense this weekend.


According to reports, running back Devonta Freeman did not participate in practice on Friday and he is not expected to play this Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. As a result, Tevin Coleman will get the start and rookie Ito Smith will serve as the backup.

​​Freeman suffered a knee injury during the season opener, and ​the belief from the team was that it was a minor one. Yet, he has not practiced all week, which hints the injury is much more serious.


For Coleman, this is his chance to shine, as he enters the final year of his contract and will no doubt be looking to show off to the Falcons, as well the rest of the league. However, with the team throwing massive amounts of money toward Freeman and quarterback Matt Ryan, Coleman could be on his way out following this season, especially if he receives a lucrative offer from another team.

Smith will serve as a rotational back for Atlanta, and will look to showcase his skills from college. During his four years at Southern Mississippi, Smith rushed 4,538 yards and 42 touchdowns on 820 carries, as well as catching 140 passes for 1,446 yards and seven scores.

With Freeman out, it will be a showcase game for both Coleman and Smith. However, they'll have to do so against a stout Carolina rush defense, which allowed just 94 yards against Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1.