NFC Notes

<b><u>Dallas Cowboys</u></b> <br><br> Jones Getting Closer to Returning <br><br> Rookie RB Julius Jones (shoulder) is getting closer to returning to the playing field. Jones has been rehabbing his injured shoulder for several weeks and has been lifting weights.

The hope is that he'll be able to return to practice within the next few weeks and be ready to play by the end of the month.

Philadelphia Eagles

Rayburn's Absence Could hurt

If second-year DT Sam Rayburn (elbow/concussion) can't play against the Cowboys on Monday night, their run defense could struggle again. Rayburn, who signed a contract extension last week, is arguably their best run-stopper despite not being a starter.

The Eagles substitute their defensive tackles freely to get better play against the run and Rayburn, a former undrafted free agent, has really emerged as a big part of their run defense. If Rayburn, who is listed as questionable, can't play look for veteran DT Paul Grasmanis to serve as the fourth tackle on Monday night.

New York Giants

Wiley Should be in the Mix

Journeyman DE Chuck Wiley, who signed with the Giants on Tuesday, should get plenty of snaps on Sunday against the Cardinals. He beat out veteran end Kenny Holmes out for a roster spot this week.

Not only are the Giants low on depth at end, they'll be playing in warm weather (low 70's). Wiley is decent against the run and should see at least 20-25 snaps on Sunday. If he plays well, he could see even more playing time each game.

Atlanta Falcons

Team Finally Healthy on Defense

It has taken some time but the Falcons look to finally have their entire starting defensive unit together for the first time all season.

Tackle Rod Coleman (knee) is practicing and should be able to play. His return to the lineup is a huge boost to their run defense.

FS Cory Hall (foot) is practicing and should be able to return to the lineup after missing several games.

Rookie CB DeAngelo Hall (hip) returned to the lineup a few weeks ago.

Minnesota Vikings

Smith Should Start for a While

Although he was only named starter for this week's game, look for second-year RB Onterrio Smith to be the starter until further notice.

As the Vikings most explosive back, Smith is also the most physical runner and is the best apt to handle a heavy workload.

Smith looked very solid in his return last week after missing four games to violating the league's substance abuse policy.

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