Julio Jones plays vs. Saints

— -- NEW ORLEANS -- Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who missed last week's game due to injury, is active for Sunday's crucial game against the rival Saints.

He caught a 23-yard pass from Falcons quarterback  Matt Ryan on Atlanta's opening drive.

Jones worked out with the athletic performance staff prior to the decision, going through a ladder drill before exiting the field. He also participated in the Falcons' Saturday walk-through, an indication he had every intention to play.

Jones is nursing a painful oblique strain that affects his core from his ribcage to his hip and pelvic region, sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen. The team initially called it simply a hip injury.

Jones entered the day second in the NFL with 1,428 receiving yards, right behind the Steelers' Antonio Brown (1,498).

Sunday is a must-win scenario for the Falcons (5-9), who would be eliminated from the NFC South title hunt with a loss.

Falcons coach Mike Smith also is fighting for his job, as a loss would mean failing to make the playoffs for two consecutive years after an appearance in the NFC Championship Game.

Safety William Moore is active for the Falcons despite having a plantar fascia tear in his right foot, while starting right guard Jon Asamoah is inactive due to a back injury. Gabe Carimi will start in place of Asamoah.