It all happens tonight at 8:00 PM on ESPN. Tonight Atlanta Falcons fans, old and young, pile into the Georgia Dome, ready to kickoff the 2013 preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Okay, yes, it is only preseason, but it is a game nonetheless. Although preseason games can be a bit on the boring side, Falcons fans are just excited to finally put on their black and red gear and watch as their beloved Dirty Birds take the field again.
Being that it’s only preseason, the outcome of the game isn’t necessarily a foreshadowing of the rest of the season. Most of the starters, including Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, aren’t expected to play much. In my opinion, preseason games are basically just tryouts for those who have been looking to prove they belong on Atlanta’s final 53-man roster.
To say the Falcons had a great turnout in the draft would be an understatement. Expect rookies Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, Zeke Motta, Levine Toilolo, and Kemal Ishmael to take the field by storm, ensuring proper consideration for certain starter and backup positions. They will be coming on strong tonight. Prepare to be impressed, especially with Alford and Trufant.
On an unfortunate note, both teams will have players out with injuries in tonight’s game. For the Falcons, wideout Julio Jones and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon will both be sitting out. Jones was experiencing problems with his hamstrings and Weatherspoon, more affectionately known to fans as ‘Spoon, suffered a dislocated finger. Also, it was recently announced that Falcons right tackle Mike Johnson will miss the entire season due to a dislocated, fractured ankle which leaves backup Lamar Holmes to step in and establish his worth. Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green and left tackle Andrew Whitworth will both be out with knee injuries.
The Falcons fell to the Bengals 24-19 in last year’s preseason game. Atlanta and Cincinnati have met 11 times in the preseason, with Atlanta leading the series 8-3. Tonight the Falcons are looking to extend that lead.