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Game Preview: Patriots Travel To Atlanta

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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS(1-0) atATLANTA FALCONS* (1-0)
*Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. EDT
Georgia Dome (71,228)

The New England Patriots will travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons at the Georgia Dome in a nationally-televised game on Fox on Thursday night. For the second consecutive week, the Patriots will conduct a joint practice session with a preseason opponent in advance of the game. The Patriots will travel to Atlanta on Monday and hold two practices at the team's headquarters in Flowery Branch, Ga. on Tuesday.

Last week, the Patriots conducted joint practice sessions with New Orleans on Tuesday and Wednesday prior to playing in the 2010 preseason-opener at Gillette Stadium last Thursday night. New England beat the Saints, 27-24 in that game. It marked the first time the Patriots had conducted a joint practice session since working with the New York Giants in 2001.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TELEVISION:This week's game will be broadcast by FOX and can be seen in Boston on WFXT-TV Channel 25. Joe Buck will handle play-by-play duties with Troy Aikman providing color. Pam Oliverwill serve as the sideline reporter.

RADIO:98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 36 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 34th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 27th season as a tandem.

GILLETTE STADIUM UNVEILS HIGH DEF VIDEO BOARDS
The August 12 preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints was the first opportunity for Patriots fans to see the new high definition Daktronics LED video boards that were installed during the offseason to enhance the in-stadium game day experience. The two screens--41.5-by-164-feet in the sound end zone and 45-by- 100-feet in the north end zone--total five times the size of the original screens. It would take 1,700 televisions to fill those dimensions using a standard 37" HDTV. The new video boards also provide much greater resolution, with the ability to display more instant replays and an array of graphics, including live statistical updates and out-of-town scores. The video boards utilize more than 5 million individual LED pixels that offer superior brightness in direct sunlight, with the capability of showing up to 4.4 trillion shades of color. The image clarity also greatly enhances the wide-angle visibility of the screens from inside the stadium. "This type of video board simply didn't exist eight years ago when the stadium was built," said Patriots President Jonathan Kraft. "The resolution is incredible. It is amazing to see how far the video technology has come in the past decade."

ROSTER REDUCTION DATES
The NFL roster limit during training camp is 80 players. The first mandatory preseason roster reduction date is Aug. 31, two days prior to the Patriots' final preseason game. On that date, rosters must be reduced to 75 players. On Saturday, Sept. 4, rosters must be reduced to the regular-season limit of 53 players. On Sept. 5, clubs may establish an eight-man practice squad.

SERIES HISTORY
The Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons will clash this week for the 12th time in the preseason and the first preseason meeting since the 2006 season when the Patriots lost 26-23 at the Georgia Dome on Aug. 11. The Patriots are 5-6 all-time against the Falcons in the preseason, including a 3-2 record in Atlanta.

The regular-season series is tied, 6- 6 following a 26-10 win by the Patriots against the Falcons on Sept. 27 last season. That game marked the Falcons' first trip ever to Gillette Stadium. The Patriots have won the last three times the teams have played in the regular-season.

Prior to those three wins, the Patriots had suffered four straight losses to the Falcons, dating back to 1989.

SERIES BREAKDOWN
Overall Record, 6-6
Home Record, 3-2
Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium, 2-2
Gillette Stadium, 1-0
Away Record, 3-4
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, 1-2
Georgia Dome, 2-2
Bill Belichick vs. Atlanta Falcons, 3-1 (3-0 with NE)
Mike Smith vs. New England Patriots, 0-1
Total Points Falcons 277, Patriots 219
Current Streak Patriots, 3 wins

CONNECTIONS

  • Falcons Owner & CEO Arthur Blank received a B.S. Degree in Business Administration from Babson College located in Wellesley, Mass.
  • Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff was with the Patriots from 2002-2007. He was director of college scouting from 2003-2007 and a national scout in 2002.
  • Paul Boudreau, offensive line coach for the Atlanta Falcons, also coached the offensive line for the Patriots from 1997-1998, and was an O-Line coach earlier in his career at Boston College, Maine and Dartmouth.
  • Falcons defensive line coach Ray Hamiltonwas a fixture on the Patriots defensive line from 1973-1981, and was an assistant defensive line coach with the Pats from 1985-1989 and head defensive line coach from 1997-1999.
  • Falcons Asst. Director of Player Personnel Lionel Vital served as the assistant director of college scouting with the Patriots from 2001-2004 and a national scout in 2000
  • Patriots DL Ron Braceand Falcons QB Matt Ryanwere teammates at Boston College for the 2004-07 seasons.
  • Patriots WR Brandon Tate and Falcons T Garrett Reynolds were teammates for all four years of their collegiate careers at the University of North Carolina from 2005-08.
  • Patriots RB Kevin Faulkand Falcons C Todd McClure were four-year teammates at Louisiana State University from 1995-98.
  • Patriots RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Falcons DT Paria Jerryand DE Emmanuel Stephenswere teammates at Mississippi during the 2008 season.
  • Patriots G George Busseyand Falcons WR Harry Douglas were teammates during the 2004-07 seasons at Louisville.
  • Patriots DL Gerard Warren and RB Fred Taylor and Falcons LB Mike Peterson were college teammates at the University of Florida from 1997-98.
  • Patriots DE Brandon Deaderick and Falcons TE Colin Peek, G Mike Johnson and QB John Parker Wilson were all teammates at Alabama from 2006-08. Deaderick, Johnson and Peek were all members of the Crimson Tide's 2009 National Championship winning team.
  • Patriots LB Gary Guyton and DT Darryl Richard and Falcons DT Vance Walker anchored the defensive corps together at Georgia Tech from 2005-07.
  • Falcons DT/FB Dan Klecko was drafted by the Patriots as the 117th overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft.
  • Falcons QB Chris Redman signed contract with the Patriots in January of 2005, but was released in June of that year.
  • Patriots TE Alge Crumplerwas a valuable member of the Falcons from 2001-07. During his time in Atlanta, Crumpler recorded 93 starts in 108 games with 316 receptions for 4,212 yards and 35 touchdowns.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

STREAKING

3
The number of consecutive seasons Randy Moss has recorded 10 or more touchdown catches to become the first Patriots player with three seasons of 10-plus TD catches. He had 23 in 2007, 11 in 2008 and an NFL-leading 13 in 2009. His nine seasons of 10 or more touchdowns tie Jerry Rice for the NFL record.

3
Wes Welker and Randy Moss became the first Patriots to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2008 and stretched that to three straight 1,000-yard seasons after both went over 1,000 yards in 2009.

3
The number of seasons that Wes Welker has reached 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards to join Marvin Harrison (4), Jerry Rice (3), Herman Moore (3) and Brandon Marshall (3) as the only players to catch 100 passes and have 1,000 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons.

3
The number of consecutive seasons that the Patriots' offense has finished in the top five after finishing third in 2009, fifth in 2008 and first in 2007.

6
The number of times in NFL history that a team has had two players go three straight seasons with 1,000 yards receiving after Randy Moss and Wes Welker completed their third straight season with over 1,000 yards receiving in 2009.

7
The number of NFL receivers who have reached 14,000 receiving yards. Randy Moss became the seventh player to reach the milestone in 2009 and now has 14,465 receiving yards.

7
The number of seasons that Tom Brady has passed for more than 3,000 yards to tie the team record with Drew Bledsoe.

9
The number of consecutive seasons in which the Patriots have won nine or more regular-season games. They are the only team in the NFL to have won at least nine games in each of the last nine seasons entering 2010.

171
The number of consecutive home games the Patriots have sold out. The streak includes every preseason, regular-season and playoff game since the 1994 regular-season opener.

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