Bengals vs. Falcons: TV Schedule, Live Stream, Radio, Game Time and More
However, both squads lost their first round wild card games, giving them plenty of motivation heading into the 2012 season.
The two franchises have not met on the gridiron since October 2010, when the Falcons won a shootout. With that being said, look for an entertaining game on Thursday night.
Here is everything you need to know for Thursday's matchup between the Bengals and Falcons.
When: Thursday, August 16 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.
Listen: WLW 700 AM (Cincinnati), 790 AM The Zone (Atlanta)
Live Streaming: NFL Audio Pass
Betting Line: Falcons (-3.5), according to Covers.com.
What's At Stake?
For a handful of Bengals players, revenge is in order for a 39-32 loss suffered at the Georgia Dome in Week 7 of 2010. In what was a wild game, Cincinnati outscored Atlanta 22-0 in the third quarter, only to see Matt Ryan and the Falcons score 15 fourth quarter points of their own to pull out the victory.
Although a preseason win is nice and all, it does little to draw a team closer to the playoffs. There's nothing at stake in terms of team success or failure on Thursday night, but several futures at stake for the individuals trying to make an NFL roster.
Key Bengals Injuries
*According to CBSSports
DB Taylor Mays (Head), probable for Thursday
DL Carlos Dunlap (Knee), out for preseason
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Foot), doubtful for Thursday
DB Leon Hall (Achilles), probable for start of regular season
LB Ray Maualuga (Knee), questionable for Thursday
DB Shaun Prater (Knee), out for season
DB Dre Kirkpatrick (Leg), questionable for start of regular season
Key Falcons Injuries
*According to CBSSports
LB Akeem Dent (Head), out for Thursday
DL Corey Peters (Foot), questionable for start of regular season
Fantasy Prospect to Watch
Julio Jones was an absolute stud during his rookie year with the Atlanta Falcons in 2011. Jones caught 54 balls for 959 yards and eight touchdowns in 13 games last season. The 6'3", 220-pound wideout is one of the top physical specimens in the league and is sure to blow his 2011 numbers out of the water this fall.
With an established NFL signal-caller like Matt Ryan throwing him the football, fantasy owners would be wise to think about drafting Jones a little higher than they originally anticipated. Jones had six receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown in Atlanta's preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens last week.
What They're Saying
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
The Atlanta Falcons defense has been suspect against the pass in recent years, and ranked just 20th in the NFL in yards allowed last season, giving up more than 236 per game. In 2012, Atlanta is banking on the safety duo of Thomas DeCoud and William Moore to shore up its secondary.
Here are DeCoud's thoughts via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Chris Vivlamore:
“This is the year that we are really going to hit our stride in terms of knowing our own system, knowing how to play off each other and knowing what each others weaknesses are,” DeCoud said after a recent training camp practice. “It’s about time we got that ball rolling and really start playing some really, really good football.”
Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals have been dealing with injuries and losses at running back. They will have plenty of different players carrying the ball during the preseason, though, which shouldn't hurt experience, according to head coach Marvin Lewis via Cincinnati.com's Kevin Kelly:
“We’re going to get some other guys some more playing time, and I think that will be good,” Lewis said Monday. “Particularly in the backfield, for sure. I think that will be good for our guys.”
Bengals Player to Watch
Second-year quarterback Andy Dalton will the player to watch in the early stages of Thursday night's matchup in Atlanta. Dalton looked like a poised veteran under center in 2011, leading the Bengals to a winning record and a wild card playoff berth in the AFC.
Dalton was 4-for-9 for 54 yards in Cincinnati's preseason opener against the New York Jets last week, but will need to get sharper in the coming weeks if the Bengals are to repeat their 2011 success. Dalton threw for nearly 3,400 yards last season, tossing 20 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions as a rookie.
Falcons Player to Watch
With the emergence of Julio Jones on the outside for the Atlanta Falcons, veteran wide receiver Roddy White has fallen under the radar. White caught 100 passes for nearly 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns last season, but lacks the big-play ability that Jones possesses.
Still, White is one of the top wide receivers in football, and at only age 30, is set for another superb, 1,000-plus-yard season. White was targeted five times in Atlanta's exhibition matchup with the Ravens last week, catching three balls for 46 yards.
Will Matt Ryan throw for more than 150 yards on Thursday?
The key matchup to watch for on Thursday will be the Atlanta Falcons' aerial attack vs. the Cincinnati Bengals' pass defense. Cincinnati ranked ninth in the NFL against the pass last season, while Atlanta ranked eighth in the league in passing offense.
The Bengals have dealt with a plethora of injuries in the secondary this offseason and will be undermanned on Thursday night. Fans should pay close attention during the first quarter to see how Cincinnati's secondary deals with Julio Jones, Roddy White and the Falcons prolific dome-based passing attack.
The preseason is anything but predictable, however, in this case I like the Atlanta Falcons to rebound at home from a stinging loss to the Ravens last week in front of their fans inside the Georgia Dome. I know, the Bengals held the Jets to just six points in their opener, but these are the Falcons playing indoors. Matt Ryan and company don't lose two in a row at home—I'll take the Falcons.
Falcons 24, Bengals 13
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter all season long for more NFL reaction and analysis.
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