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Setting the scene for Patriots-Falcons

08.19.10 at 5:09 pm ET

With only a few hours to go before kickoff at the Georgia Dome, here are a couple of things to get you ready for tonight’€™s Patriots-Falcons preseason game.

‘€¢According to reports, the following players did not make the trip to Georgia, and so they (presumably) have been ruled out for tonight game: wide receiver Darnell Jenkins, wide receiver Matthew Slater, cornerback Leigh Bodden, defensive back Bret Lockett, cornerback Terrence Johnson, linebacker Dane Fletcher, linebacker Gary Guyton, offensive lineman George Bussey, offensive lineman Logan Mankins, offensive lineman Nick Kaczur, defensive lineman Damione Lewis, linebacker Tully Banta-Cain, and linebacker Jermaine Cunningham.

‘€¢Here’€™s a look at 10 things to look for tonight from a New England perspective, which includes wide receiver Wes Welker … if he does play. Welker made the trip to Georgia, but there’€™s still some question as to whether or not he should play. Former Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown said Week 3 of the preseason ‘€œfeels like the right time’€ for Welker to return to the gridiron, so he might sit for the second straight preseason game.

‘€¢In addition, rookie Brandon Spikes has continued to emerge as a force at the position for the Patriots, and figures to get more of a chance to show what he can do this evening. Ditto for younger players like Dan Connolly and Brandon Tate, both of who will be looking to build on positive performances in the preseason opener against the Saints.

‘€¢We’€™ve also got a look at a handful of players who might need a strong preseason to land a job. That includes veteran inside linebacker Eric Alexander, wide receiver Sam Aiken and cornerback Terrence Wheatley. Wheatley is undergoing a bit of a renaissance over the last week or two, a series that was highlighted with a heads-up play that prevented a touchdown in the preseason opener. But is it enough for him to land a spot on the 53-man roster? Another strong outing tonight would certainly help him out.

Read More: Falcons, Patriots, preseason, training camp



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