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Game Preview: Falcons vs. Ravens


Atlanta Falcons at Baltimore Ravens

Preseason 2 is connected by Verizon, Official Wireless Service Provider of the Baltimore Ravens. Thursday, 08/015/13, 7:30 PM – M&T Bank Stadium (71,008)
TV:WBAL Ch. 11 | WJLA | WHTM | KFVE | Comcast SportsNet
Radio:98 Rock | WBAL-1090 AM
Local Radio Crew:Gerry Sandusky (play-by-play), Stan White (analyst), Qadry Ismail (analyst)
Jersey Color:Purple 

The Ravens will continue the 2013 preseason with their home opener at M&T Bank Stadium against the Atlanta Falcons.

Baltimore took down Tampa Bay 44-16 last week to start the preseason, while the Falcons dropped their opener 34-10 to the Cincinnati Bengals.

This week's game should feature a good amount of playing time for quarterback Joe Flacco and the starters.  After playing just the first quarter last week, most of the starters are expected to see action throughout most of the first half this Thursday.

The Ravens have made some additions since their last time on the field by signing veteran receiver Brandon Stokley and tight end Dallas Clark. This will be the first time seeing* *the new faces in action, as they look to mesh with an offense that still has some questions heading into the regular season.

Matchups To Watch 

CB Jimmy Smith vs. WR Julio JonesThe Ravens held Lardarius Webb out of last week's game, and may play it safe with him again this week. With Webb potentially out, Smith will get the start and likely match up against 6-foot-3 Jones. The Falcons' dynamic receiver torched the Ravens last preseason with six catches for 109 yards, so he may be looking for another big game this year. Smith is fighting for a starting job, and this week will be a good test to see how he performs against one of the league's best. 

WR Tandon Doss vs. CB Asante SamuelThe next three preseason games are critical for Doss, as he aims to get on the same page with Flacco and establish himself in the offense.  The arrival of Stokley creates more competition for Doss to get on the field, but a solid performance against the Falcons could help him win the competition for the No. 3 receiver. 

C A.Q. Shipley vs. DT Jonathan Babineaux
The battle between Shipley and Gino Gradkowski at center is one of the tightest of training camp, and the Ravens plan to give the veteran center the starting nod this week after giving it to Gradkowski last week. Shipley had some miscues with Flacco earlier in camp, but he has cleaned those up and this game could be key for him in trying to earn a starting job.

Keys To The Game

Clean up communication issuesThe defense had a strong performance against the Buccaneers outside of a couple communication breakdowns. One of those miscues led to a 61-yard pass completion. The Ravens have worked to clean up any communication problems during practice, and it's critical to get that to translate to the games. 

Get offense in a rhythm
The first-team offense moved the ball in the opener, but wasn't able to put any points on the board with Flacco under center. Flacco also threw an interception on the opening series. The starters will likely see more time this week, so the group will look to get into a rhythm during their action in the first half.

Adjustment to game speedThe preseason opener was the first look at NFL game action for many of the players currently on the roster. They've been able to break down the tape this week and make tweaks on the practice field, and this contest is a chance to show they can make an adjustment to the game speed at the professional level. 

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