ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons are set for their first preseason game Thursday night at the Georgia Dome.
The Falcons will go head to head with the Cincinnati Bengals.
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The team hopes wide receiver Julio Jones and Sean Witherspoon heal during the next few days before more games are played. They're also rooting for recovery for Mike Johnson, who suffered a dislocated left ankle and fibula fracture during Tuesday's practice. Johnson's surgery is scheduled for next week.
Both teams have been practicing all week. During yesterday's rain, Coach Mike Smith had the Falcons practicing indoors.
Quarterback Matt Ryan knows the veterans who are up front will be counted on to help the younger players who have to step up and fill in.
While the team worked on their offense and defense, the Georgia Dome worked on new rules fans need to know.
Backpacks are now banned, along with large purses, diaper bags, camera bags, coolers and seat cushions for every game this season. Spectators are encouraged to bring in only necessities.
An alternative to a purse is a clear plastic tote bag or a small clutch. The NFL is selling clear bags with team logos for $10 - $13 each.
Some fans say that regardless of the inconvenience to people, anything to help with safety is a good idea.
Dome officials realize fans might be caught off guard by the new security rules, so they promise patience. They have been trying to get word out about the new rules. For Thursday night's game, parking lot attendants in official Dome lots will pass out fliers as fans drive in. That way, fans will know what they can and cannot bring well before entering the stadium's gate.
Kickoff at the Georgia Dome is set for 8:00.
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