- Mike Reiss, ESPN New England Patriots reporter
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Indoor football. Weather conditions aren’t a factor as this marks the Patriots’ first regular-season game inside a pure dome since Thanksgiving of 2010 (vs. Lions, on Thanksgiving). The Georgia Dome has a permanent seating capacity of 71,250 and is one of the loudest venues in the NFL. Since 2008, the Falcons are 34-7 at home, which is the best record in the NFC.
A feel for inside the dome. Plans to build the Georgia Dome, for $210 million, were first introduced in 1989. The Georgia Dome, which opened in 1992, has hosted two Super Bowls (XXVIII, XXXIV), gymnastics and basketball events for the 1996 Olympic Games, and most recently the NCAA Men’s Final Four for the third time. For football, the mostly red seats and Falcon at midfield give the dome a unique look. Banners hang above from the team’s six division championships, as well as some of former Falcon greats, including Deion Sanders, Jessie Tuggle and Steve Bartkowski.
Four more inactive Patriots players: The Patriots have already ruled tight end Rob Gronkowski and receivers Danny Amendola and Matthew Slater out for the game. That means four more players must be declared inactive, with those decisions turned in to the NFL 90 minutes before kickoff.
Extra points: The Falcons have outscored opponents 31-0 in the first quarter this season. … Under head coach Mike Smith, the Falcons are 22-3 after a loss. … This marks the Patriots’ second of five scheduled nationally televised games this season. … The 34 total points allowed by the Patriots are the fewest for the team through three games since 1979.
Coleman gets the call: Veteran referee Walt Coleman has been assigned tonight’s game. Patriots fans remember Coleman from the “Tuck Rule” game.
Television broadcast: Tonight’s game will be on NBC, with Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya on the call.
ATLANTA -- Welcome to the Georgia Dome, where the New England Patriots visit the Atlanta Falcons (8:30 p.m. ET):Indoor football. Weather conditions aren’t a factor as this marks the Patriots’ first regular-season game inside a pure dome since Thanksgiving of 2010 (vs.