Sunday, October 6, 2013
Welcome to Paul Brown Stadium
By Field Yates
CINCINNATI -- Welcome to Paul Brown Stadium, where the New England Patriots (4-0) visit the Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) at 1 p.m. ET:
Wet conditions. A steady rain drove down on the area during team ESPNBoston.com's morning commute to the stadium, and a forecast from Weather.com calls for thunderstorms in the hours leading up to the game. If there is thunder or lightning in the area during game time, the officials will make a decision on whether or not to temporarily suspend the game. Kickoff conditions are expected to be around 73 degrees with 79 percent humidity, 45 percent chance of rain and winds heading south at 13 miles per hour.
Feel for Paul Brown Stadium. Opened in 2000, Paul Brown Stadium has a SyntheticTurf playing surface. Maximum capacity within the stadium is just over 65,000. In a somewhat unusual look, the stadium features seats that do no mesh with the team's uniform colors, as there are green seats throughout the stadium often referred to as "The Jungle."
Four inactives to declare. The Patriots have already ruled out three players for today's game, led by tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back Stevan Ridley. In addition, safety Tavon Wilson did not travel with the team and was declared inactive for today as he deals with a hamstring injury. The most notable name we'll be watching as it relates to inactives will be wide receiver Danny Amendola, who traveled to Cincinnati and is questionable to play. All indications are that he's ready for action.
Bengals inactives in focus. From a Bengals perspective, the big injury question marks come on defense, as top cornerback Leon Hall is doubtful, as is reserve cornerback Brandon Ghee, while cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is questionable. If those three are unable to play, the secondary will be stretched thin. Up front, defensive end Michael Johnson is questionable due to a concussion. He received the franchise tag this past offseason after a double-digit sack season.
NFL promotes breast cancer awareness. As part of the NFL's breast cancer awareness month campaign, there are two Pink Ribbon logos on the field and banners around the field level. In addition, players and coaches will be permitted to wear pink accessories (gloves, hats, cleats, etc.) during the game, and referees will use pink flags.
Steratore gets the call. Veteran referee Gene Steratore, who handles Division I college basketball duties during the offseason, will call today's game.