- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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It’s December in New England, so the weather is frequently subject to change, but an early look at the forecast for tonight’s matchup between the Patriots and Texans reveals a 64 percent chance for rain at kickoff, with temperatures in the mid-50s (here is weather.com's hour-by-hour forecast).
As of this writing, there was a tarp on the field at Gillette.
While each team has run the football effectively this season and could lean on the run because of the slippery conditions, it shouldn’t be considered a given that New England or Houston will abandon or shy away from throwing the football because of the weather.
The Patriots have played in a pair of games with slightly wet conditions this season, a Week 6 loss in Seattle and a Week 8 win in London against St. Louis. They threw the ball a total of 96 times in those two games, with Tom Brady passing for 699 combined yards.
As some of our commenters have posted out, the Texans did in fact play a wet game in Week 10 in Chicago, during which quarterback Matt Schaub threw for just 95 yards and two interceptions in a 13-6 win. The conditions on that evening were difficult, and the grass field in Chicago was quickly chewed up. Foster carried the heavy load on offense, posting 102 yards on 29 carries.
Perhaps the areas in which rain might play a bigger role is on special teams, with holders and snappers having to handle a wet football, and in the passing game with defensive backs having to match and mirror wide receivers (catching the football is never as easy in the rain, either).
We'll keep an eye on the forecast as kickoff approaches.