Sunday, November 11, 2012
Welcome to Gillette Stadium
By Field Yates
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Welcome to Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots (5-3) will host the Buffalo Bills (3-5) at 1 p.m. ET (CBS).
Favorable weather. It's a perfect day for football from a weather standpoint, with hardly a cloud in the sky. The temperature is expected to climb to 57 degrees by kickoff, with 62 percent humidity, a 10 percent chance of rain and winds from SSW at 11 miles per hour. After a week that saw roughly six inches of snow in Foxborough, the moderate climate is a welcomed sign. The flags atop the goalpost are waving ever so slightly now, and we'll continue to monitor that as kickoff draws nearer.
Salute to service. As part of the Veterans Day matchup, the Patriots have stenciled a special message to salute the service men and women of our country: "Salute to Service" lines the back line of either end zone. On Friday, the Patriots and New England Revolution dedicated a black seat in the south end zone of Gillette Stadium to the POW/MIA, which will remain permanently vacant. A special thank you to all of those who have served and continue to serve our country; your efforts do not go unnoticed.
Faulk to be honored. At halftime, the Patriots will hold a ceremony to celebrate the retirement of longtime running back Kevin Faulk, who played each of his 13 NFL seasons with the team. Said owner Robert Kraft: "Kevin Faulk helped define the way an entire generation of Patriots fans have come to view and appreciate our brand of football." Faulk is the franchise leader in all-purpose yardage (12,349) and kickoff return yardage (4,098). Each fan in attendance at today's game is due to receive a commemorative Faulk poster as part of his honoring.
Scouts in the house. With matchups against the Colts and Dolphins on the horizon for the Patriots and Bills, respectively, it's no surprise that a member of each of their personnel departments is in the house to take the game in as part of an advanced scouting report. For the Colts, pro scout Jon Shaw is present, while Dolphins assistant director of pro scouting Chris Shea is here as well.
Referee check: Bill Leavy. Veteran official Bill Leavy will have the call today at Gillette Stadium. He's one of the more experienced officials in the league, and has worked multiple Super Bowls. The last time the Patriots and Bills played, New England was flagged for just one penalty. That, however, was also the final week that the replacement officials called the game action.
Four more inactive players. The Patriots ruled out linebacker Tracy White and defensive end Trevor Scott on Friday's injury report, and ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported that tight end Aaron Hernandez is unlikely to play today. That leaves four players to be designated as inactives for Sunday, with potential injury-related candidates to include: safeties Patrick Chung and Steve Gregory, guard Logan Mankins, and cornerback Kyle Arrington. Defensive end Jake Bequette, who has been active in recent weeks, may also not dress for depth purposes.
Welker on GameDay cover. Receiver Wes Welker is gracing the cover of the Patriots GameDay magazine. His picture shows him running after making a catch, and he'll look to extend his streak to 103 consecutive games with a catch today. He's logged at least one catch in all 85 of his games played with the Patriots, a franchise record.