Weather conditions: Temperatures are mild for this time of year, currently in the low 50s and high humidity, but it is raining and windy. The gusts coming into the stadium were powerful to the point that the two goalposts on the team’s lower practice field were blown sideways. It seems fair to say this will be an "elements" game (weather.com forecast).
Six more inactives for Patriots: With rookie receiver Aaron Dobson (foot) already having been ruled out, the Patriots have six more players to declare inactive. Those decisions are finalized and announced about 90 minutes before kickoff. Cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (knee/shoulder) and receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) were the two players listed as questionable on the team’s final injury report.
Morelli gets the call: Pete Morelli has been assigned to referee tonight’s game. The NFL uses all-star crews in the playoffs, and two of the other six officials tonight had worked with Morelli during the regular season. Morelli’s crew was known for throwing among the fewest penalties in the NFL, but the all-star crew aspect alters any type of referee "scouting."
Belichick and Brady on GameDay cover: Quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick are pictured on the cover of tonight's GameDay magazine.
Final game for CBS analyst Dierdorf: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on CBS, with Greg Gumbel (play-by-play) and Dan Dierdorf (analysis) on the call. This is Dierdorf’s final game as he previously announced he was retiring after the season.
National Anthem: Performed by Michelle Brooks-Thompson, a TMG Gospel recording artist from Springfield, Mass.
Color Guard: MBTA Transit Police Honor Guard.