CINCINNATI -- It's warmer here in Paul Brown Stadium than it was six days ago in the Meadowlands.
Still, my blood turned to slush on my walk from the parking garage to the press box.
A handful of players are milling about on the field to get ready for the 4:30 p.m. kickoff, but not as many as you'd usually see about 90 minutes before kickoff. The game forecast is for a wind chill of 14 degrees, but only a 10 percent chance of snow.
The field appears to be in decent shape. Snow encrusts the bottom rim of the stadium floor where it meets the stands. But the playing surface appears to be free of ice.
Referee Bill Leavy's crew has drawn the assignment.
A quick look at the 2009 officiating ledger shows Leavy's crew has called 188 penalties, fifth-fewest among the NFL's 17 crews. Nothing unusual jumps out about the types of calls from Leavy and his men. Offensive holding (36) and offsides (31) led the way, as you would expect. They called defensive pass interference 10 times.
Here are the inactives for the game:
Quarterback Erik Ainge (third QB)
Quarterback Kevin O'Connell
Running back Chauncey Washington
Guard Matt Slauson
Defensive end Ropati Pitoitua
Linebacker Ryan Fowler
Linebacker Marques Murrell
Cornerback Donald Strickland