Setting the scene: Patriots take on Colts in AFC divisional playoff at soggy Gillette Stadium
|01.11.14 at 6:38 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots have played playoff games in bitter cold, fog and snow before in Foxboro.
Saturday night, they’ll be playing the Colts in something a little different. Steady rain and gusty winds are expected throughout the game that will send the winner to the AFC championship next Sunday.
While the temperature shouldn’t be an issue (53 degrees forecasted for 8:15 p.m. kickoff), the wind could be a huge factor in the passing and kicking games.
Rain is expected from the start of the game through 11 p.m. with wind gusts of up to 45 miles an hour in the forecast. The wind is expected to be a steady 20 MPH out of the south, meaning the team moving toward the closed (south) end of the stadium will be moving into the wind and the team moving into the open (north) end will have the wind, at least at the start of the game.
Several tarps covered the field until shortly before 6 p.m. when they were taken off to allow both teams to warm up on the wet turf. Puddles – like those that developed in the second half of the Bills game on Dec. 29 – were spotted all over the field.
Memorable weather games played at Foxboro include the heavy rain of Dec. 31, 1978 when the Oilers beat the Patriots, 31-14, in the divisional round, the fog of Jan. 5, 1997 when the Patriots beat the Steelers and the coldest Patriots home game ever (-4 F) of Jan. 10, 2004 when they beat Tennessee to advance to the AFC championship. The Patriots beat Peyton Manning and the Colts, 24-14, the next week in the snow to advance to Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Of course, the most famous playoff game ever played in Foxboro was the “Snow Bowl” on Jan. 19, 2002 when Tom Brady and the Patriots beat the Raiders, 16-13, in overtime to advance to the AFC championship.