Patriots ready to deal with the heat in Miami

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Patriots ready to deal with the heat in Miami

FOXBORO -- Baggy sweatpants were in style at Patriots practice on Thursday. So were hooded sweatshirts stuffed underneath light shoulder pads. Some players wore shorts but had leg-warming tights on underneath.

It was hovering around 40 degrees outside of Gillette Stadium and Patriots players -- save for the one or two who were impervious to the cold and wore shorts and no sleeves -- did what they could to stay warm.

They won't have any such problem on Sunday in Miami. The forecast in South Florida calls for temperatures to reach as high as the upper 70s with a chance of showers.

It will be quite the climate change for the Patriots, but they seem prepared.

Vince Wilfork played his college ball at the University of Miami so he knows how to play in the heat.  

"Hydrate a lot," he said. "A lot of conditioning. Just making sure that you're ready to go. The biggest thing is you can't go down there thinking about the weather. Everybody knows in South Florida you can have thunder storms, you can have sunny, you can have whatever it may be except for snow . . . Just some things on that day you'll have to deal with.

"Hydration plays a big, big factor. Going down there and playing, especially if you get a nice hot day, one o'clock ballgame, you just have to be able to hydrate well and do everything you can during the week to get your body prepared to play in a place like that."

From what they've shared with the media this week, the Patriots haven't done much to simulate the temperatures they'll feel in Miami. They practiced outside on both Wednesday and Thursday, not opting for the warmer confines of their practice bubble. Coach Bill Belichick explained that it was more important to practice on grass -- the same surface they'll see against the Dolphins -- than it was to practice in a warmer environment.

Wes Welker -- who is from Oklahoma, played in college at Texas Tech, and spent time with the Dolphins earlier in his career -- knows what it's like to play in the heat as well. 

"Make sure you're in shape," he suggested. "Drink plenty of water. Eat right. Make sure you're ready for a little bit of heat that we haven't had up here lately."

Welker didn't think the weather would be too big of an issue, though from his experience, it will be more difficult for the Dolphins to come up to Foxboro in Week 17.

"Personally," Welker said. "Warm to cold is definitely the toughest."

For Aqib Talib, acquired in a trade-deadline deal from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the heat will be a welcome change from the weather conditions at his new home.

"It'll be nice," he said. "It definitely will be nice, playing in about 70 degree weather."

Unlike his teammates, Talib didn't feel the need to preach the importance of drinking fluids in order to guard against cramping or dehydration.

"We're all grown me out here," he said. "We all know how to do that."