FOXBORO -- If you're anywhere on the upper end of the East Coast, you already know the big story here at Gillette Stadium.
It's cold. Real cold. And windy. Real windy.
The wind has already knocked over Port-a-Potties in the parking lot, and the folks rehearsing the flag unfolding for what I assume will be the pregame ceremony -- you can see them in the picture attached to this headline on the home page -- had a dickens of a time keeping the large, colored tarp from flapping out of their hands as the wind got underneath it and blew large ripples into the different sections. And all that begs the question of how the Patriots and Broncos quarterbacks, and kickers, will deal with the Arctic, mid-January-like conditions in tonight's nationally televised matchup.
Both teams, at least, will be warmed by the early results in Week 12. The Broncos are assured of leaving Foxboro in no worse than a tie for first in the AFC West thanks to the Chargers' all-guns-blazing win over the Chiefs, which dropped Kansas City's record to 9-2. And the AFC East "race" -- if you can call it that -- got even less racier as both the Jets and the Dolphins lost and fell below .500. A loss tonight would do almost no damage to the Patriots' divisional chances, and a win could all but end the pretense.
That's about all that's keeping them warm, though. Sometimes, on cold days, you'll see players come out for early warmups in shirtsleeves and shorts, attempting to defy the elements and -- I guess -- psyche out the opposition. No such games tonight; everyone foolish enough to be out there early is dressed to the teeth. Except for some cameramen in shorts, but the wind is blowing their hats off. Can't beat Mother Nature, boys.
If you're on your way, bundle up. If you're not, throw another log on the fire.