FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Welcome to Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots host the Broncos in the divisional round of the playoffs:
Weather conditions. According to Weather.com, temperature at kickoff is expected to be around 23 degrees (with wind chill, it should feel around 9 degrees). There should be no precipitation. It is windy now, although the forecast calls for gusts to subside a bit by kickoff (around 17 miles per hour).
Steratore gets the call. Gene Steratore is assigned to referee tonight's game. Steratore worked the second Patriots-Jets game (Nov. 13), and he has his full crew with him tonight (except for a new side judge).
Injuries in focus. The Broncos have ruled receiver Eric Decker (knee) and long snapper Lonie Paxton (personal) out for tonight's game. Veteran safety Brian Dawkins (neck) is doubtful. For the Patriots, the "Big 3" to watch are left guard Logan Mankins (knee), right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back/foot) and safety Patrick Chung (knee). Coach Bill Belichick said Thursday that he anticipated there would be a few game-time decisions.
Markings on the field. Fans will notice some additional markings on the field. In addition to the Patriots logo at midfield, and the Gillette Stadium lighthouse markings to each side of that, there are "NFL Divisional" markings at the 25-yard line on both ends.
Diverse media group. As one would expect, there is a heavy football media presence, with everyone from Peter King of SI.com, USA Today, and international outlets represented. Also notable is that "Good Morning America", People, The New Yorker, GQ and Time Magazine have media credentials for tonight's game, which is likely tied to what we'll call the "Tim Tebow Effect."
Scouts in the house. The Ravens and Texans, who play in the AFC's other divisional round game, have two scouts apiece scheduled to be in attendance in the press box. This is standard operating procedure.
Television information. Tonight's game is broadcast on CBS, with Jim Nantz (play by play) and Phil Simms (analysis) on the call.
National anthem/color guard. The national anthem will be perfomed by Irish Tenor Ronan Tynan. Colors presented by the Boston Police Honor Guard.