Big Decision: What to do in bad weather?

There's a decent chance Foxborough's weather Sunday will be worse than it was on this 2009 day. AP Photo/Steven Senne

The day before each game this season, this space will feature one big decision facing Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and his staff, in terms of the game plan.

This week's decision: How do the Patriots adjust their game plan to the weather?

Patriots49ersOn Monday night, rain stopped in time for kickoff against the Houston Texans. Temperatures were unseasonably warm, so even if the rain continued, there wouldn't have been much of an associated chill factor. Sunday's weather will be different. The current forecast calls for sleet and freezing rain increasing up until about kickoff, when there is about an 85 percent chance of just rain.

The artificial surface at Gillette Stadium should keep field conditions reasonable, but handling a wet ball with temperatures in the 30s will be a challenge for both quarterbacks.

The San Francisco 49ers have packed 3,000 extra pounds of cold-weather gear for this game, according to one report.

However, the advantage still goes to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady over 49ers first-year starter Colin Kaepernick in dealing with adverse weather conditions. Because of his quarterback's experience, Belichick will likely defer to Brady's and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' judgment on how they should alter their game plan. In the past, Brady has said bad weather can favor the offense, since it tends to slow pass-rushers, while receivers, who know their assignment, have the advantage over defensive backs, who are reacting to the play.

So while conventional wisdom says that the Patriots should turn to more of a ground-based scheme in likely rainy/cold conditions on Sunday night, they might do the opposite.

What do you think? Should the Patriots try to turn it into a sloppy, ground-and-pound slug-fest? Or should they take more chances against the 49ers' defense when the weather conditions may be on their side?

Vote in the poll and join the discussion in the comments section below.