FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Welcome to Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots will host the Arizona Cardinals in their home opener on Sunday (1 p.m. EST; Fox).
Perfect football weather. Not a cloud sits in the sky above Gillette Stadium, where the current temperature is 59 degrees with 65 percent humidity and winds of just four miles per hour (dew point of 47 degrees, according to Weather.com). Weather doesn't figure to be an issue at all in today's contest, with an estimated game-time temperature of 67 degrees. Winds aren't expected to pick up substantially, and there's no rain in the forecast, so call it a perfect day for football.
A feel for Gillette. The FieldTurf has been freshly painted, with the traditional "Flying Elvis" logo centering the field. Additionally, viewers will notice a "Back To Football" stamp on either side of the field spanning between the 25-30 yard lines. That logo will be seen league-wide on all fields as part of the NFL's "welcome back to football" campaign. The Gillette Stadium logo -- a grey lighthouse with fireworks streaming from its top -- is painted on either side of the field on the 50-yard line. As always, a sellout crowd is expected at today's game (the Patriots have sold out every game at this stadium).
National anthem. Francis T. Rogers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tangelwood will sing today's National Anthem.
Color Guard. The 104th Fighter Wing based out of the Barnes Air Force National Guard Base in Westfield, Mass., will present the national colors. Players were anticipating a flyover prior to today's contest, with receiver Brandon Lloyd joking that players liked the idea of seeing a "double flyover" -- one last week in Tennessee for the Titans' home opener, and one today at Gillette.
Brown honored on GameDay cover. Former Patriots receiver Troy Brown, who was officially inducted into the team's Hall of Fame on Saturday, graces the cover of the official GameDay magazine. Brown played 15 seasons for the Patriots (1993-2007), and set the franchise mark for receptions with 553. Wes Welker tied that mark last Sunday in Tennessee, and has an opportunity to surprass Brown this afternoon. Welker has expressed great reverence for Brown and what he meant to his career throughout the week.
Home field advantage for Patriots. The Patriots open their regular season home slate at Gillete Stadium today, a place where they finished 7-1 in 2011 and have totaled a 15-1 mark over the past two seasons. Since opening in 2002, the Patriots have chalked up a 67-13 record at Gillette Stadium, and have won each of their 10 home season openers (link here). Additionally, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is 35-1 in his last 36 starts at Gillette Stadium.
Waiting on inactives. We won't receive official word on player inactives until roughly 90 minutes before kickoff, and no player from either team has yet been ruled out for the contest. The expectation is that Cardinals quarterback John Skelton (ankle) won't suit up, and the Patriots have seven players listed as questionable, headlined by guard Dan Connolly (head).
Scott in stripes. David Scott has been tabbed as the referee for this week's contest. He'll lead a crew of replacement officials, as the league and the NFL referee's association remain at a standstill in labor negotiations. Scott's crew, with the exception of field judge George Trout, worked last week's Redskins-Saints game in New Orleans. A total of 24 penalties (for 234 yards) were called in the game -- 12 on the Redskins, 12 on the Saints.
Eagles, Ravens, taking an advanced look. A pair of NFL scouts will be in the house today, as one member of the Eagles' and Ravens' organizations will be present to get an advanced look at the Patriots and Cardinals. The Patriots, of course, travel to Baltimore next weekend, while the Cardinals will host the Eagles in Week 3 action.