Rainy forecast plays into Thursday planning

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As if the New England Patriots didn’t already have enough on their plate during a short week to prepare for Thursday night's matchup against the New York Jets, Mother Nature figures to be a factor in the game as well.

As of Tuesday, Thursday night’s forecast calls for periods of heavy rain in the Foxborough, Massachusetts, area that is expected to continue from scheduled kickoff at 8:25 p.m. through the night. And while the Patriots surely are dedicating the little time they have toward preparing for the Jets, the weather conditions are something that players have been sure to keep in mind as well.

“The tracking all through the week. Having two pairs of cleats, trying both those out,” linebacker Dont’a Hightower said. “Most the time it’s just consciously knowing what’s going on as far as your feet.”

Conditions could especially pose a problem for a typically pass-heavy Patriots offense that will be further effected by the loss of starting running back Stevan Ridley, whose season reportedly is over as a result of an ACL and MCL tear. If the weather dictates an emphasis on keeping the ball on the ground, the Patriots will have to do so against the NFL’s eighth-ranked run defense in the Jets.

On the other hand, the defense for the Patriots will look to take advantage of the same situation on the Jets' side.

“Defense, we like it. Hopefully the ball will hang a little bit and not be as tight,” safety Devin McCourty said. “I think, defensively, we just want to have a little more awareness of the ball and also understand with wet jerseys we’ve got to do a good job of wrapping guys up on tackles.”

In addition to the game, the Patriots have planned a ceremony to honor 2014 team Hall of Fame inductee Ty Law during halftime. Team chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, as well as former teammates and fellow Patriots Hall of Fame members Troy Brown, Willie McGinest, Lawyer Milloy, Otis Smith and Deion Branch are expected to take part in the event.

The hope for all involved will be that the weather doesn’t pose too much of a problem to both the game and the ceremony.

“You just go out there and prepare the best way you can,” cornerback Darrelle Revis said. “Whatever the weather is, the weather is.”