Patriots-Bears could be played in treacherous conditions

Soldier Field will host what could be the marquee matchup in Week 14 with the Bears playing the New England Patriots in Chicago for the first time since 2000.

The Patriots (10-2) can clinch a playoff berth with a victory. The Bears (9-3) are a game up in the NFC North and eyeing the Atlanta Falcons for the top seed in the conference. It’s a game full of intriguing storylines, none more compelling than Tom Brady vs. the opportunistic Bears’ defense that has been rejuvenated with the arrival of defensive end Julius Peppers and leadership of first-year coordinator Rod Marinelli.

And it’s a game that could be played in downright awful conditions. The most recent forecast for game time is for temperatures at 18 degrees, and dropping, with wind gusts from 30 mph to 50 mph. That could cause real issues for Brady and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Passers will tell you it’s not tough to throw the ball in the rain or snow, but winds can throw off air attacks.

“For us, it's the typical Chicago game in December,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “Do we game plan for it? Yes. This is our home field advantage. Or I shouldn't say advantage. It's at least our home field we play on. You prepare for all situations that come up each week. Again, it's not like we're going to start doing anything differently than we normally do at this time of the year.”

It’s not like the visitor is not accustomed to Old Man Winter, though. The Patriots know what they’re going to encounter. How do they prepare?

“We just go outside (to practice),” coach Bill Belichick saod. “We've been in windy and cold conditions here at points in the year. We don't have a freezer.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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