FOXBORO — With just under one week remaining until their 2022 season-opener, the New England Patriots officially are on to Miami.
The Pats are set to kick off the 2022 NFL season on Sunday, Sept. 11, and they have already begun making preparations for their 1 p.m. game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.
In 2021, Miami swept the season series between the two division rivals for the first time since 2000. The Pats dropped their Week 1 matchup with the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium 17-16, while also falling to the ‘Fins 33-24 in the 2021 season-finale in Miami.
While their performance on the field will ultimately determine the outcome, Patriots coach Bill Belichick is undoubtedly hoping to reverse the trend of poor showings in Miami. The Dolphins have won seven of their last nine at home against New England.
With heat, humidity and rain expected to play a role in Sunday’s game, Belichick confirmed an early arrival in South Florida for his team due to the weather. To help mitigate the effects of the potential conditions, the Pats will travel on Tuesday, rather than their customary Saturday departure
“I think there are a combination of factors, but in the end it all looks like it’s set up fairly well here,” Belichick told reporters on Sunday via video conference. “So, [we’ll] travel on Tuesday instead of on Saturday. We’ll already be down there. We’ll be able to just focus on the Dolphins.
The weight of hot, humid afternoons in South Florida can pose a challenge for a team which is used to the cooler temperatures of New England. Muscle cramping, fatigue and dehydration are all factors in conditions such as those the Pats may face on Sunday.
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Last week, the Pats coach was asked about the potential effect of the weather on his team, Belichick responded by saying:
“We’ve certainly had a good opportunity to be in some warm weather this year. I’d say this has been a little bit warmer than usual training camp — and then time in Vegas. I think that’s one of those things that you don’t really know until you get into playing in it. It’s different to train in it then to actually play.”
As for the conditions themselves, Belichick does not expect either the sweltering temperatures or the potential precipitation to befuddle his roster, including those who have little to no experience braving the adverse weather conditions. The Patriots are known to practice in all types of climates and conditions, and their head coach believes that it will serve them well on Sunday.
The extra time in Miami will only help that cause.
Still, Belichick knows that weather can play a role in a game’s outcome. As a result, New England, despite his previous assertions to the contrary. Whether it be oppressive heat and humidity, or the unforgiving cold, icy conditions of northern winters, Belichick prides himself on fielding a team that is ready for any and all situations.
“We practice in a variety of conditions from the start of training camp to the end of the preseason, so whenever they come up, they come up,” Belichick told reporters in late 2021. “We learn from those. Those may or may not be what we get that particular week. Somewhere along the line, it could come into play. We talk about that, how it would affect certain plays, situations, ball handling, etc. It’s kind of a continual conversation we have on that.”
Whatever the weather conditions may be on Sunday, the Patriots will be ready for them, due to the diligence and prior performance of their head coach.