The New England Patriots will play a primetime nationally televised game for the second consecutive week when they host the NFC West-leading San Francisco 49ers in a Sunday Night Football matchup at Gillette Stadium. While the Patriots enter this week’s game first in the NFL with an average of 36.3 points per game, the San Francisco defense is first in the NFL, allowing just 14.2 points per game. The Patriots beat the Houston Texans, 42-14, last week on Monday Night Football to improve to a 10-3 record. The Patriots defense held the Texans to just 14 points after Houston entered the game averaging 29.3 points per game, which had been the second highest total in the NFL. The Patriots shut out the Texans in the first half and built a 42-7 lead before Houston closed out the scoring with a touchdown with
2:00 left in the game.
The Patriots had back-to-back primetime games one time in 2011, beating the New York Jets 37-16 on Sunday Night Football on Nov. 13 followed by a 34-3 win vs. Kansas City on Monday Night Football.
The Patriots and 49ers will meet for the 12th time in their history.
The last time the cross-country rivals tangled was when the Patriots traveled to San Francisco in 2008 and earned their first win at Candlestick Park with a 30-21 victory on Oct. 5, 2008.
The Niners hold a 7-4 lead in the series, but the Patriots have won the past three meetings (‘98, ’04 and ‘08). Prior to the Patriots’ three-game winning streak, the Niners won six straight contests.
San Francisco will be playing at Gillette Stadium for the second time overall and for the first time since the 2004 regular-season finale, when they lost 21-7 on Jan. 2, 2005. The 49ers are 3-3 overall in games against the Patriots in New England.
This week’s game will be nationally televised by NBC and can be seen in Boston on
WHDH-TV Channel 7. Al Michaels will handle play-by-play duties with Cris Collinsworth providing color. Michele Tafoya will serve as the sideline reporter.
98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 36th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action. Former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak will handle the color commentary.
Here's five things you need to know about Sunday's game.
1. Foxborough Parking Ban in Effect, Stadium Parking Information and Gates Openings
Foxborough’s parking bylaw, which prohibits residents from parking vehicles on their property for a fee will be in effect Monday. Those in violation of the parking ban will be subject to a $100 fine. Click here for more information.
As for parking along Route 1, parking lots will open for game day at 4:20 p.m. Gillette Stadium's gates open at 6:20 p.m. for admission to the game.
General Parking Rates for Gillette Stadium Lots
- $40 for cars
- $125 for RVs (enter P10 N from the North, Enter P11 from the South)
- $125 for Limos (enter P1 N from north or P7 S from the south)
- $200 for buses (Enter P10 N from the North, Enter P11 from the South)
- $40 for motorcycles (one per space)
All Gillette Stadium Lots are cash only.
Allow Plenty of Time for Traffic Around the Stadium
Drivers are advised to allow themselves plenty of time when traveling near the stadium on game day. Traffic restrictions will be in place on local roads before and after Sunday's game. Fans must use I-95, I-495 or Route 140 to access Gillette Stadium.
Click here to keep an eye on game day traffic with Patch’s live traffic feature.
2. The Dos and Don’ts at Gillette Stadium
No one wants to be "that fan" that doesn't know the stadium's security protocol. Be prepared on game day by reviewing the dos and don’ts at Gillette Stadium as well as other useful information about the facility:
- Ticket Policies
- Patron Screening
- Prohibited Items
- Acceptable Items
- Banner Policy
- Smoking Policy
- Medical Supplies or Dietary Considerations
- Fan Code of Conduct
- Security Assistance During an Event
- Lost & Found
- Letters of Disinvite
- Designated Driver Program
3. The Last Time the Patriots and 49ers Met …
The Patriots improved to 3-1 on the season with a 30-21 win on the road against San Francisco. Matt Cassel set career highs in passing yards and completions, while Randy Moss totaled 111 receiving yards, including a 66-yard touchdown grab.
Stephen Gostkowski was a perfect three-for-three on field goals, including a crucial 49-yarder that gave the Patriots a two-score advantage in the fourth quarter. The Patriots defense came up with three interceptions to help halt the San Francisco momentum, while Kevin Faulk set a career high with two rushing touchdowns.
The Niners got on the board first, taking a 7-0 lead on a 16-yard touchdown pass from J.T. O’Sullivan to Frank Gore. The Patriots answered just three plays later, with Cassel and Moss hooking up for a 66-yarder that tied the game at seven. San Francisco answered back just four plays after that with a 6-yard scoring pass from O’Sullivan to Isaac Bruce, capping off a sequence of three total touchdowns in less than four minutes of clock time with the 49ers claiming a 14-7 lead. The Patriots chipped back to 14-10 on a 35-yard field goal midway through the second quarter and after a three-and-out by the New England defense, the Patriots proceeded to drive 80 yards on 12 plays and take a 17-14 lead on Faulk’s 2-yard scoring run with six seconds left before the half. Faulk found the end zone again in the third quarter, giving New England a 24-14 lead with a 2-yard touchdown run on a direct snap on fourth down.
The Patriots began the fourth quarter with 40-yard field goal that extended the lead to 27-14, but San Francisco answered with an 80-yard drive that ended in the second scoring hookup of the game between O’Sullivan and Bruce, making the score 27-21. Gostkowski’s 49-yard field goal extended the lead to 30-21 with 4:42 left and the Patriots defense used a Deltha O’Neal interception and a fourth-down stop to shut the door on the Niners and preserve the win. 4. Patriots to Pay Tribute to Newtown Shooting Victims
In the wake of Friday's tragedy in Newtown, Conn. the New England Patriots, along with the rest of the country, will have the 26 victims of Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on their minds and in their hearts during Sunday's game at Gillette Stadium. In recognition of Friday's tragedy, the Patriots plan to honor the 20 children and six adults killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School by wearing black-ribbon logos on their helmets, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Prior to Sunday's game, the Patriots will light 26 white flares during a moment of silence in memory of the 26 lives lost Friday in Newtown, Conn., according to Schefter. All teams around the NFL Sunday will hold a moment of silence for the shooting victims.
5. What to Watch For in Sunday's Game at Gillette Stadium
With one touchdown pass against the 49ers, Tom Brady will extend his streak to 46 straight games with at least one touchdown pass and continue his third longest streak all time, behind Drew Brees (54) and Johnny Unitas (47).
Brady has 52 career 300-yard games in the regular season and needs one more to break a fifth place tie with Kurt
Warner. Brett Favre is in fourth with 62 300-yard games.
Brady tied Drew Brees with his ninth NFL game with four touchdowns, 300 yards and no interceptions against St.
Louis and needs one more such game to be alone in first place.
Brady has 36 games with three touchdowns and no interceptions and needs one more such game to break a second place tie with Brett Favre (36) and move into a first place tie with Peyton Manning (37).
Brady (3,833) needs 167 passing yards to reach 4,000 yards for the fifth time and join Dan Marino (6), Brett Favre (6), Drew Brees (7) and Peyton Manning (11) as the only players to have at least five seasons with 4,000 passing yards.
Brady has 29 touchdown passes and needs one more for his third straight 30 TD season. He will be the fourth quarterback in NFL history to have 30 or more touchdowns passes in at least four seasons and the third quarterback in NFL history with three or more straight seasons with 30 or more touchdowns.
Stephen Gostkowski (7-of-10) needs one more 50-yard field goal to tie Adam Vinatieri (8-of-17) for most 50-yard field goals in Patriots history.
Gostkowski has two 50-yarders so far in 2012 and can become the first Patriots player with three 50-yard field goals in a single season.
- With 10 tackles, Jerod Mayo will have his 10th 10-plus tackle game of the season. He had a career-best with 10 double digit tackle games in 2010.
- Rob Ninkovich has a team-leading five forced fumbles. If he has one more forced fumble he will break a tie with Mike Vrabel (five in 2007) for the most forced fumbles for a Patriots player within the last 20 years.
- Ninkovich has 6.5 sacks in 2012 and needs one more to set a career best. He had 6.5 sacks in 2011.
- Wes Welker (17) needs one more 10-plus catch game to break a tie with Jerry Rice (17) for the most 10-catch games in NFL history.
- Welker needs one reception to extend his streak to 91 straight regular-season games with at least one reception as a member of the Patriots to extend his franchise record.
- Welker has an overall streak of 107 straight regular-season games with at least one reception, including his time with the Miami Dolphins.
- Welker (95) needs 5 receptions to become the first player in NFL history with five 100-catch seasons.
- The Patriots are 21-0 in the second half of the season since 2010. In both 2010 and 2011, the Patriots were 8-0 in the second half of the season. Their last loss in the second half was in the 2009 season-finale at Houston, a 34-27 loss, on Jan. 3, 2010.
- The Patriots defense has forced a turnover in 24 straight games, dating back to 2011 and including the first 13 games of 2012. The last NFL team to have at least one takeaway in all 16 regular season games was the 2010 Atlanta Falcons.