New England Patriots

New England Patriots

MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 15: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on against the Miami Dolphins during the third quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

  • The Miami Dolphins have one of the best built-in home field advantages in the NFL by nature of playing in Southern Florida. Sweltering heat and oppressive humidity create what can be a jarring environment for visitors, especially teams that are used to more temperate conditions in their home cities.

    These conditions have been cited as a problem for the Patriots given their struggles in Miami over the last 10 years. Since 2013, the Patriots are 2-7 in Miami with four losses in their last five games at Hard Rock Stadium.

    Although the weather can be more of a factor when the game is later in the year and the team is coming from the freezing New England winters, the team doesn’t appear to be taking any chances this year. In fact, they’re making a major change to their preparation ahead of the game.

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  • According to multiple reports the Patriots will leave for Florida on Tuesday next week, practicing in nearby West Palm Beach. This will allow them to get acclimated to the conditions ahead of the game. The forecast for the area next week currently calls for temperatures in the low 90’s with scattered thunderstorms and 80 percent humidity, with the same conditions expected on gameday. The Patriots are expected to hold practices at Palm Beach Atlantic University , which is about an hour north of Hard Rock Stadium.

    PBAU’s sports teams, known as the Sailfish, compete at the D2 level. The school has an outdoor multi-field facility just south of the main campus, mainly used by the lacrosse and soccer teams. Local reporters have noted that student athletes at the school have been told some of their practices next week will be canceled.

    Patriots players are embracing the chance to prepare in the conditions they’ll play in during the season opener. “I think it’ll be huge. Just getting there early and feeling it. Going out there and running around, kind of getting adjusted,” safety Kyle Dugger told reporters on Thursday. “It doesn’t take long – the heat is what it is down there. So it’s not going to take long to get adjusted. But I think it’s going to be super beneficial.”

    “We’re going to get ready by going down there early – in Miami – and getting acclimated to the heat,” defensive tackle Davon Godchaux said when asked about the team’s preparation. “I like – I love training in the heat.” Godchaux spent the first four years of his career in Miami after being drafted by the Dolphins in 2017.

    A week away from Foxborough for practice isn’t a new concept for the Patriots overall. In the past when they’ve had two West Coast games in back-to-back weeks, they’ve stayed out west in between. In 2020, they spent the week between games against the Chargers and Rams working out at UCLA, and in 2017 spent the week at the Air Force Academy in Colorado between a game in Denver against the Broncos and then one in Mexico City the next week against the Raiders. That trip was in part to help players get acclimated to the change in altitude.

    Still, this continues what’s been a month of eventful practice schedules for the Patriots. Two weeks ago, they held joint practices with the Panthers in Foxborough, then headed to Las Vegas for a week of joint practices with the Raiders. They held three practices back at Gillette this week with cut-down day sandwiched in between, and now will be back on the road next week.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at

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