The Patriots practiced on the game field at Gillette Stadium for the second straight day. They went through a light walk-through on Wednesday inside the practice bubble. Sunday’s forecast calls for cold and windy conditions.
“We’re not trying to forecast it,” Belichick said. “We’re practicing in whatever comes. I’m sure sooner or later, we’ll get something.”
In their last home game, the Patriots forced the 49ers to fumble six times. Because of the expected cold, the defense will attack the ball.
“You’ve got to have a heightened awareness when you get in these games, because no matter how mentally strong guys are, it does change things,” Devin McCourty said. “Your hands get cold. Defensively, we definitely have more of an awareness to try and attack the ball.”
Jermaine Cunningham should be ready to play on Sunday for the first time since Nov. 22. Cunningham, suspended for four games because he violated the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, participated in all three practices this week. “There’s no way to simulate that,” Belichick said of Cunningham’s reps in practice. “You just can’t replicate it, especially when you’re by yourself. I’m sure it will take a little bit of time.” . . . Chandler Jones will play Miami for the first time this season. The rookie missed the 23-16 win over the Dolphins Dec. 2. “The offense is very versatile,” Jones said of the Dolphins. “Everyone does their job. They have a running back in Reggie who can hurt you in the passing and the running game. We’ve got to contain players like that and contain a quarterback like [Ryan] Tannehill.”