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COLTS NOTEBOOK

Team cool to weather factor

INDIANAPOLIS -- As much as the Colts say that the weather for Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game against the Patriots doesn't matter, the subject of field and game conditions keeps coming up.

And with rain falling again yesterday outside the Colts' cozy indoor practice facility, the potential conditions at Gillette Stadium were a hot topic.

"All outdoor stadiums should be FieldTurf," said wide receiver Brandon Stokley during the team's lunch break. "It should be universal."

Then there was the subject of whether the Colts could handle the temperatures forecasted for Sunday's game (high 20s to low 30s). "When you look at the way we've played up there, the bottom line is turnovers," said center Jeff Saturday. "We played [there] in the first game of the season this year and it was the same as the [AFC] Championship game last year. If we turn the ball over, they're too good of a team to beat. So we need to go up there and control the ball, play within ourselves, execute our offense, and force them to make plays as well."

Not surprisingly, coach Tony Dungy also dismissed playing conditions as a factor.

"Jacksonville went up to Green Bay and that was supposed to be, `You can't win with a Florida team in below-zero weather,' " said Dungy. "And they went up there and won the game. New England came in here and beat us last year. If you play better than the other team, you'll beat them, wherever the game is played, whatever the weather is. You have to play better. That's going to be the challenge. We really don't subscribe to that indoor-outdoor theory. We have a better road record than we have a home record since I've been here, so you just have to go play well."

"I know it's going to be cold," said wide receiver Reggie Wayne. "If you expect the worst, it doesn't surprise you when the weather is bad. You don't see much sunshine in Boston this time of year."

Of the six coldest games Indianapolis has played the past five seasons, the Colts have lost four, including last year's AFC title game in Foxborough, which was played in 30-degree weather and snow flurries.

Road to Rhode Island
The Colts will wrap up their game preparation today and fly to New England tomorrow. But unlike last year when they stayed in Quincy, the Colts will stay in Providence. Maybe the Colts talked to the St. Louis Cardinals, who stayed in Quincy during the World Series . . . Part of the Colts' offensive success this season can be credited to offensive coordinator Tom Moore and offensive line coach Howard Mudd. Moore is 66 and in his 28th season in the NFL, while Mudd is 62 and in his 31st season in the league. Both are in their seventh season with the Colts . . . The Colts added a fifth player to the AFC Pro Bowl roster in left tackle Tarik Glenn, who was elevated from alternate as a replacement for Cincinnati tackle Willie Anderson, who underwent knee surgery. It's the most Pro Bowlers for the Colts since 1987, when six were chosen . . . Other than defensive end Robert Mathis, who is doubtful because of a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, the Colts are getting healthier by the day. Linebackers Cato June (ankle, knee) and David Thornton (groin), running back James Mungro (turf toe), and defensive tackle Josh Williams (shoulder) are all expected to play.

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