FOXBOROUGH -- We're getting closer to game time here at Gillette Stadium.
Rob Gronkowski was the first Patriot on the field for pregame warmups. He was followed by several Chiefs players, whose red sweats and white-and-red winter hats make them look jolly. It's a crisp, clear night in Foxborough, which is a nice thing to say when you're in a heated press box. Bring some mittens.
To recap a couple of bits of news from earlier tonight: Cornerback Devin McCourty will be out vs. the Chiefs. In addition, Ross Ventrone has been added to the 53-man roster for tonight's game. The Patriots released OL Donald Thomas.
The Patriots can put some distance between themselves and the rest of the AFC East if they beat the Chiefs. With a win they'd be two games up on the Jets (essentially three games since they hold the tiebreaker) and two up on the Bills, who they get to face again. It's premature to write off the Jets as a playoff team, but the division will go through New England if the Patriots can get to 7-3.
That fact in itself probably makes this an intriguing game, as does the fact that you can play the "this guy, that guy" game with Jon Gruden in the booth.
As promised, tonight's miscellany:
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m.
Season records: Patriots 6-3; Chiefs 4-5
TV/Radio info: WCVB-TV Ch. 5 (Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, Jon Gruden); 98.5 FM The Sports Hub (Gil Santos, Gino Cappelletti, Scott Zolak) and nationally on Westwood One Radio Sports (Kevin Harlan and Boomer Esiason).
Projected starting lineups:
Patriots offense: WR Wes Welker, LT Matt Light, LG Logan Mankins, C Dan Connolly, RG Brian Waters, RT Sebastian Vollmer, TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Deion Branch, QB Tom Brady, RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, TE Aaron Hernandez.
Chiefs offense: WR Steve Breaston, LT Branden Albert, LG Ryan Lilja, C Casey Wiegmann, RG Jon Asamoah, RT Barry Richardson, TE Leonard Pope, WR Dwayne Bowe, QB Tyler Palko, FB Le'Ron McClain, RB Jackie Battle
Patriots defense: LE Shaun Ellis, DT Vince Wilfork, DT Kyle Love, RE Andre Carter, OLB Rob Ninkovich, ILB Jerod Mayo, OLB Gary Guyton, CB Antwaun Molden, CB Kyle Arrington, S James Ihedigbo, S Sterling Moore.
Chiefs defense: DE Wallace Gillberry, NT Kelly Gregg, DE Tyson Jackson, LB Tamba Hall, LB Derrick Johnson, LB Jovan Belcher, LB Justin Houston, CB Brandon Carr, CB Brandon Flowers, S Kendrick Lewis, S Donald Washington.
Patriots inactives: QB Ryan Mallett, S Patrick Chung, CB Devin McCourty, RB Kevin Faulk, LB Dane Fletcher, LB Jeff Tarpinian, and LB Brandon Spikes.
Chiefs inactives: WR Keary Colbert, TE Anthony Becht, T Steve Maneri, DE Brandon Bair, DE Glenn Dorsey, LB Demorrio Williams, and S Jon McGraw.
Here's a list of Globe reporters to follow on Twitter during tonight's game:
The one-stop shopping page for these tweets is here. We also encourage you to check out Boston.com's Patriots Pulse section before, during, and after the game, and to tag your tweets #pulsepatriots to get them to show in this growing feature. Enjoy the game.