Weather at the NFL’s three outdoor playoff games this weekend will range from cold to so bitterly cold that frostbite will be a concern for the players who dare to wear short sleeves. Here we’ll round up the forecasts for Saturday and Sunday’s NFL action. (The wild card playoffs kick off in a dome in Indianapolis before moving outdoor for this weekend’s remaining three games.)
Philadelphia: The Eagles host the Saints with an 8:10 p.m. Eastern kickoff on Saturday, and it will be cold: The forecast calls for an overnight low of 21 degrees, with a 20 percent chance of precipitation, and wind at 5-10 mph. Those conditions should favor the Eagles, who went 4-4 at home this season, winning their final four at Lincoln Financial Field, and already proved that they can play well in bad weather when they beat the Lions at home last month, in one of the snowiest games in NFL history. The Saints have been a bad road team all season (they went 8-0 at home but just 3-5 on the road), and Drew Brees and Co. will have a tough task on their hands dealing with the elements.
Cincinnati: The Bengals host the Chargers with a 1:05 p.m. Eastern kickoff on Sunday, and although it won’t rival the Freezer Bowl when these two teams met in the playoffs 32 years ago, it will be cold: The forecast for Sunday in Cincinnati calls for a daytime high of 34 degrees and an 80 percent chance of snow. (The game will end before it turns bitterly cold and dips below zero on Sunday night in Cincinnati.) With a Southern California team coming to town, the bad weather is good news for the Bengals, who were 8-0 at home in the regular season. The Chargers, who were 4-4 on the road, may be in for an unpleasant Sunday.
Green Bay: There’s cold, and then there’s really, really cold: The Packers host the 49ers with a 3:40 p.m. Central kickoff on Sunday, and it’s going to be brutally cold. The National Weather Service has issued an advisory that warns of “An Arctic outbreak” with “near record temperatures and dangerously cold wind chills.” Temperatures at Lambeau Field could rival those of the famous 1967 Ice Bowl, when game time temperatures of 15 degrees below zero made for the coldest game in NFL history. The forecast calls for a high of 5 degrees below zero and an overnight low of 20 degrees below. The Packers, who went 4-3-1 at home this season, are more accustomed to cold temperatures than the 49ers, who went 6-2 on the road this season. But neither team is accustomed to cold like this.
When it’s so cold that even Packers fans would rather stay home than attend the game at Lambeau Field, you know you’re in for a cold weekend of football. Preferably spent at home on the couch, under an electric blanket.