The best weekend in football arrives in time for the worst weekend in weather. Some fans will drink on added layers and hover over parking-lot burn barrels. Other, smarter fans will wear a blanket on the couch.
The Baltimore Ravens travel to New England for a playoff game for the fourth time since 2009. Weather.com forecasts sunny skies with no chance of precipitation on Saturday in Foxboro. The region endured a snowstorm on Friday and rare school cancelations due to sub-zero temperatures on Thursday, so the conditions at the 4:35 p.m. kickoff—just minutes after sunset—could have been worse. The mercury tops at 21 and falls to a low of 12 on Saturday.
Saturday evening’s Panthers-Seahawks scrap sees football weather in the Northwest. It’s Seattle -11 on the betting sheet but Seattle +45 on the thermometer at kickoff. And if it’s Seattle, there’s a 100 percent chance that the forecast calls for at least a 20 percent chance of rain.
Forty-seven years after the Green Bay Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the Ice Bowl, the teams reconvene at Lambeau Field under somewhat more favorable conditions on Sunday at noon Central time. The temperature fluctuates between 4 and 22 on Sunday in Green Bay. It’s not Dallas and it’s not a dome. But it’s not -15 like it was in 1967, either.
In Denver, Peyton Manning, who has lost more than he has won when the temperature sinks below 40 degrees, faces a Fahrenheit of 39 at kickoff. Fortunately for the Broncos, the Colts play in a dome and on artificial turf, so the man who replaced Manning in Indianapolis might find the cold even more disconcerting.
As a reward for the sleeveless men sweating in sub-freezing temperatures, the NFL sends the winners of next weekend’s games to Glendale, Arizona, where the thermometer reads at posting time a perfect 72.