Will an Arctic chill play into the weather-worn hands of the Green Bay Packers?
The forecast calls for bitter cold Sunday afternoon when the Packers play host to San Francisco in the first round of the NFL playoffs, but that doesn't necessarily mean Green Bay will have an advantage on the famed Frozen Tundra.
According to Packers.com, Green Bay is 3-4 in games played at Lambeau Field when the temperature at kickoff is 6 degrees or lower. Sunday's forecast is staggeringly cold — a high of minus-3 and a low of minus-19.
On Dec. 31, 1967, Green Bay beat Dallas in the coldest NFL game on record, the "Ice Bowl," when the temperature dipped to minus-13 and the windchill reached minus-48. The Packers also beat the Los Angeles Raiders in 1993 when the mercury showed zero degrees and Carolina in the 1996 NFC championship game at 3 degrees.
The Packers lost at home to the New York Giants in the 2007 NFC championship game (minus-1 degree), to Detroit in 1990 (2 degrees), to Houston in 2008 (3), and Chicago in 1976 (6).
The second-coldest game on record, according to NFL.com, was the 1981 AFC championship game when San Diego played at Cincinnati (one of this weekend's four matchups). The temperature showed minus-9 at kickoff, but the windchill dipped to minus-59.
Each year since 1990, when the NFL began its 12-team postseason format, at least four teams have made the playoffs after missing them the year before. This season five teams have done so — Carolina, San Diego, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Kansas City.
The Bengals were 4-0 at home this season against four Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks — Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, New England's Tom Brady and Baltimore's Joe Flacco. Those players combined for three touchdown passes, seven intercepted passes, and a passer rating of 56.7.
Cincinnati scored six defensive touchdowns at home. No wonder the Bengals were undefeated at Paul Brown Stadium, winning games by an average score of 34-17.
San Diego's three most impressive wins this season came on the road — at Philadelphia, Kansas City and Denver.
Had Philadelphia's Nick Foles not been snubbed for the Pro Bowl, that game would feature three graduates of Westlake High in Austin, Texas — New Orleans' Drew Brees, and Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker are the others — all of whom wear No. 9.
The late Steve Sabol of NFL Films used to say Indianapolis' defense was like the floor of the Sistine Chapel — no one knew whether it was beautiful, because nobody looked at it. Peyton Manning's offense was always the star of the show.