We can discuss betting trends, win-loss records and all the statistical merits of the eight teams remaining in the divisional round games but one of the fringe elements have to be aware of is the NFL playoff weather report. That’s right – the elements themselves! Here is the projected forecast for each of the four games this weekend, and they should give you that extra edge you’re looking for in at least three of the matchups.
New Orleans at Seattle (Saturday, 4:35pm EST)
Guess what? It’s going to be agonizingly wet and cold in the Pacific Northwest at 49 degrees with a 70% chance of rain. Even better? There’s a potential heavy rainfall warning! How shocking is this NFL playoff weather report?!
Ok, so I was getting a bit out of hand with the sarcasm there but the point is simple. Dome teams historically don’t play well in bad weather and New Orleans is already an awful road bet at just 1-6 ATS in their last 7 away games. If the weather is as awful as it’s expected to be, the game leans itself even further in Seattle’s favor. I’m not suggesting that anyone is used to – or even likes – playing in damp conditions, but Seattle has a better defense and a much stiffer running game. If you didn’t like Seattle as -8.0 point favorites prior to learning about the weather, you should probably lean a little more their way.
Of course, this game is becoming a little bit too obvious at the same time. I mean, everything is leaning towards Seattle in this game from the NFL playoff weather report to the home field advantage to the strengths and weaknesses of both squads. It’s hard to doubt Brees and Payton in the playoffs. They’re 6-3 SU in the post season, but routinely struggle against the NFC West. Two of those three loses were to the Seahawks and Niners.
Maybe the coast just isn’t the place for these Saints to go marching.
Indianapolis at New England (Saturday, 8:40pm EST)
Foxboro will enjoy near-freezing temperatures with little wind and a combination of rain, snow and potentially ice. Winds are clocking in at 16 mph. This sounds like a potential nightmare for Andrew Luck and his young team. Luck especially is pretty unfamiliar with these types of conditions since he was raised in Texas and went to Stanford.
The Patriots were born in the freezing cold. They were molded by it. They didn’t see the sun until they were Super Bowl Champions. If there was any reason to back the Patriots as a major long term futures bet it’s because of their ability to maintain their high standards regardless of the weather. The Super Bowl is, after all, in New York.
San Francisco 49ers at Charlotte (Sunday, 1:05pm EST)
Balmy Charlotte will be struck with partly cloudy, 56 degree weather with a 10 percent chance of rain and negligible winds of 9 mph. That’s kind of what you expect in North Carolina. Since this is an NFL playoff weather report – and there’s literally nothing to report here aside from the idea that maybe we should all move to the Carolinas – I’m just moving on. Both the Niners and Panthers will have zero excuses on Sunday. It’s full steam ahead for the toughest game to pick sides on in the divisional round.
San Diego at Denver (Sunday, 4:35pm EST)
It should be well above freezing in this game, meaning that the cold of the Rocky Mountains won’t be biting down on this matchup. Denver is expecting temperatures of 46 degrees, but the real kicker here is the 17 mph winds that will be howling in Sports Authority Field. People love to beat the dead horse that is “Peyton Manning in cold weather”, which isn’t actually the problem. He can’t throw in the wind that well because his knuckleball gets twisted up too much.
Before you get your panties in a bunch, let me back track and state it like this: Peyton can play in the wind the same way I can drive with four flat tires. I may end up at my destination, and Peyton may win the game, but the chances aren’t likely and it’s going to be ugly along the way.
Manning is just 3-5 SU when playing against winds of 20+ mph, and has thrown 5 touchdowns against 9 picks in those games. When the winds are 20+ mph and the temperature is over 40 degrees (which is more likely the case this weekend), Manning has an astounding 77-30 SU record.
The temperatures in Denver won’t suddenly change to the point that it makes either team a better or worse play in the divisional round. But it’s worth checking to see what the winds are clocking in at on Sunday morning, because if there’s a heavy gust in the air, Manning could be in serious trouble. This is perhaps the only game where you have to check the NFL playoff weather report the day of; most of the other games will have the exact conditions you expect.