The Green Bay Packers host the Los Angeles Rams Saturday afternoon at Lambeau Field in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs. Potential road blocks in the way of the Packers path to the promised land are a team from California, a team from Florida, and a team that plays home games in a dome in Louisiana.
Much will be made of the weather this weekend. Saturday’s forecast calls for temperatures in the low-20s.
“It’s such an advantage,” Packers Hall of Famer Mark Chmura tells Wisconsin’s Afternoon News of the weather in Green Bay. “I remember playing the NFC Championship where we were playing without sleeves and we played without them on that day. Carolina decided to come out without sleeves as well, and that lasted about a quarter. And we knew the game was over.”
On a bitter cold day in 1997, the Packers beat the Panthers 30-13 to advance to the Super Bowl.
In two games played in sub-32 degree weather, Rams quarterback Jared Goff has zero touchdowns and five interceptions. In addition, Goff is roughly two weeks removed from thumb surgery on his throwing hand. Back-up John Wolford – who started in place of Goff in the wild card round against the Seahawks – will likely not be available after suffering a blow to the head in Saturday’s win at Seattle.
Rams all-pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald and starting wide receiver Cooper Kupp are also dealing with rib and knee injuries, respectively.
“The team that scares me is Tampa Bay,” Chmura continues.
Tom Brady is one of several Buccaneers skill position players who have experience playing and winning in below-freezing weather.
“They’re just a team that has a ton of talent, and they haven’t reached their peak yet…I am afraid of Tampa Bay more than I am New Orleans.”
The Saints host the Buccaneers Sunday night. New Orleans won the regular season match-ups 34-23 and 38-3.