NFL Playoffs 2012: Ranking the Toughest Places to Play This Sunday

Ted Lee@@RealLedTeeCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2012

NFL Playoffs 2012: Ranking the Toughest Places to Play This Sunday

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    The divisional round of the NFL playoffs is this weekend, and eight teams will be playing in four games to determine who moves on to the conference championships.

    The matchups are :

    Denver vs. New England

    Houston vs. Baltimore

    New York vs. Green Bay

    New Orleans vs. San Francisco

    The places will be judged on crowd level and weather. Grading for crowd level will be determined from past history with a low, moderate or high grade, while weather will be determined by this Saturday/Sunday's forecast from with a good or bad grade.

    These will average into a one to five rating, one being easy to play in and five being the toughest to play in.

    'Cause we all know crowd noise and weather make a game that much better.

4. Gillette Stadium, Foxboro

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    Not to be mean, but this was all I can find of the Gillette Stadium crowd. 


    Crowd Level: Low

    There is a reason why Tom Brady is always trying to tell Patriots fans to be loud. Gillette always seems to be quiet, even in the playoffs. Hopefully it will change this Saturday against the Broncos—but they may be asking too much.


    Weather: Good (Partly cloudy with a high of 32 and low of 8)

    I know what you're thinking—that weather isn't good at all. The reason why I put good is because the Broncos are used to the cold weather; it won't be a factor for them at all. Maybe if it were windy, I would rate it as bad because it would be a problem for Tim Tebow, but the current forecast is sunny.


    Overall toughness: Two (Not that tough)

    With a crowd known to be quiet, Tebow won't be rattled at all and the rest of the Broncos will have no trouble getting used to the cold weather. The only thing that makes this difficult for the Broncos is that it's away. This will be the easiest place to play this Saturday.

3. Candlestick Park, San Francisco

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    Crowd Level: High

    Fans have been waiting nine years for this, and they will be ready to support their 49ers, plain and simple. I expect the crowd to be rowdy and loud.


    Weather: Good (Sunny with a high of 66 and low of 43)

    This is pretty good weather compared to the other places, mostly because it's out West. I do not think the Saints will complain about the weather or be affected by it.


    Overall toughness: Four (Pretty tough)

    I say it's pretty tough because the Saints are far from New Orleans. They had to travel all the way to San Francisco to face a team that hasn't been to the playoffs in a while, to face a crowd that's more anxious than any other team's.

2. M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore

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    Crowd Level: High 

    Baltimore fans showed the Texans how loud they were during the regular season, and you can expect them to be even louder this Sunday. Ravens fans like to go crazy on the first drive then save their noise for third downs, making this Sunday difficult for the Texans.


    Weather: Bad (Mostly sunny with a high of 38 and a low of 29)

    I say it's bad because back in Houston the weather is about 30 degrees higher right now. The Texans must adjust to the cold and it may take a while for players to warm up.


    Overall Toughness: Five (Very hard)

    I was debating between a four and five, but decided on the latter. Houston is in its second playoff game ever, so the nerves are still there. With the crowd and weather, you don't know how they're going to start off the game.

    Also Baltimore has yet to lose at home this season, making M&T Bank Stadium the second-most-difficult place to play this Sunday.

1. Lambeau Field, Green Bay

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    Would you have it any other way?


    Crowd Level: High

    Green Bay fans stick to tradition, and this Sunday the crowd will be their regular rambunctious selves and try to get into Eli Manning's head.


    Weather: Bad (Partly cloudy with a high of 30 and low of 27)

    I know what you're thinking: This weather isn't that bad; Eli and the Giants should be used to it playing in New York right?

    You are right, but I put it as bad because snow is expected to fall on Saturday, possibly making weather a factor on Sunday.


    Overall Toughness: Five (Very hard)

    Playing at Lambeau is no small task in the regular season; there is a reason why Green Bay is undefeated at home this year. In the playoffs, it's nearly impossible not to be intimidated if it's your first time (Yeah, I'm talking to you, Victor Cruz.)

    Because of all these factors, it's no argument to rank Lambeau Field as the toughest place to play this Sunday.