The following 17 teams should have a minimum of 13 weather-friendly games this season based on the current NFL schedule and historical likelihood of snow, sleet, ice or strong winds wreaking havoc in certain markets from Weeks 12-17.
Obviously, it's impossible to predict which September-December games will be subjected to torrential rains, but it's also reasonable to conclude that cities like Buffalo, Chicago, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Philadelphia, among others, will be susceptible to poor playing conditions anytime after the Nov. 18 round of games.
From a numbers standpoint, this is simply one more tool to help predict fantasy goodness (especially with quarterbacks) and settle potential draft-day quandaries among running backs and receivers—all other factors being equal.
To clarify, no one is suggesting Dolphins QBs Matt Moore or Ryan Tannehill are better fantasy prospects than Tom Brady, based solely on more favorable weather conditions. That would be insane, pure fiction. But it is an inescapable truth to ponder when setting lineups or making free-agent moves in December (when the Miami QBs aren't matched up against Brady).
The only cold-weather hiccup is the prime-time road clash with the Patriots on Dec. 10. If memory serves, the temps for last November's Kansas City-New England game on Monday Night Football approached record lows.
Quarterback Andrew Luck will have plenty of factors working against him as a rookie this season, minus the comforting gifts of Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen at tight end. But bitter-cold temperatures and stifling crosswinds likely won't be an issue for 15 Sundays.
This bodes well for RB Chris Johnson and whichever quarterback is running the Titans' show (Matt Hasselbeck/Jake Locker) in November and December. Fingers crossed on Kenny Britt staying healthy all season.
As Blaine Gabbert's stats from a brutal 2011 may attest (2,214 yards passing, 12 TDs, 11 interceptions), the specter of ideal playing conditions does not automatically translate to shiny fantasy numbers.
Matthew Stafford proved last year that December games in Green Bay (520 yards passing, five TDs) are not always a hindrance to beaucoup fantasy stats.
It's scary to think how vastly improved the Bucs can be with 15 ideal-weather games—along with Vincent Jackson at receiver and high-profile rookie Doug Martin (a Ray Rice clone?) sharing the rushing duties with LeGarrette Blount.
It's more imperative for the Raiders to remain healthy all season (ahem, Darren McFadden) than who/when/where they play in November and December. But since we're keeping track, Oakland only has two potential hazard games on the docket—Week 12 at Cincinnati and Week 16 at Carolina.
So, the Chargers volunteered to fly cross-country during Christmas week for a second straight year, huh? The weather slate looks manageable for Philip Rivers and Co., minus two December roadies against the Steelers and Jets.
Christian Ponder, Toby Gerhart, Jerome Simpson and Percy Harvin must rise up to help Adrian Peterson (recovering from ACL surgery) in his time of need.
Fantasy gurus, take note. Cam Newton and WR Steve Smith should have ideal playing conditions for Weeks 14-17 (vs. Atlanta, at San Diego, vs. Oakland, at New Orleans). Jackpot!
The Cowboys' passing game should function well with this closing schedule, although late-season roadies to Cincinnati and Washington, D.C. may lead to some windy adventures.
Let's remember our golden rule in all Points Per Reception leagues: NEVER bench Larry Fitzgerald! Even when the Cardinals visit the Jets (Week 13) and Seahawks (Week 14) in December.
It'll be interesting to see if the Rams are a pass-first or run-oriented attack come December. The good weather should promote more passing opportunities for QB Sam Bradford.
The 49ers' weather slate is idyllic—until their back-to-back roadies with New England and Seattle in late December. Ouch.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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