Week 14 is huge for most teams in the NFL since playoff spots are very much up for grabs in both conferences. Now, not only will those teams be tasked with taking on their opponents, but they will also have to deal with inclement weather in many cases.
Cold temperatures and precipitation are taking the northeast and central parts of the United States by storm, and that figures to factor into these pivotal games quite heavily, especially for teams that may not be used to such frigid conditions.
Here is a closer look at the most extreme weather to keep an eye on during Week 14 of the NFL season.
*All weather forecasts courtesy of wunderground.com.
Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles (1 p.m. ET)
Forecast: 31 degrees with chance of snow
Like the Vikings and Colts, the Lions have the unenviable task of leaving their temperature-controlled home for enemy territory. There is a chance of snow in Philadelphia, and that could affect this game significantly since Detroit relies upon the elite passing combo of Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson.
Rob Maaddi shows conditions during the game:
Reuben Frank of CSN Philly has more on how the Eagles are trying to clear the field during stoppages of play:
During timeouts, stadium workers are shoveling the yard lines every 5 yards. pic.twitter.com/LpIlGzbdxt— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) December 8, 2013
The wintry weather hasn't slowed down Calvin Johnson, who continues to produce despite the conditions. However, keeping the snow out of his face may be an issue (via Bleacher Report):
Megatron catches a big pass, comes up with a face full of snow. pic.twitter.com/5cM3806nS4— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 8, 2013
BuzzFeed Sports passed along another image of the snow piling up on the field during play:
Update in Philly: SNOW. pic.twitter.com/XSQpgiOZrb— BuzzFeed Sports (@BuzzFeedSports) December 8, 2013
As for those covering the game, it's a bit more difficult to avoid being buried in snow (via Matt Young on Twitter):
That shot of the FOX cameraman in Philly is amazing. pic.twitter.com/TTQCkUtl0p— Matt Young (@mjoven1975) December 8, 2013
It became increasingly more difficult to call the game for the officials as the snow piled up on the field (via Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post):
Ed Hochuli: “We’re going to let the staff clear the goal line. YOU CAN’T SEE THE GOAL LINE!"— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) December 8, 2013
Despite the wild conditions, the Eagles offense exploded in the second half behind LeSean McCoy as Philadelphia won 34-20.
Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens (1 p.m. ET)
Forecast: 29 degrees with ice pellets
Poor weather certainly won't adversely impact a team like the Ravens since they're used to it and tend to play a defensive game anyway, but the same can't be said for the Vikings. They play their home games in a dome, so they aren't accustomed to chilly weather.
At one point in the contest, a snow plow was needed to clear the field for the players:
What ensued was a wild game in which the Vikings and Ravens traded scores in a contest marred by Adrian Peterson's exit with an undisclosed injury. However, Peterson told Josina Anderson of ESPN that he was fine.
Got a text from Adrian Peterson 7 minutes ago saying, "I'm good."— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) December 8, 2013
Baltimore was able to get a vital win to bolster its playoff hopes, securing a 29-26 victory. After the game, Peterson took to his Twitter account to call out Ravens fans, who he says were throwing snowballs at the Vikings' sideline:
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals (1 p.m. ET)
Forecast: 29 degrees with snow
In yet another case of a dome team having to deal with frigid conditions, the Bengals have a huge advantage over the Colts. Indianapolis is a pass-first team because of star quarterback Andrew Luck. Running back Donald Brown has come on as of late, but nobody would call the Colts a great running team.
Cincinnati, on the other hand, likes running the ball with Gio Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and it also boasts one of the league's best defenses.
The Bengals took control of the game early and used their running tandem to power to a 42-28 victory.
Wow talking about bad officiating & the worst fan base I've ever experience! They threw snow balls the entire 4q like lil kids. Smh— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) December 8, 2013
Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers (1 p.m. ET)
Forecast: 25 degrees with snow
From the Steelers:
Snow is falling as we get close to Game time. pic.twitter.com/PPDAJaUWYy— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 8, 2013
The Dolphins are one of the few outdoor teams that regularly experience optimal weather at this point in the season, but that wouldn't be the case in Week 14, as they competed in typical Pittsburgh weather.
The weather claimed Marcus Thigpen, who slipped trying to field a punt:
However, the conditions didn't stop Miami's playoff push, as the Dolphins secured a 34-28 victory.
Kansas City Chiefs at Washington Redskins (1 p.m. ET)
Forecast: 29 degrees with ice pellets
From the Redskins:
Perhaps no road team will be aided more by the forecast on Sunday than the Chiefs. Kansas City is a throwback, old-school team that relies on elite defense and great play from running back Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs don't take many chances on offense, and the cold weather didn't impact Andy Reid's squad, as Kansas City cruised to a 45-10 victory.
Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers (1 p.m. ET)
Which team will be most adversely affected by poor weather in Week 14?
Forecast: 16 degrees with snow
The Packers have been a dominant team at Lambeau Field in recent years, and the frostbite-inducing weather that often manifests late in the year is a big reason for that. Considering the fact that Green Bay has been a passing team led by Aaron Rodgers, their success at Lambeau may be surprising to some, but Rodgers won't be in action on Sunday, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.
Without Rodgers, Green Bay was still able to scrap to a 22-21 win against the hapless Falcons, who are now 3-10 on the season.
Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos (4:05 p.m. ET)
Forecast: 14 degrees
If there is one question about the Broncos, it relates to their ability to win in cold weather. That is certainly an issue considering how crazy the conditions can get in Denver. Quarterback Peyton Manning is obviously better in ideal weather just like any other passer, but he has also been great on home field over the past two seasons.
With that said, the Titans will likely enjoy the 14-degree temperature since they're a power-run team due to a strong offensive line and running back Chris Johnson. The weather may prevent the Broncos from pouring it on like they often do, but it shouldn't slow down Denver's offense significantly.
The weather proved to be no match for Manning, who threw for 397 yards and four touchdowns as the Broncos blasted the Titans 51-28.
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