It is going to be really cold when the San Francisco 49ers play the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Jan. 5, at Lambeau Field. According to the Weather Channel, the high temperature will be minus-3 degrees, with a low of minus-19 that night.
However, the advantage isn't as black and white as it might seem. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers weighed in on his own trepidations regarding Sunday's weather, per Weston Hodkiewicz and Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette:
Winter is coming. It’s here. It’s here in Green Bay. It’s definitely going to have an effect on the game. You know, not everybody in this locker room is from the great state of Wisconsin. We do practice in it, live in it, I think we’re going to be better adapting to it initially, but once the game starts, it’s about who can execute in the cold weather. It does some different things to the football.
Without a doubt, both teams are not looking forward to playing in some of the coldest weather in NFL history. Likewise, the 49ers need to plan for this contest with caution. San Francisco's coldest contest was against Washington, where the game-time temperature was 32 degrees. This game will not be easy.
The keys to the contest remain the same. The 49ers need to keep their offense warm and on the field. Luckily, San Francisco has one of the best rushing attacks in the league, led by Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Colin Kaepernick. Averaging 137.6 rushing yards per game, San Francisco has the ability to control games with its running attack.
By eating up the clock, the 49ers will also be able to keep Rodgers off the field. The Packers quarterback is far more accustomed to the cold weather than Kaepernick, San Francisco's second-year starter who played his college ball at Nevada, but has not played in too many cold-weather games.
Regardless of the weather, the 49ers have to keep Rodgers off the field. However, keeping him sitting in the cold will make it more difficult for him to become acclimated to the freezing temperatures.
The cold weather might actually be a boon for future postseason contests for San Francisco. With a possible matchup with Seattle in later rounds in the NFC playoffs, this game would allow the 49ers to become more accustomed to colder temperatures and difficult conditions.
Everything considered, the weather will play a role in Sunday's contest. The question is whether San Francisco can survive it and advance.