By now, even the most casual of football fans knows that the first-ever cold weather Super Bowl has the chance to really alter the outcome of the action.
The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks both play in cities that are accustomed to colder weather, but the conditions expected for kickoff in East Rutherford, N.J. on Feb. 2 aren't considered very favorable. Reports have changed over the past two weeks, but now just a day before the action, we can really get a good idea of what game conditions will be like.
Accuweather.com has provided constant updates for Super Bowl Sunday, and all weather conditions outlined in this piece have been taken from that site.
Before getting into the weather, here's some other information to make sure you don't miss any of the action on Sunday.
When: Sunday, Feb. 2, at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
Betting Lines (via Bovada)
- Over/Under: 47
- Spread: Denver (-3)
Accuweather predicts that there will be a high of 51 degrees and a low of 27 degrees on Sunday. The players will not get to enjoy the 51-degree weather during the game, but that is a very comfortable temperature for pre-game stretches and warmups.
Showers are expected in the late afternoon. There is a 51 percent chance of rain at 5:00 p.m. and a 47 percent chance of rain at 6:00 p.m. That percentage drops all the way down to four percent from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.
Assuming it isn't rainy, the conditions don't figure to be terrible. The temperature should never get below freezing, though the 40-degree mark Accuweather is calling for 9:00 p.m. isn't exactly comfortable.
Throw in wind chill, and the actual feel at that time will be somewhere around 35 degrees.
Sure, it should be a little cold, but these conditions are far better from the blizzard the Farmer's Almanac was calling for several months ago.
Who Benefits From the Cold?
The Seahawks defense will benefit greatly from the cold. Peyton Manning isn't great in the cold, and despite a record-setting season, he may not have the consistency in the cold weather to put up great numbers.
Throw in the fact that his likely cold hand and throwing shoulder will be trying to pick apart the best secondary in the NFL, and you've got yourself a recipe for disaster. Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor will be looking to make plays all game long—just as they've done throughout the entire season.
John Clayton of ESPN.com told Accuweather why Manning won't be as strong in the colder weather:
The big problem is that he is not as strong now throwing the football, as he was at a younger age. Look at all four playoff games that have been below 40 degrees, the interception numbers go up, the completion percentage goes down, and that will definitely be a problem.
Manning has the best weapons of his career (and that's saying something after throwing to Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark for much of his time in the NFL), but even that fact might not be enough to keep Manning's contributions on par with his per-game averages this season.
Why Seattle is Best Equipped for the Cold on Offense
If the conditions are as cold and wet as what seems possible, then Marshawn Lynch is the most important player in this game—by far.
Lynch torched the San Francisco 49ers defense for 109 yards and a touchdown in the NFC Championship Game, and he'll need to pick up similar yardage in the Super Bowl. The Broncos allowed nearly 25 rush yards per game less than the second-place team this season, but the fact that the Niners ranked fourth in the NFL in that category leads me to believe that Lynch can still have a strong game.
Russell Wilson usually doesn't torch the defense for big yardage in the air. If it's cold and rainy, then he certainly won't be doing it in the Super Bowl.
Seattle's reliance on Lynch will likely increase as a result, and his ability to churn out yardage is key.
Knowshon Moreno of the Denver Broncos is also a good running back, but the Broncos offense isn't prepared to lean on him for the entirety of a game. The Seahawks have leaned on Lynch all season long.
They'll be ready for whatever the weather throws at them.