NFL Playoff Predictions: 5 Dome Teams That Could Struggle in the Cold

Zach KruseSenior Analyst IDecember 7, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 04:  Tight end Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints jogs off the field after defeating the Detroit Lions 31-17 at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

In the 2011 NFL playoffs, the following five dome teams could struggle outside in the cold temperatures of playoff football: 


New Orleans Saints

The Saints are 7-1 indoors this season, with their only loss coming in St. Louis to the Rams. Meanwhile, outdoors, they are just 2-2. Simply put, New Orleans is a much different team when not playing inside on a fast track.

Yes, the offense can still be good outside, even in the cold. However, this is a beatable team when you get them away from the race track that is the Superdome. 


Dallas Cowboys

Just like New Orleans, the Cowboys have had issues when playing away from the comforts of an indoor stadium. Outside, on grass, the Cowboys are just 2-3 this season. Looking at that in comparison to their 5-2 indoor record, you can see why the Cowboys might struggle outside in the cold of January.


Detroit Lions

Behind the Saints, I think the Lions might be the team most affected by a postseason game played outdoors in the cold.

The Detroit offense has used the shotgun more than any team in the NFL this season, and there's no doubt that this is a pass-first offense. The conditions of a cold game in January can have drastic effects on the passing game.


Atlanta Falcons

With a solid run game and the ability to stop the run, the Falcons should be better suited than most to play a cold postseason game. Still, the Falcons are 0-3 on grass this season and just 1-3 outdoors.

Indoors, on the other hand, they are a solid 6-2. That tells me that this Falcons team is a lot more comfortable playing in controllable weather and turf conditions.  


Green Bay Packers

The Packers aren't a dome team per se, but they have an offense that plays like one. Aaron Rodgers leads a Packers passing offense that hasn't been stopped this season. What could stop them? Possibly a January Green Bay blizzard.

The Packers have struggled to run the ball at times this season, too. The weather and how the Packers offense adjusts will be an interesting subplot of Green Bay's playoff run this postseason.