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Can Denver snow slow red hot Rams?

by Will Strome, Columnist | 10-12-2018 20:00

 

Nothing has been able to simmer down a piping hot Los Angeles Rams offense this season but a cold front in the Rocky Mountains could be just the thing that can cool down the league's most sizzling offense.

As Hurricane Michael heads towards the East Coast, the midwest is in full-fall mode but apparently Denver is skipping straight to winter. Only six weeks into the 2018 campaign and snow is already in the NFL forecast when the Denver Broncos host the undefeated Rams on Sunday at 4:05 EST.

According to NFLWeather.com, a 90% chance of precipitation is expected and with the temperature come kickoff lingering in the mid-to-high 20's, the first snow of the season is very much a possibility. As of Thursday, about 2-4 inches is anticipated at Broncos Stadium at Mile High Wind shouldn't be much of a factor, maxing out around 8-10 mph, but a slick grass surface is very likely even if the snow doesn't stick after the pregame tarp is removed.

Los Angeles (5-0) hasn't played in a snow game in years but the Rams are definitely a team built to play in poor weather which is surprising for a side that plays in sunny LA. The Rams foundation is built around, arguably, the best defensive front seven in the league, making rushing the football against LA extremely difficult and forcing the opposition to use additional blockers for pass protection against the Rams' merciless pass rush.

But, the offense is equally as ideal a group to compete in crummy conditions. Even though the Rams have been recently getting plenty of praise for their passing game, it'll be the solid rushing attack that works so well in the snow. While the team averages over 131 rushing yards per game (7th in NFL), top dog Todd Gurley handles the bulk of that work. Gurley averages over 20 touches a game but the more the snow falls, the more Gurley will get handed the rock. However, the worse the weather gets, the more likely Gurley will be involved in the passing game as well.

Leading that aerial assault is quarterback Jared Goff, heading into his first career NFL snow game, who seems to improve every week. Goff already mentioned how it's the wind, not the snow, that bothers him the most during a game but even if he has no issue with his release, he'll desperately need to avoid losing control turning the ball over which has been the lone criticism of his performances this season.

If the forecast features flurries and the passing game is available, there's a chance Goff still might struggle if he'll be without his top targets. Receivers Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp were non-participants in practice midweek after a concussion last week, leaving Robert Woods and Josh Reynolds as the potential primary receiving threats. Reynolds could be a sneaky daily fantasy play, listed at only $3,900.

Todd Gurley Todd Gurley. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

While the Rams offense has flourished and thrived this season, the Denver Broncos (2-3) desperately need the natural elements to help slow down the visitors attack so the hosts can control possession on offense as much as possible. The best chance Denver has of downing an unbeaten LA team is keeping Goff and Gurley off the field, plain and simple.

However, the Broncos do have success in the snow at home in big games. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, Denver's last snowy Mile High win was a 30-24 overtime thriller over New England in 2015. By the way, that dealt the Patriots their first loss of the season. Sounds like a familiar opportunity is in front of Denver this week.

What the Broncos will have to do well in the snow if they want to pull off this massive upset is do the one thing they've been able to do well this season, run the football. The team is third in the league in rushing, averaging 137 mpg, with Phillip Lindsay featuring as the lead back who's seen double digits carries in four of five games this season.

Despite the team's rushing success, the Broncos ground game unfortunately hasn't quite opened up the passing attack. That being said, Denver can't rely on Case Keenum to win this one for them, battling both the Rams staunch defense and a frigid Mother Nature. If Keenum's ineffective, sadly for fantasy owners expect star wideouts Emmanuel Sanders and Demeryius Thomas to have frustrating afternoons.

Both the Rams and Broncos boast two of the NFL's most dynamic rushing attacks and both will be on full display, especially as the snow falls more and more. If this game was in Los Angeles, nobody would give Denver a chance but the Rams have only played one game this season outside of the state of California. With snow in the forecast, the Rams players will very much be out of their comfort zones.


Dolphins at Bengals Preview

by The NFLW Team | 10-04-2018 18:00

 

The folks over at Cincy Jungle have a great preview of the upcoming game between Dolphins and Bengals. Can the Bengals continue their winning ways against another divisional leader?

Read the article


 

Whether it’s been against a good defense, in a difficult away atmosphere, or down two scores late in the fourth quarter, this season the Kansas City Chiefs have already proven they can overcome anything.

Well, just about anything, because the Sunday environment in KC could feature something the undefeated host team has yet to encounter. This week when the Jacksonville Jaguars come to town, we’ll see if the Chiefs can overcome a new feat; battling both Mother Nature and a strong AFC side.

Tyreek Hill Tyreek Hill. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

According to NFLWeather.com, a light rain is expected for the 1pm Sunday kickoff but precipitation will be apparent all day from morning through the evening. Kansas City is anticipating on rain arriving Saturday or possibly late Friday night but thunderstorms are in the Saturday and Sunday forecasts. Temperatures will be in the mid-to-high 60’s and wind will hover around 10mph, making a slick pigskin and grass surface inside Arrowhead Stadium the midweek concern for both sides.

Kansas City (4-0) has played in over a dozen rain games since 2010 but the team’s young quarterback has yet to participate in a single one. Sophomore QB Patrick Mahomes seems to look better and better each week and we’ll see if the backyard football-style gunslinger can shine through the upcoming weekend storm.

Lucky for him, his team has been almost perfect when the weather is anything but. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Chiefs are 9-4 in rain games since 2010 (8-2 since ‘13) and 4-0 at home during that span. Clearly the elements don’t slow down the offense too much, given the team has scored almost 80 points over its last three rain games.

Much of that rain game success can be attributed to the team’s ability to avoid turning the ball over and control possession by dominating the ground game. This dominance in rushing began years ago with Jamaal Charles but Kareem Hunt is now the top dog in the KC backfield. Hunt, who torched Denver last week for 121 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown, is listed at only $5,800 on DK this weekend (cheaper than Chris Thompson) which is the lowest his price tag has been all season.

Two regularly expensive players in daily fantasy on the Chiefs offense can be found in the passing game, tight end Travis Kelce and speedy star wideout Tyreek Hill. However, Hill’s price plummeted from $8,200 to $6,900 this week and if Sammy Watkins is a no-go following last week’s injury, like Hunt, Tyreek the Freak are at a price worth considering. Pick with caution though, the reason for the cheap listing is a combination of the potential thunderstorms and the Jags stingy D.

Jacksonville, like KC, has been a tough team to beat in the rain recently and post a 5-2 record since 2010.

Unfortunately for the Jags this week, they’ll be without their most coveted rain game weapon, Leonard Fournette. Now that Fournette has been ruled out, T.J. Yeldon will be left with full-time running back duties while Corey Grant will see the occasional snap. With the rushing attack down it’s best best man, it’s up to the JAX passing game to put together a second straight perfect performance if the team wants any chance of pulling off this damp away game upset.

Quarterback Blake Bortles is a surprising 3-0 in rain games and could surprise a few doubters this weekend. In his three rain games, Bortles has a 2:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a 63% completion percentage. He’ll need his trio of WR’s to cause issues in the KC secondary but guessing who the weekly top target will be is turning into quite the mystery. Keelan Cole emerged as an early favorite for Bortles but both Dede Westbrook and Donte Moncrief had a pair of 100-yard receiving performances last week while Cole only saw three targets.

Despite Bortles’ rain game success, it’s truly been the Jaguars defense that should get all the credit. Especially given the unit gets better when the weather worsens. Over the last three rain games, the team has only surrendered an average of 11 points per game.

The red hot Kansas City offense hasn’t been weathered by much this season but a stout Jacksonville defense and crummtions come game time could be the storm that finally brings rain to the Chiefs’ 2018 unbeaten parade. A parade that lasted much longer than anyone expected.


NFL without cable

by The NFLW Team | 10-01-2018 18:00

 
Whether you've cut the cord or are sticking with cable, our guide will show you all the ways you can watch America's favorite sport on TV, including Monday Night Football and NFL RedZone. NFL without cable: A cord-cutter’s guide for the 2018 pro football season

Jets Visit Jags Just In Time For Scattered Storms

by Will Strome | 09-28-2018 18:00

 

The two most difficult forecasts in Florida to anticipate around this time of year are incoming tropical storms and the weekly performances of Blake Bortles. Tropical Storm Kirk is lurking far off the East Coast, midweek, but weekend weather will potentially be disrupted as the storm moves northwest, directly towards Jacksonville where the Jaguars host the New York Jets Sunday at 1p.

Keelan Cole Keelan Cole. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

According to NFLWeather.com, a drizzle is expected early in the day with the percentage chance of precipitation increasing as the game goes on. Jacksonville is likely going to begin experiencing scattered thunderstorms as early as Friday and extending through Tuesday. Game time temperatures will be in the mid-to-low 80’s with humidity around 70-72%. Wind shouldn’t be much of an issue, maxing out around 10mph, but a slick surface and football will be an interesting obstacle for both sides.

Jacksonville (2-1) is well aware rain is on the horizon this weekend, but the team has zero idea which Blake Bortles will show up. Will it be the quarterback who torched the Patriots for 376 yards and four scores with no Leonard Fournette or the QB who was a no-show against a mediocre Tennessee team?

If history tells us anything, expect Bortles to make it rain in the rain. In his two career rain games (both wins), Bortles completed 35-of-63 attempts for 330 yards, two touchdowns and only one turnover. If Fournette is once again a no-go this week, the Jags will lean heavy on the young gunslinger who still seems to be searching for a number one wideout to emerge this season.

Young receiver Keelan Cole has seen 17 targets over the last two weeks and appears to be Bortles’ early favorite, but WR’s Dede Westbrook and veteran Donte Moncrief have also been involved in the passing game. Another veteran waiting for a breakout game, tight end and former New York Jet Austin Seferian-Jenkins, has a juicy matchup for revenge given the visiting teams’ inability to stop the TE and the crummy conditions.

Poor playing conditions haven’t seemed to be a recent problem for the Jags. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, since 2010 the team is 4-2 in the rain and 2-0 at home. Despite the team’s and the QB’s recent rain game triumphs; if they can’t establish somewhat of a ground game without Fournette, this could surpringly be a close one. Backup T.J. Yeldon didn’t practice on Wednesday but at least Fournette suited up, along with third stringer Corey Grant who could see an uptick in touches this week.

Like the Jags, the New York Jets (1-2) don’t exactly have a concrete starting running back headed into this week four matchup either. It’s been a split backfield between veterans Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell, with neither being an exciting start this weekend despite the bad weather. The Crow has slowly emerged as the lead back and has found the end zone four times already, but big RB fantasy points against the JAX D is hard to come by.

Another player who is an absolute must-sit this weekend is rookie QB Sam Darnold. Aside from this being Darnold’s first career rain game, we’re still waiting on the rookie to create some chemistry with at least one of his wideouts. Veterans Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse have been invisible, but an interesting top target for Darnold has been Quincy Enunwa. Enunwa has averaged almost 10 targets per game and could be a sneaky cheap play in daily fantasy given his $4,300 price tag.

Since 2009, the Jets are 3-5 in rain games and haven’t had a rain game road win since 2012. The Jets have a rookie QB under center going up against one of the league’s most tenacious defensive units. The Jets are staring at a brutal forecast coming up and Mother Nature isn’t going to be giving them any favors. This could get ugly and sloppy in more ways than one.


 

The Carolinas have been devastatingly crushed by Hurricane Florence and finally for the first time in a chaotic week, the East Coast will get a temporary breather from the downpours. But, it won’t last long. Hurricane season is far from over but for the moment, North and South Carolina can expect a brief few days of dry weather before more rain rolls through towards the end of this coming weekend. Charlotte is expecting rain Sunday all the way through Thursday, arriving just in time for the Cincinnati Bengals’ trip to the Carolina Panthers Sunday afternoon.

Andy Dalton Andy Dalton. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

According to NFLWeather.com, overcast skies are in the forecast with rain in the morning. Even if the precipitation dies down come the 1pm kickoff, the grass surface inside Bank of America Stadium should be slick. It won’t be a surprise to see players try out a couple different lengths of cleats during warmups. Temperatures should stay in the high-70’s with wind being a minimal factor, maxing out around 4-5 mph.

The last time the Carolina Panthers (1-1) hosted a rain game was a 20-17 loss to Kansas City in 2016. But, prior to that, the Panthers last home loss in the rain was to the Bengals back in 2010 Since 2010, the Panthers are 4-4 in rain games but their Heisman Trophy winning quarterback does post a career rain game winning record.

Cam Newton is a perfect QB for competing in crummy conditions. With a 4-2 record in the rain, Cam’s ability to control the game while battling the elements is not something all NFL quarterbacks can do. With a 56% completion rate in the rain (112-of-200), he’s totaled 1,325 yards and seven passing touchdowns. He’s also ran for two scores and over 180 yards, making him a dangerous dual threat in games where passing is considered a premium.

But against the Bengals, Carolina will likely lean on their sophomore sensation Christian McCaffrey, both in the ground game and passing attack. McCaffrey managed only 37 yards rushing last week but caught 14 passes for 102 yards out of the backfield. As the weather worsens, quick screens and short passes to the former Stanford star will likely be the go to.

With Greg Olsen likely out for a minimum of five weeks, Carolina needs someone to step up in the passing game to avoid solely having to rely on Cam and McCaffrey. Wide out Devin Funchess is penciled in as the number one receiver but still has yet to produce impressive starting WR statistics. Along with Funchess, tight ends Ian Thomas and Chris Manhertz could see some heavy targets, especially in the red zone.

Like Carolina’s QB, the Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) have a gunslinger under center who doesn’t seem to get flustered when bad weather is looming in the forecast. Andy Dalton is a career 5-1 in rain games and averages 34 passing attempts per game, meaning a damp football doesn’t deter Dalton from veering away from the passing game. Wide out AJ Green will without question garner the most targets but Tyler Boyd has stepped up and performed well over the last two weeks. They’ve needed another threat in the passing game given tight end Tyler Eifert has only been targeted seven times this season. Expect Sunday to likely be Eifert’s breakout game.

The Bengals will need guys to step up for Dalton, especially if running back Joe Mixon can’t play. If Mixon doesn’t dress, Gio Bernard will get the bulk of touches and a lot will be expected from the versatile veteran back. Over the last few rain games, it appears Dalton favors finding his tight ends and running backs and little will likely change this weekend.

According to the NFLWeather Historical Analytics, since 2010 the Bengals are 6-3 in the rain with the last road rain game victory being against Carolina (20-7) back in 2010. If Cincinnati can continue playing a complete game like it has been the last two weeks, the Bengals will be a shocking 3-0 and easily one of the most deceivingly dangerous team in the league.

While the rest of the country, the Midwest especially, is expecting the first signs of autumn this weekend by welcoming cooler weather; the East Coast is still very much focused on the Tropical Storms still in the Atlantic basin. Just because Florence has come and gone, doesn’t mean we’re through the thick of it yet... and there’s a good chance that’ll be glaringly apparent for Sunday’s non conference Panthers-Bengals bout.


Hurricane Florence to Make a Rainy Cameo for Colts-Skins on Sunday

by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 09-13-2018 15:00

 

Wasington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has already declared a state of emergency regarding the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence, the first major storm of the year which is likely destined for the Chesapeake this weekend. Despite the inevitable arrival of the hurricane, the NFL has yet to move the Washington Redskins and Indianapolis Colts game to a different time or location.

Josh Gordon Josh Gordon. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

The game is currently set for Sunday at 1pm inside FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. However, the league is considering contingency plans but zero information has been released. As of Wednesday, three NCAA top-25 teams’ have cancelled games while a number of other college games have been moved to an entirely different location or date/time to avoid the powerful storm with landfall expected Friday.

Catastrophic wind, rain and flash flooding are expected to hit the Carolinas and crawl up the coast this weekend, complements of the Category 4 Hurricane which is still lingering off the East Coast.

According to NFLWeather.com, the forecast currently says mostly cloudy with overcast skies throughout the afternoon but that will be a best case scenario. The closer we get to kickoff, the closer the storm is getting to the Carolina’s, Georgia, Virginia and the Chesapeake. Keep an eye on the NFLW forecast because East Coast weather will be changing dramatically and drastically over the next few days. As the weather worsens in the greater D.C. area, anticipate torrential rain and raging wind for Sunday’s non-conference bout (if the league doesn’t move it).

Rain has not led to many favorable results in recent years for the Washington Redskins (1-0). Since 2009, the ‘Skins are 3-6 in rain games and 0-3 at home during that span Perhaps an experienced veteran under center like Alex Smith, who has played in dozens of professional games in crummy conditions, can reverse the curse in D.C.

When asked by reports about how to handle the rain, Smith simply said, “ball security and ball handling are a premium. Fundamentals and attention to detail are a premium when playing in bad weather.” Smith is certainly one to know about ball security given the former first overall pick has only turned the ball over five times in his last seven games impacted by poor weather.

Given how well Washington ran the ball last week at Arizona (24-6 victory) the team might not even need to rely on Smith’s arm. The ‘Skins only averaged 90.5 rushing yards per game a year ago but managed to roll through the Cardinals’ defense for a league-best 182 rushing yards. Newly acquired veteran RB Adrian Peterson torched Arizona for 96 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown. AP even tacked on 70 yards receiving, showing us signs of the AP of old but he wasn’t alone. Chris Thompson averaged 13 yards a carry from only five touches but Thompson tacked on a TD and 63 receiving yards. This two headed monster in the backfield is what Indy should fear most, especially in a mud bowl.

Like the ‘Skins, the Indianapolis Colts (0-1) are pretty poor in rain games. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Colts are 0-3 in the rain since 2014 including a 23-16 loss to Baltimore last season followed the very next week by the famous Blizzard Bowl in Buffalo which the Colts lost as well. Even though Indy plays it’s home games in a dome, it’s time to adapt to the conditions and finally win one in the rain.

But there is hope. Finally, the Colts have a healthy Andrew Luck back at quarterback who nearly beat the Panthers in a rain game in 2015 until Indy fell in overtime. Against Carolina, Luck still dropped back 47 times so it’s clear rain won’t deter the gunslinger from dropping back. Heavy winds, however, could alter the passing game plan of attack all together.

If winds do pick up, the Colts are hopeful running back Marlon Mack will be healthy enough to suit up. Mack missed the 34-23 loss to Cincinnati last week and in his place was Jordan Wilkins who had an incredibly ineffective 40 yards from 14 carries performance. Given, the team was without star left tackle Anthony Castonzo (also protects Luck’s blindside) who hopefully will be good to go for week two.

If Sunday rolls around and the league hasn’t moved the game to a different time/location, assume Hurricane Florence will completely disrupt both sides’ passing games. That said, it appears the ‘Skins have the edge both defensively and in the ground game. But just because the Colts haven’t won in the rain in a few years doesn't mean they can’t handle both the natural elements and the home team. If it comes down to a field goal, don’t forget Indy has the most clutch kicker in the history of the league in Adam Vinatieri.


 
Here is everything you need to know for when the Bengals host the Ravens for Thursday Night Football : https://www.cincyjungle.com/2018/9/12/17844432/nfl-week-2-primer-cincinnati-bengals-1-0-vs-baltimore-ravens-1-0

Winds from Hurricane Florence reach 130mph

by The NFLW Team | 09-12-2018 11:00

 
Winds from Hurricane Florence reach 130mph.
FlorenceHurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence Increases in Size

by The NFLW Team | 09-11-2018 08:00

 
Hurricane Florence Increases in Size as it approaches The Carolinas.
FlorenceHurricane Florence


 

High pressure in the forecast is typically synonymous with nice weather and if the pressure is low, then rain or clouds or other bad weather is looming. Well, the pressure is going to be high this weekend in Northeastern Ohio and not because the conditions will be great. In fact, pressure will be low with rain storms and wind bound for Cleveland. The high pressure results from the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers might actually lose to the Browns for the first time since 2014.

A win for Cleveland on Sunday will, in the eyes of Browns fans, immediately eliminate the painful memory of a winless season from last year. The Steelers, AFC North Division champions from a season ago, have all the glaring pressure on them this Sunday. With rain storms headed for Lake Erie this weekend, the natural elements and an intensely fired up home team might be too much for the Steelers to handle.

Josh Gordon Josh Gordon. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

According to NFLWeather.com, temperatures will be a comfortable 68 degrees throughout the game but 17-19mph winds will be a constant nuisance for players and fans alike. As of Wednesday, Hurricane Florence is only a potential threat worth monitoring, but who knows what could change by Sunday. Light rains are expected for the 1pm kickoff inside FirstEnergy Stadium but if the storm approaches the coast in the next few days, the Kentucky Bluegrass surface could create some serious slippage.

The Steelers (13-3 last year) have had plenty of success in rain games over the years, 11-4 since 2010, but the Black and Gold haven't been invincible. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Steelers are 2-2 in their last four rain games and 1-2 on the road in the rain. A record of 11-4 is impressive, but poor conditions might be the chink in the Steelers' armor.

However, when you take a look at the Three B's stats in crummy conditions, you'd think an already high octane offense was even more devastating. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is 13-3 in weather impacted games since 2012 with only seven total turnovers (speaking of seven, Big Ben's tossed seven TD's in only his last two rain games). Running Back Le'Veon Bell (James Connor might get the start given Bell has yet to report to practice) has averaged over 130 yards rushing and over 40 yards receiving in his last pair of rain games, including a touchdown a piece as well. To finish off the Three B's, wideout Antonio Brown needs no introduction and is a threat in the rain, snow or shine. If anything, with all eyes on AB, the Browns need to keep tabs on JuJu Smith-Schuster or the second year star WR will torch the Cleveland secondary.

The Browns (0-16 last year) have few stats that make the team look promising. But when it comes to rain games, here's proof that Cleveland is on the up and up. Even though the Browns are 2-7 in the rain since 2009, the team is 2-1 over the last three home rain games. Yes, you read that correctly, a winning record for Cleveland.

This season is an entirely new-look side, led by newly-acquired Tyrod Taylor with top pick in the draft this past offseason, Heisman winner Baker Mayfield, penciled in as the backup. Another big name listed as a backup is Josh Gordon who is likely only temporarily behind Jarvis Landry and rookie Antonio Callaway on the WR depth chart. But, the Browns difference maker in a grind it out rain game against a division rival could be veteran RB Carlos Hyde who was a former bruising back at Ohio State. Behind Hyde is Duke Johnson and rookie Nick Chubb, creating an intriguing and versatile backfield for the Dawg Pound.

Hurricane Florence is the first major hurricane of 2018, and there's a chance it could impact NFLWeather along the east coast this weekend. If the Browns can create the perfect storm on Sunday, there is a great chance we'll see the first major upset for the 2018 NFL season. For the latest forecasts and no pop-up ads, stay tuned to NFLWeather.com when entering your fantasy line-up.


Super Cold Super Bowl Tailgate Expected…. Outside the Stadium

by Will Strome, NFLWeather.com | 02-01-2018 10:00

 

For the first time in NFL history, the second half kickoff temperatures during the Super Bowl will potentially dip below zero. Well, outside the venue it will be unbearably cold but luckily for fans attending Super Bowl LII, U.S. Bank Stadium will be cozy and comfortable for Sunday’s matchup in Minneapolis, MN when the New England Patriots play the Philadelphia Eagles.

An indoor Super Bowl always dampens the final NFLWeather.com story of the season, but, up until this final week we’ve endured just about every possible forecast. Serious snow found its way to Buffalo where the Bills won in a blizzard against the visiting Indianapolis Colts in overtime. Hurricane Irma forced the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to reschedule their Week One matchup for sunny skies later in the season. Thus, both teams had to use their mid-season bye in the opening weekend. Dozens of games over the last few weeks featured freezing temperatures but somehow, someway, neither outdoor game over Conference Championship weekend offered even a flurry.

For Super Bowl weekend however, a frigid forecast will be in full force for any fan crazy enough to brave a Minneapolis outdoor bar crawl but conditions for the big game will be perfect, much to our dismay. Let’s be honest, wouldn’t we all enjoy watching another Ice Bowl?

Tom Brady Tom Brady. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

According to NFLWeather.com, the Twin Cities will be a frozen tundra with a cold front rolling in this week. Game time temps will hover in single digits but plummet as the evening goes on, with the wind chill expected to be around -14 come the fourth quarter. There’s still a chance for snow but a 100% chance of icy Siberian conditions, but probably not near enough for the dome to collapse……again.

Even though both sides play outdoor home games, Philadelphia and New England both competed plenty of times indoors over the last few years. Inside domes on the road since 2013, the Eagles are 4-6 but haven’t won indoors since Philly flew to Dallas and escaped with a 33-27 win in November of ’15. Quarterback Nick Foles was an indoor quarterback during his years in St. Louis, so don’t think he’ll be completely out of his element as he goes up against the G.O.A.T., Tom Brady.

According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, Bill Belichick and company are a flawless 10-0 in domes since the team lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl back in 2012. Football fans nationwide always talk about how ‘Tom Terrific’ lives up to his name best in games late in the season featuring extremely crummy conditions, but, who would have fathomed he’d be just as good, if not better, than his outdoor Hall of Fame self?

Both these outdoor teams are built for an outdoor style of football, with the New England offense likely to put up 50 points in any type of playing condition, giving them the ultimate edge. But Philadelphia has been a team of destiny and maybe in Minneapolis we’ll see a new hero in the cheesesteak city. Wow, that was a bad sandwich joke. Until August………


 

Here we have the updated weather report for the Eagles - Vikings NFC Championship game, brought by Joseph Martucci from The Press of Atlantic City. Check it out here!


Fair Weather Waits in Philly & Foxboro for NFL Championship Weekend

by Will Strome, NFLWeather.com | 01-21-2018 08:00

 

The East Coast has been absolutely pummeled with brutal winter weather for weeks now and surprisingly come championship Sunday, both Philadelphia and Foxborough aka Foxboro will be hosting games above freezing temperatures for the first time in weeks.

According to NFLWeather.com, both the AFC and NFC Championship games are expecting decent weather with temperatures in the mid-to-low-40s, after experiencing weeks of arctic conditions. However, if there’s one thing the last few weeks have taught us around the country is that weather conditions can change unexpectedly in an instant. Even though the forecast calls for decent weather, freezing temperatures are lurking once the sun goes down. If that’s the case, all four teams have had plenty of recent experience playing in temps below 32-degrees.

Despite the sun shining, single digit temperatures were waiting for the Jaguars in Pittsburgh but that didn’t stop Jacksonville from steamrolling the Steelers in a massive 45-42 upset. Quarterback Blake Bortles didn’t let the chilly elements get to him, especially when the team needed him most, finishing the game completing 5-of-6 attempts for 120 yards and some crucial first downs after starting the game 9-of-20. He didn’t need to play the role of hero and neither did his sensational rookie running back, Leonard Fournette, who still managed to torch the Black and Gold for 109 yards and three TD’s. It wasn’t one single man who beat the Steelers, it was a team effort, and that’s what it’ll take to stun the Patriots in New England.

The Pats are the heavy favorite to get to Super Bowl LII in Minnesota on Feb 4th, and if a frigid front finds its way into Foxborough then the likelihood of Jacksonville getting to its first Super Bowl in franchise history is substantially less likely. New England showcased its firepower in less than favorable conditions last week against Tennessee, basically freezing the Titans’ offense en route to a 35-14 win.

According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Patriots have won 13 straight home games when the temperature is below freezing with the last loss happening over seven years ago. Five of those frigid wins occurred in January, where Tom Brady is seemingly unbeatable. If Tom Terrific does what he does best and Rob Gronkowski continues to demoralize entire defenses, it’ll be yet another new chapter added to the Belichick-Brady dynasty story.

It seems like the Belichick-Brady combo have conquered just about everything a head coach and quarterback duo can, but they’ve never won a Super Bowl against a team playing on its home field. With the Vikings still in the mix, and U.S. Bank Stadium hosting this season’s grand finale, the Minnesota Vikings could be the first ever team to play in a Super Bowl in their own stadium. But they’ll have to overcome both the Eagles in Philadelphia and the potentially crummy conditions that stand in their way.

Philadelphia is expected to be a bit warmer than New England but with precipitation anticipated on Monday and cool temperatures currently in Eastern PA, below freezing temps are very much a possibility and even a very small chance of flurries (not likely though). Since 2013, on the road in the cold the Vikings are only 2-3 but the most recent was a 16-0 shutout of the hated rival Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field. Minnesota pulled out the near flawless win with a heavy dose of pounding the football and limiting QB Case Keenum to only 25 passing attempts. Like Bortles, Keenum doesn’t need to be the star of the show this week, let the offensive line win the battle in the trenches so the rushers in the Vikings’ backfield can have a field day.

One player who completely uplifted this offense when injuries were devastating Minnesota was Latavius Murray. USA Today’s Steve Gardner had Vikings bruising RB Latavius Murray on his All Waiver Wire Team this season. “Murray took over as the lead back after rookie Dalvin Cook suffered a season-ending knee injury,” Gardner wrote. “However, it wasn’t until he rushed for 113 yards and a score in Week 7 did Murray become an every-week fantasy start.” Minnesota will need to establish the run early and often against an Eagles’ D that allows less than 90 rushing yards per game.

Philadelphia has been rock solid all season but the same can’t be said when the Eagles host a game when the thermometer dips below 32. Since 2011, Philly is only 3-4 at home in the cold but this season’s 6-0 regular season loss to Dallas was in Week 17 with the starters playing only a few snaps. However, last week’s 15-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons showed that even when the franchise quarterback is out (Carson Wentz), the Eagles still look like a complete team.

Quarterback Nick Foles has taken the team on his shoulders and now the Eagles are only one home game win away from a trip to the Super Bowl. Like Philly, Minnesota has an extremely stout defense so the QB can’t do it all alone, the running game will have to chip away at the NFL’s third-best D-unit against the rush. Luckily for the Eagles, the one-two punch of Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount might be the perfect combo to wear down the Vikings D.

It’s an NFL Final Four nobody expected at the beginning of the season. Now, here we are, days away from knowing who will head to Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII. With only one elite quarterback left, on paper, it feels like the Pats’ year. But everyone was expecting to see the Steelers in NE this weekend and, well, here we are!


Weather report for Philly from The Press of Atlantic City

by The NFLW Team | 01-20-2018 18:00

 

Check out Joseph Martucci's great weather report for this weekend over at The Press of Atlantic City. Link here!


Wintery Mix Making its Way to Pittsburgh for Steelers-Jaguars Rematch

by Will Strome, NFLWeather.com | 01-14-2018 08:00

 

The Jacksonville Jaguars typically don’t do well in the cold, unless it’s against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In the Jags five coldest games in franchise history, the team posts a 1-4 record with the lone win coming against the Black and Gold. The only team to beat the Steelers twice in Pittsburgh in the same season was Jacksonville, and that second win was a frigid January playoff win. This game seems like a slam dunk win for the Steelers but if weather-related history between these former division rivals has taught us anything, it’s that the Jaguars have Pittsburgh’s number.

Leonard Fournette Leonard Fournette. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

According to NFLWeather.com, game time temps for the 1:05pm EST kickoff will be in the 18-20 range but will feel more like a shivering ten given the light wind. In the days leading up to the rematch from the regular season, Pittsburgh is going to experience a heavy dose of a wintery mix with rain and snow to open the weekend. With horrendous weather on Friday and into Saturday, once temperatures plummet (as they’re expected to do), there’s a chance for icy conditions on Sunday. Since temps will be so low and precipitation still very much a possibility, snow could also sneak its way into the game day forecast.

In early October, the Jags ripped through the Steelers with a shocking 30-9 road win at Heinz Field which was the victory that solidified the team as a legit contender this season. Jacksonville pulled off the win by pounding the ball between the tackles with Leonard Fournette who finished the afternoon with two touchdowns and 181 yards from 28 touches. Quarterback Blake Bortles didn’t need to be a hero that afternoon with the former first-rounder finishing the day completing 8-of-14 attempts for only 85 yards and an interception. Nothing needs to change from the team’s previous game plan and Fournette should see another massive workload against a defense that allows on average over 105 rushing yards per game and terrible winter weather is expected in the weekend forecast.

In the Jags’ last two road games featuring below freezing temps, the team was 0-2 including a Week 17 15-10 loss at Tennessee (most starters were rested). Pittsburgh in sub 32-degree weather on the other hand, according to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, is 16-4 in the cold since 2009 and 10-3 at home. Having won nine straight in frigid conditions, it seems nearly impossible to lose this week, but if Antonio Brown is a no-go, the Steelers could be in trouble against one of the league’s top defenses.

If AB can’t shake his illness and lingering calf injury, Juju Smit-Schuster and Martavis Bryant will be Ben Roethlisberger’s go-to targets and both speedsters have made plenty of big plays this season. USA Today’s Steve Gardner even included Smith-Schuster in his All-Waiver Wire Team. “There were several times fantasy owners could have grabbed the rookie wideout off waivers, but a touchdown catch in Week 4 signaled his arrival,” Gardner wrote in his most recent article. “Smith-Schuster caught seven passes for 193 yards and a score in Week 8 – and he dominated over the final two weeks of the season (218 yards, 2 TD’s, plus a kick return TD) with Antonio Brown sidelined by injury.”

With or without AB, the passing game anchored by Big Ben will have to find a way to flourish. Thankfully Roethlisberger is the ideal QB to have under center is a game featuring crummy weather conditions, but with a running back like Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers’ offense instantly becomes one of the most high-octane offenses in the league. Bell, who didn’t dress Week 17, has also become the most dynamic running back in football and his weekly fantasy numbers in Draft Kings back it up. In his last five starts, Bell has averaged an impressive 30.44 points per week, making him worth every penny.

Three months after pulling off a remarkable upset, the AFC South champion Jacksonville Jaguars are headed back to Pittsburgh to do something they’ve done before... beat the Steelers in the Burgh in the postseason. With New England the destination for the victor, if Jacksonville can hold off Mother Nature and the Steelers constricting defense, we could see the upset of the postseason thus far.


Frozen Forecast for Titans-Chiefs in Kansas City to Open Wildcard Weekend

by Will Strome, NFLWeather.com | 01-04-2018 20:00

 

Arctic temperatures and blizzards have swept through much of the East Coast and the Midwest this week and Saturday late afternoon in Kansas City will be no different when the Chiefs host the Tennessee Titans in a Wildcard weekend ice bowl opener.

According to NFLWeather.com, clear skies are expected in Arrowhead Stadium for Saturday’s 4:35pm EST kickoff but the grass surface will resemble a frozen tundra given temperatures will feel more like 15 degrees despite a thermometer reading of about 10 degrees higher. The breeze is expected to pick up as the evening goes on but for now the wind will likely swirl in the 10-12mph range. As of Wednesday, there was less than a 5% chance of precipitation but with rain/snow in the Sunday forecast, there’s a good chance flurries could make a cameo appearance.

Rishard Matthews Rishard Matthews. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Just over a year ago, the Titans stormed into Kansas City on a freezing afternoon and stunned the Chiefs in identical playing conditions (if not colder). The Titans didn’t play the perfect game, tossing a pick and fumbling twice, but they successfully grinded out a difficult win in an extremely tough atmosphere to snag a coveted road win. If they can cut back on the turnovers, Tennessee has the potential to pull off a massive playoff upset and escape Arrowhead with another shocking win in less than favorable winter conditions.

Prior to beating the Chiefs last season, fourth-seeded Tennessee (9-7) was 0-4 in their previous four games when temps dipped below freezing but the Titans have been victorious in their last two straight. The most recent being a 15-10 win over Jacksonville to seal a spot in the playoffs and sweep the AFC South champions. Tennessee did it not by pounding the ball nor picking apart the Jags’ stout D thru the air, they did it by simply winning the turnover and time of possession battle.

Whether the team can pull it off again will all come down to the play and decision-making of quarterback Marcus Mariota whose inconsistency has been the team’s Achilles heel all year. Against the Jaguars last week in the freezing conditions, the former Heisman winner had a humble 12-for-21 afternoon for only 134 yards and a touchdown (10 rushes for 60 yards as well) but the goose egg in the INT department was really the only statistic that mattered. He’ll need to be more of a presence against the KC D and the only way to do so is having his top targets, wideout Rishard Matthews and tight end Delanie Walker, find some space in the Chiefs’ secondary. Especially with running back DeMarco Murray still a bit dinged up, the ground game may have to rely on Derrick Henry who’s been a stud the second half of the second but without an impactful aerial assault, the Titans’ offense could freeze up in the cold.

Like Tennessee, fifth-seeded Kansas City (10-6) has had tremendous success pounding the football all season. The Chiefs’ running back Kareem Hunt stormed onto the scene this season and is a genuine candidate for rookie of the year. USA Today’s Steve Gardner pointed out in his most recent article that Hunt wasn’t expected to be much of a factor last week, surprising fantasy owners when he found the end zone. “Hunt wasn’t expected to play much, if at all with the Kansas City Chiefs’ playoff position secure,” Gardner wrote. “He touched the ball once – a 35-yard touchdown run – and that was it.” He’ll be the go-to back this week and being a $1,600 cheaper play in Draft Kings than Todd Gurley this week makes Hunt a solid start in daily fantasy likely to see tons of action, especially given the winter wonderland setting on Saturday which could lead to increasingly awful passing conditions in the wind picks up or rain/snow arrives.

According to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, since 2010 the Chiefs are 9-8 in games featuring freezing temperatures including a 6-5 record at home over that span. In fact, the last two KC wins this season have been in back-to-back weeks, with the most recent victory being a 27-24 win in Denver last week where all the KC starters were rested for the playoffs. The week before the Chiefs solidified the AFC West title following a 29-13 drumming of Miami where QB Alex Smith had his best game of the season by completing 25-of-39 attempts for 304 yards and a TD.

Smith had a terrible outing the last time KC hosted a playoff game so all eyes will be on the former first overall pick to shine. The loss to Pittsburgh in the Divisional round last season was a rough one, which featuring Travis Kelce picking up a personal foul penalty at the worst possible moment late in the fourth quarter. Time for Kelce and company to redeem themselves, and this time around the team has Tyreek Hill ready to be the explosive offensive weapon he’s been all season.

If you go by what Vegas thinks, Kansas City is expected to be the frontrunner to advance this weekend with a -8.5 opening line, the largest of any of the four wildcard matchup spreads. But this, my friends, is the playoffs and with Mother Nature rearing her ugly head in Missouri, anything and everything can happen on Saturday!


Fantasy Football Guide to week 17

by The NFLWeather Team | 12-30-2017 08:00

 

Steve Gardner over at Usa Today has posted the complete fantasy football guide to Week 17. You can find it here.


Jags-Titans to Clash in Ice-Cold Conditions in the Music City

by Will Strome, NFLWeather.com | 12-29-2017 08:00

 

The only thing falling faster than the snow in the Midwest as of late has been the Tennessee Titans and the only thing colder than the local temperatures in Nashville has been the local offense.

Marcus Mariota Marcus Mariota. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

According to NFLWeather.com, clear skies are expected in Nashville on Sunday for the 4:25pm EST kickoff but a piercing wind will be the real challenge for both divisional rivals. Temperatures will be in the mid-20’s but will feel more like single digits since the breeze will likely be a constant 10-12 mph frigid swirl. There’s currently less than a 5% chance of precipitation but given the recent blizzards that have hit the Great Lakes, who knows if we’ll see a dusting of snow on the Bermuda grass inside Nissan Stadium.

A win for Tennessee (8-7) clinches the sixth seed in the AFC that will likely mean a trip to Jacksonville (10-5) next weekend in the wildcard round. A loss won’t necessarily eliminate the Titans, but the team would need losses from both Buffalo and the Los Angeles Chargers in order to sneak in. So it’s pretty simple for the Titans, a win and they’re in, but they’ll need to conquer both the Jags and the frosty winter conditions to do so.

According to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Titans are 1-4 since 2010 in games featuring below-freezing temperatures while Jacksonville is 0-1 over the same span. The frozen win came last season when Marcus Mariota valiantly brought the Titans back from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to stun the Chiefs in Kansas City, 19-17. If Mariota can do it in KC in mid-December, the former Heisman winner can do it again at home this week. He’ll just need help from his bruising backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry to wear down the league’s third best defensive unit.

If you look at the Titans’ performances over the past few weeks, the team is ice cold. Tennessee has dropped three straight, all of which by five points or less. But there’s hope, given TEN has already played and pummeled JAX once this season, a 37-16 thrashing in Florida. In that win, the Titans were able to shut down the strength of the Jacksonville offense, the punishing ground game which has steamrolled through top defenses all season and averages over 145 rushing yards per game. But after last week’s defensive performance against the LA Rams rushing attack, the Tennessee D needs to step up big time or enjoy watching the playoffs from the couch.

USA Today’s Steve Gardner had nothing but praise for the running back that absolutely torched the Titans last week and likely elevated fantasy owners to a league title, Todd Gurley. Gardner pointed out in his most recent article that “Gurley carried the ball 22 times for 118 yards and added 10 catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns. That translated to 39.6 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues, and 49.6 in PPR leagues,” Gardner wrote. If Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette can accumulate half of what Gurley did, then the rookie RB might drive the final stake through the heart of the Titans’ playoff hopes.

The Jaguars’ punishing ground game has been the strength of the JAX offense all season, but don’t sleep on the passing attack. Quarterback Blake Bortles has shockingly been remarkable the last few weeks, pointing up at least 23 points or more in Daily Fantasy in four of his last five games. Given, Bortles hasn’t played many games in winter conditions so it’s difficult to predict how he’ll handle the elements, but with the ground game that Jacksonville has, there’s no reason why the team needs to relay on the former first-rounders’ cannon. It’ll be the Fournette show for sure.

Tennessee fans can hope and pray that their team will heat up on Sunday given a postseason berth is on the line, but the freezing temperatures on the other hand, well, there’s little to no chance of that heating up.


Tyler Sullivan Coverage of Patriots for 247sports.com

by The NFLWeather Team | 12-28-2017 08:00

 

Check out the great work of Tyler Sullivan covering the Patriots, over at 247sports.com. Also, have in mind that there is a weather alert for Foxborough for the regular season finale.


Fantasy Football Guide to week 16

by The NFLWeather Team | 12-24-2017 10:00

 

Steve Gardner over at Usa Today has posted the complete fantasy football guide to Week 16. Check it out!


Windy City Forecasts Freezing Temps on Christmas Eve for Bears-Browns Bout

by Will Strome, NFLWeather.com | 12-23-2017 17:00

 

The 2017 campaign for both the Browns and the Bears has been a dark and dreary one, in fact, both seasons for the storied franchises have been about as bleak as the ice-cold Christmas Eve weather destined for Chicago on Sunday.

Deshone Kizer Deshone Kizer. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

According to NFLWeather.com, conditions along the banks of Lake Michigan will be nothing short of miserable. The thermometer will read in the low-20s for the 1pm EST kickoff but a piercing 10-14mph breeze will drop the wind chill down to almost single digits. Precipitation is not currently in the forecast but the lake-effect could easily provide some afternoon flurries.

Both teams have already played in and lost one game featuring freezing temperatures this season, but a week 16 win would be the perfect early Christmas gift for fans crazy enough to brave the frozen front inside Solider Field. Week 16 is particularly important, as it is typically the championship week in most fantasy playoff formats, and this cold matchup could provide an option that could potentially win a fantasy championship; despite both teams never once being mentioned in the NFL postseason debate all year.

USA Today's Steve Gardner believes that particular play could be in the form of the Chicago Bears defense, which has scored double digits in daily fantasy five times already this season. "The Bears are this week's click to pick, playing at home against the winless Cleveland Browns" Gardner wrote. "QB DeShone Kizer has thrown an NFL-high 19 interceptions. Defenses matched up against the Browns rank first in fantasy points, with an average of 12.8 per week." In a frosty matchup against Cincinnati in week 14, the Bears defense put up 11 in Draft Kings following the 33-7 frigid road win.

Against the Bengals, it wasn't just the Chicago (4-10) defense that rose to the occasion despite the crummy conditions. Rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky had his best outing of the season, completing 25-of-32 attempts for 271 yards and a pair of touchdowns (one rushing). But his most impressive stat from the victory was zero turnovers. The rookie targeted Kendall Wright 11 times and the wideout hauled in 10 for 1-7 yards. Wright was one of eight different receivers Trubisky found against the Bengals. For only $4,700 in DK, Trubisky could be a sneaky cheap play this week against a D that allowed Brett Hundley to throw for three TD’s in similar playing conditions.

As electric as the Bears passing game was in the cold at Cincy, the ground game was even more on fire. Jordan Howard torched the Bengals for 147 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns while Tarik Cohen added 80 yards on 12 touches. The Browns haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher each of the last three weeks but given how dominating the Bears rushing attack has been all season, averaging almost 120 yards on the ground per game, that streak for Cleveland is likely to come to an end.

Like Chicago, the Browns (0-14) offensive strength has been the ground game and if Cleveland has any intention of breaking the winless streak this weekend, the boys in the backfield need to overcome the Bears front seven and the less than favorable conditions. Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. have been the one-two punch all season and Sunday will be no different. While Johnson Jr. sees more action in the passing down on third downs, the Crow will dominate the early down touches and if snow becomes a factor as temps plummet, Crowell could see an even heavier dose of carries.

According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, since 2009 the Browns are 6-10 when temps are below-32 including a devastating 27-21 overtime loss to Green Bay this season. Over the same span, Chicago isn’t exactly much better, posting an 8-11 record with the 33-7 shivering win over Cincy was the first frozen W for the Bears since November of 2014.

For Cleveland to break the duck, Kizer needs to play like the Browns QB of the future. In terrible conditions against GB, the rookie put up admirable numbers during his three TD performance but his two interceptions were the ultimate determining factor in the loss to the Packers. Josh Gordon was heavily involved in that loss at home and he'll be the go-to guy early and often against Chicago.

If the Bears can’t figure out a solution to stopping Gordon, Sunday night will be a silent night in Chicago.


 

The Pittsburgh forecast over the next few days is a wild one, featuring snow, rain and below freezing temperatures. With horrendous winter conditions expected on Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers host the New England Patriots for [practically] home field in the AFC, for die-hard and neutral football fans alike, it truly doesn’t get any better than this.

According to NFLWeather.com, Sunday temperatures are likely to be in the high-30s but will feel much closer to sub-freezing with the 5-6mph winds likely to pick up as the afternoon rolls on. Given the game is a 4:25pm EST kickoff inside Heinz Field, once the sun goes down conditions will only get colder. The Burgh is anticipating the cold front featuring snow to arrive Wednesday or Thursday (3-5 inches) with only a 20% of snow heading into the weekend as temps slowly pick back up. However, precipitation is expected on Sunday, and whatever the temperature is will dictate whether it’s freezing rain or snow flurries.

A win for Pittsburgh (11-2) will clinch a first-round bye but a win and a Jacksonville loss or tie solidifies the AFC top seed and home field advantage. Technically, all New England (10-3) needs this week to guarantee a playoff spot is a Baltimore loss or tie but if the Patriots win or tie against the Steelers then NE will be locked in for the AFC East crown. With so much on the line, neither side can afford to let Mother Nature be a negative intangible factor this weekend.

Rob Gronkowsky Rob Gronkowsky. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

The Steelers rarely get flustered by the rain, snow or even frigid temperatures. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, since 2010 the

Much of that success can be credited to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who is the ideal QB to have under center when weather is a factor. Since 2012, Big Ben has only turned the ball over six times in weather impacted matchups while posting an incredible 13-2 record over that span. It’s definitely helped to have playmakers like Antonio Brown as an outlet, but JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant have also been extremely effective in the passing game (when not suspended). Even if Roethlisberger throws half of the passing attempts he did a week ago, that’s 33 drop backs against a NE secondary that allows the fourth-most passing yards per game in the league.

But with weather a massive factor, Pittsburgh will likely lean on the best back in the league, Le’Veon Bell. USA Today’s Steve Gardner even blessed Bell’s most recent performance with his ‘Even Broader Shoulders Award’ in his article this week. “Bell did it all against the Baltimore Ravens, rushing for 48 yards and a pair of touchdowns and catching nine passes for 77 yards and another score” Gardner wrote. “All that effort in a wild conclusion to Sunday’s NFL slate resulted in 30.5 standard fantasy points for Bell and 39.5 in PPR formats.”

Shutting down Bell is absolutely imperative if New England has any shot of escaping a frozen Heinz Field with a crucial win this Sunday. The Pats' rushing defense surrendered over 300 yards on the ground over the last two weeks but has stymied solid rushing attacks previously this season, like a New Orleans group that was held to only 81 yards on the ground. The NE defense has stepped up before this season and can do it again, and we all know Bill Belicheck and Tom Brady have Pittsburgh’s number, having won the last four straight meetings.

Speaking of Brady, Tom Terrific has truly lived up to his name even more so as the weather worsens. In his last dozen games impacted by the elements, Brady is 11-1 and averages over 35 passing attempts an outing. That being said, a light snow or scattered shower won’t deter TB12 from unleashing against the Steelers’ secondary that was absolutely torched by Joe Flacco a week ago.

With Rob Gronkowski returning from suspension, expect the massive to tight end to get a massive number of targets against that weakened Ryan Shazier-less D. Wideouts Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan had abysmal performances against the Miami Dolphins on Monday but the speedsters should have no issues torching that defense, even in the snow.

With all the makings of a high scoring shootout, it’s absolutely awesome that home field advantage in the AFC can potentially all come down to who has the ball last. Both teams have the most clutch quarterbacks and kickers in the league so let’s hope this is just another intense chapter in this incredible rivalry.


Flurries Forecasted for Packers-Browns Bout

by Will Strome, NFLWeather.com | 12-08-2017 08:00

 

The Browns over the last few years have been about as riveting as shoveling snow but the Dog Pound will have a much happier holiday season if Cleveland can play Grinch and steal Green Bay’s wildcard wishes.

According to NFLWeather.com, flurries are expected for the 1pm kickoff between these two storied franchises on Sunday inside FirstEnergy Stadium. A 20mph wind will be swirling off Lake Erie, giving players and fans alike a frigid lake effect where the thermometer might show low-30s but it will feel less than half that, in the low-teens for game time temps.

Cleveland (0-12) have little to play for, aside from the top overall draft pick, but the next two games are against fringe playoff contenders so the opportunity to play the role of spoiler is definitely a reason to finish the season strong. The team is coming off a frustrating loss to the Chargers where the Browns let a second half lead slip away. But there was a positive talking point postgame, the return of Josh Gordon to the Browns offense and his immediate involvement.

Aaron Jones Aaron Jones. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

If the Browns have any hopes of pulling off the snowy upset, they’ll need Gordon to play like a veteran and make some plays for his rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer. Kizer’s accuracy has been an issue but if the snow gets extremely heavy, the rookie will see plenty of designed run plays which could make him a decent cheap start in daily fantasy for less than $5,000. With the weather being a major factor this week, Kizer can’t afford any turnovers like he did a week ago with a fumble late in the fourth and an INT.

According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, Cleveland is 0-4 in their last four snow games and if the Browns’ mediocre ground game can’t manage better than the 105 yards per game they currently average, you can bank on that trend continuing. Only once this season has Isaiah Crowell seen less than double digit carries and in a game featuring terrible weather, the Crow should see more action than Duke Johnson Jr. who’s generally more of a factor in the passing game when the team is trailing. Maybe this will finally be the week the team isn’t trailing when the clock hits 0:00.

Green Bay (6-6) is still very much in the hunt for a wildcard spot but need to grind out gritty wins against weaker opponents in crummy conditions, like in the snow on Sunday at the winless Browns. With a 3-1 record in their last four games featuring flurries, the Pack know a thing or two about how to approach and game plan for freezing matchups late in the year.

The easiest way to do that, win the battle in the trenches and create holes between the tackles for the Green Bay running backs to do all the work and dominate the time of possession. It’s been tough to predict who the lead back will be each week in GB, but USA Today’s Steve Gardner thinks that GB running back Aaron Jones is back on the up-and-up. “Jones had a pair of 100-yard games earlier in the season before a knee injury moved Jamaal Williams into the starting role,” Gardner wrote this week. “Although Williams has been solid, Jones came back on Sunday with a game-winning 20-yard touchdown run in overtime. With Aaron Rodgers’ return on the horizon, the Packers offense could be much better down the stretch.” It’s also worth noting that Jones is $1,200 cheaper on Draft Kings than his counterpart.

Speaking of star QB Aaron Rodgers, the former Super Bowl winner has returned to throwing the football but won’t suit up for at least another week. Brett Hundley will continue to start under center and after a terrific performance at Pittsburgh in a game featuring freezing temperatures; the young QB looked less than impressive this past week against Tampa Bay but Hundley pulled out the all-important win.

If the fate of the game comes down to kickers, with the colder temps typically not allowing the ball to travel quite as far, GB’s Mason Crosby gets the edge solely based on experience. The Packers vet has missed four FG’s this season, one less than Cleveland’s Zane Gonzalez whose botched five in 2017, four of which were shanked at home. Let’s see how that Kentucky bluegrass holds up in the snow…


Winter Wonderland is Buffalo Bound for Bills-Patriots’ Snowy Showdown

by Will Strome, NFLWeather.com | 11-30-2017 16:00

 

Only the Buffalo Bills could manage to freeze out their starting quarterback, bring him back, and still somehow be in the thick of contention for a playoff spot. With a pivotal divisional matchup on the horizon against the seemingly unstoppable Patriots is a tall task but with the help of a cold front and flurries in the forecast, maybe Mother Nature can help the Bills pull off a desperately needed upset in the snow and keep their postseason hopes alive.

According to NFLWeather.com, snow flurries are possible for the 1pm EST kickoff at Orchard Park, NY inside New Era Field with light winds around 10mph. The thermometer may only show mid-30s but the wind chill will feel much more like the high-20s for the bundled up fans and players.

New England (9-2) has been an absolute juggernaut in the snow for a number of years now but the Pats are definitely beatable, though highly unlikely. New England did lose in Denver, 30-24, back in 2015 but prior to that loss to the Broncos the Pats won their previous two snowy road games by outscoring the opposition a ridiculous 70-10.

Tom Brady Tom Brady. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Quarterback Tom Brady deserves much, but not all of the credit, for New England’s terrific success in weather impacted match-ups. There’s no question he’ll be heavily targeting tight end Rob Gronkowski, especially if the weather worsens, but the weekly debate continues of which WR will step up as Brady’s top target alongside Gronk and emerging superstar Brandin Cooks? Since Chris Hogan is listed as questionable, count on Danny Amendola to surprise fantasy owners against a secondary that surrenders over 240 passing yards per game.

Like the receiver situation, it’s been tough to predict the lead dog in the Pats’ crowded backfield. But USA Today’s Steve Gardner believes Rex Burkhead is the top fantasy play lining up behind Tom Terrific. “He’s getting consistent touches in the red zone,” Gardner wrote. “Even though Dion Lewis is the primary ball carrier (for now), Burkhead’s additional value in the passing game makes him the Patriots back to own in fantasy.” Despite Lewis seeing double digit touches in six straight games, being $500 cheaper in Draft Kings makes Burkhead an attractive play in a game featuring crummy playing conditions.

On the opposing sideline, Gardner believes Zay Jones could be a sleeping giant in the Bills’ passing attack. “It’s taken awhile for Jones’ role in the offense to expand, but injuries to Kelvin Benjamin and Jordan Matthews have led to an uptick in targets,” Gardner said in his most recent article. “The rookie is coming off a career-high 10 targets and his second career touchdown.” The rookie may see more targets, but bank on running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Charles Clay being the primary focal points of the Bills offense.

Jones will desperately need to provide some support to QB Tyrod Taylor who has seen his fair share of successes and failures in the falling snow. Last year in a 33-13 snowy win over Cleveland, Taylor completed 17 of 24 attempts for 174 yards and touchdown, while also adding 49 rushing yards from seven carries. Most importantly, Taylor avoided turning the ball over, something he couldn’t do in a 27-20 loss to Pittsburgh in the snow in 2016. Taylor’s only tossed three picks all season, but the shifty QB has fumbled on a number of occasions and simply can’t afford to do so on Sunday.

Buffalo (6-5) this season has been about as unpredictable as the local weather. After dropping three straight to beatable opponents, the Bills stunned the Chiefs in Kansas City and are immediately back in the hunt for a postseason berth. According to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Bills are 2-3 in their five most recent snow games including 1-1 last season. If Buffalo can win the turnover and time of possession battle, maybe they’ll have a chance this week.

The A-Turf surface in Buffalo has hosted plenty of great snow games over the years and here’s to hoping we see another snowy classic. A win for the Bills might not exactly add them to the conversation of AFC East title contender, but a wildcard possibility would be just as likely to feature in the upcoming forecast as the inevitable upstate NY winter blizzards.


East Bay Expecting Wind and Rain for Raiders-Broncos Bout

by Will Strome, NFLWeather.com | 11-24-2017 08:00

 

Weather in the Bay Area is always unpredictable and what better time for a potential rain storm than when the Raiders host the Broncos for a classic showdown featuring one of the NFL’s most beautifully black and blue rivalries.

According to NFLWeather.com, overcast skies will be present for the 1:25 PST kickoff inside the Oakland Coliseum but a light rain is expected in the early evening. Temperatures will be in the mid-to-low 60s but a swirling wind of 10-12mph could be an issue if the gusts pick up. With the addition of some drizzle, the bluegrass surface routinely torn up when the weather turns nasty will hopefully do just that on Sunday, much like all the Turkey Bowl fields scattered across America on Thanksgiving Day.

Even though both sides are struggling mightily, this week’s matchup is absolutely crucial if either team has any postseason ambition. Denver (3-7) is making a change at Offensive Coordinator while Oakland (4-6) is doing the same defensively. Will that have a major impact on the Broncos offense against the Raiders defense? Well, it will probably feel like the change couldn’t have done any worse.

Paxton Lynch Paxton Lynch. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Denver started the season strong but the recent cold streak has resulted in Paxton Lynch getting the nod under center this week. If wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders can’t shake off the secondary and find some space in the seams for Lynch, the Denver passing game is in real trouble.

That being said, a lot lies on the stagnant Broncos rushing game that’s currently ranked 29th in the league. C.J. Anderson will likely share some carries with Devontae Booker but maybe this will finally be the week Jamaal Charles shows us the unstoppable Charles of old. With wind and rain a potential factor, it was afternoons like this where the veteran shined his brightest.

According to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Raiders are 3-6 in the rain since 2009 while the Broncos are 3-3. Oakland has already played and lost in one rain game this season, a 34-14 drumming by the Bills in Buffalo, but the Raiders are a team built for rain games and a win on Sunday leaves them only one game shy of getting back to .500.

Quarterback Derek Carr appears to be back to full health, and given that the Fresno State grad has 49 or more passing attempts in three of his last four outings, there’s no reason to believe he won’t come out gunning; despite going against a Denver D that surrenders less than 200 passing yards per game. With Carr back to 100% and the duo of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree on both of his flanks, the Raiders passing attack still seems like a sleeping giant ready to go off.

But the rain could force Oakland to the ground game where bruising back Marshawn Lynch will see the majority of carries over Deandre Washington and Jalen Rishard. All three backs are simply boom-or-bust fantasy plays, but a high ceiling this week with wind being a factor could make one of them a very sneaky play, especially Lynch who is only $4,000 in Draft Kings.

A loss for either Denver or Oakland this week basically would bring each of their respective seasons to a disappointing close. Well, not necessarily, but what more motivation does either of these two rivals need than to gloriously rain on the other’s entire 2017 parade.


Washington Redskins host NY Giants and Early Signs of Winter for Thanksgiving

by Will Strome, NFLWeather.com | 11-23-2017 08:00

 

The Turkey Bowl is as synonymous with Thanksgiving as the pumpkin is with Halloween. Whether it’s a game of touch or tackle football in the yard or park, the only proper way to do the holiday is to start it with football and it end with football.

With three NFL games spread beautifully across the holiday afternoon, there’s no shortage of action to catch when sneaking away from the family. Of the three NFL Thanksgiving Day games, the only outdoor game is at FedEx Field where the Washington Redskins (4-6) host the New York Giants (2-8) in what will certainly be a sizzling battle between bitter division rivals in extremely frigid conditions.

Redskins Washington Redskins. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

According to NFLWeather.com, temperatures for the 8:30pm kickoff will begin in the mid-30s but could potentially dip into the 20s. Even if the thermometer might not show 20 degrees, the players and fans will definitely feel the below freezing temps since the wind chill will be unavoidable. Rain isn’t likely but weekly forecast have seen a fluctuation from a 10-30% chance of precipitation so it won’t be a huge surprise if flurries or freezing rain make an appearance on the grass surface.

If the partly cloudy skies indeed send rain, both the Redskins and Giants have already played in at least one rain game this season. Washington lost at home to Dallas, 33-19, but downed the Seahawks in Seattle, 17-14. The New York Football Giants beat Tampa Bay with Eli Manning having one of his best games of the season by completing 30-of-49 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns. The passing attack has been the strength of the NY offense but it’ll take more than a solid Manning performance to beat the ‘Skins in an icy D.C.

The Giants’ offensive issues start with an extremely shaky and constantly changing o-line that hasn’t been able to help any of the countless players who have lined up in the New York backfield this season. Orleans Darkwa, if healthy, will likely be the lead back on Thursday with Wayne Gallman, Shane Vereen, Paul Perkins and Shane Smith as the other potential victims for the Washington defense to gobble up. Wide-out Sterling Shepard and rookie tight end Evan Engram are Giants fans’ last lone hope for possible players to find the end zone but as conditions worsen on Thanksgiving, the team might be forced to resort to the ground game.

Washington’s offense has been up and down all season and absolutely plagued by injuries. USA Today’s Steve Gardner wrote about the crushing injury to the ‘Skins backfield with Chris Thompson suffering a season-ending injury. But as Gardner mentioned, “the silver lining is that fellow rookie RB Samaje Perine had by far his best game, rushing for 117 yards and a TD on 23 touches.” Gardner also noted in his most recent article that Byron Marshall might be a worthy pickup as Perine’s backup who will see “plenty of third down action” and if rain is a factor, QB Kirk Cousins might favor checking down to his backs.

Gardner offered another piece of advice regarding Redskins players by keeping an eye out for wideout Josh Doctson on the waiver wire. Now that Terrelle Pryor is out with an injury, Doctson is the clear number two option behind Jamison Crowder who’s been targeted an average of almost 11 times per game over the last three weeks. There’s a chance TE Jordan Reed may miss another week, allowing veteran Vernon Davis to step up as Cousins’ go to in the redzone.

According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, Washington is 2-3 in freezing temps since 2009 while the Giants are 2-5. Neither has necessarily found a ton of success in recent seasons but maybe this matchup in freezing conditions will spark a hot streak for either struggling side.


 

Pittsburgh gets pretty cold come mid-November and that’s not even factoring in the potential rain bound for the Burgh on Thursday night when the Steelers host the AFC South leading Tennessee Titans.

According to NFLWeather.com, it will be overcast and rain is probable with the temperatures dipping below freezing overnight. There’s a good chance freezing rain could be in the mix for the 8:25pm Thursday night kickoff. Wind should only top out around 8mph but the unpredictable open end zone at Heinz Field could cause some issues in the kicking game. Snow hasn’t been mentioned just yet but with flurries in Cleveland’s Sunday forecast, who knows just how bad the weather can get on Thursday night.

Marcus Mariota Marcus Mariota. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Pittsburgh (7-2) historically has been a tough team to beat when rain or freezing temps are a factor, let alone both. Since 2010, the Black and Gold are 10-3 in rain games including victories in eight of their last nine. More impressively, according to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, Pittsburgh has won seven straight games when the temp is below freezing and the team is 14-4 since 2009.

Much of the Steelers’ success can be attributed to veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who with his large frame and ability to shrug off defenders makes him a top QB for competing in crummy conditions. Since 2012, Big Ben is 12-3 in weather impacted games and over that 15 game span, he’s only turned the ball over seven times. Roethlisberger has had his troubles this season but against a secondary that surrenders over 230 passing yards per game, this could be the matchup to get Big Ben back on track. With Le’Veon Bell in the backfield and Antonio Brown running routes with rookie sensation JuJu Smith-Schuster, Roethlisberger has no excuses for an inability to move the football.

Tennessee (6-3) has quietly been sitting atop the AFC South and now that the team is finally starting to see its stars at full health, this could be a dangerous team to see in January. The recent bye week looks to have done tight end Delanie Walker some good as well as lead back DeMarco Murray whose name seems to pop up on the injury report on a weekly basis. But as the weeks go by, Murray appears to be sharing more of his carries with Derrick Henry who now has double digit carries in three of his last four games. With rain in the forecast, expect both backs to see plenty of touches.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota might not have the rain game NFL experience as Big Ben has but the former Heisman winner played his college ball at Oregon so the young gunslinger knows a thing or two about prepping for rain. One thing that Mariota does have in common with Roethlisberger is his mobility in the pocket and in a rain game like Thursday’s, don’t be surprised to see a few Cam Newton-like designed QB runs.

But without help from his receivers, Mariota could be in for a long, frigid night. USA Today’s Steve Gardner was high on Corey Davis last week and for all the right reasons, Gardner was spot on with Davis seeing double digit targets. Rishard Matthews is the other receiving threat (Eric Decker has been non-existent) but Walker at TE is Mariota’s primary go-to.

Heinz Field is notorious for having one of the more battered and bruised playing surfaces in the league and with weather a factor on Thursday, this game, ultimately, could come down to which kicking game messes up the least.


Rain Expected for Saints, Brees in Buffalo

by Will Strome, NFLWeather.com | 11-09-2017 08:00

 
Tyrod Taylor Tyrod Taylor. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

Fall is fading fast and now that the foliage has come and gone, snow will slowly creep into the forecasts and Sunday afternoon when the Bills host the Saints in the rain, as temperatures drop the likelihood for sleet or even snow is very much a frigid possibility.

According to NFLWeather.com, Buffalo will be blanketed by overcast skies on Sunday with rain expected for the 1pm kickoff. Too bad the game isn’t the primetime match up since the potential for snow is very likely. Temperatures should be in the mid-to-low 30s with minimal wind of around 8-10 mph.

This will be the Bills’ (5-3) third rain game of the season, having lost 20-16 at Cincinnati but the team bounced back by handling the Raiders and the rain at home nicely for a 34-14 win. According to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the Bills are 4-8 in the rain since 2010 and if flurries happen to fall, the team has posted a snowy 2-3 record at home since ’10.

Buffalo has an offense built for bad weather. They’re anchored by a mobile and versatile quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, who despite only a 1-3 career record in rain games is an underrated fantasy start when weather is an issue given Taylor has 35 or more passing attempts in three of his four career rain games. Running back LeSean McCoy will see plenty of carries but the shifty running back has also snagged six receptions in each of his last two rain games.

Buffalo’s balanced rushing and passing attack has been solid all season and with Kelvin Benjamin joining the mix, the Bills are a legitimate force in the AFC. USA Today’s Steve Gardner thinks Deonte Thompson could be the sneaky fantasy play of the week, especially in daily fantasy where the Buffalo wide-out is only $3,600 on Draft Kings. “The addition of Kelvin Benjamin will cut into Thompson’s targets, but his seven catches for 81 yards and a touchdown last Thursday may help keep Thompson on the field,” Gardner wrote.

New Orleans (6-2) doesn’t compete in many matchups featuring precipitation, but a few weeks ago the Saints waltzed into Lambeau Field and escaped the Green Bay storms with a 26-17 victory. Veteran QB Drew Brees, who normally wears gloves when weather is a factor, ditched the gloves against the Pack which resulted in a huge road win. Well, maybe it wasn’t the glove that was the problem, but whatever was causing the Saints rain game woes is no more.

The Saints’ offense over recent years has basically been the Drew Brees show but in the victory against GB where weather was an issue, it was the RB’s in the backfield behind him that reigned supreme. Mark Ingram was the lead back who racked up 105 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown with Alvin Kamara chipping in nine touches for 57 yards. Both backs also aided the passing game with a combined nine receptions but it was Ted Ginn Jr. and Michael Thomas who stole the show with a combined 14 receptions for over 220 yards.

New Era Field’s A-Turf Titan has already hosted one rain game this season but here’s to hoping we see some flurries stick to the artificial surface in Orchard Park. We’ve seen wind, rain and lightning feature in NFL games this season; maybe this week we’ll get the first glimpse of a snowy winter wonderland.



 

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