by Chris Lovi - Columnist NFLWeather.com | 12-09-2012 11:15
Another game to keep an eye on is the NFC South rivalry between the 11-1 Atlanta Falcons and the 3-9 Carolina Panthers. Although their records might not necessarily reflect it, this is going to be a good game to watch. Carolina played the Falcons tough in the Georgia Dome last time these two teams met and the Panthers have played opponents well in their home stadium this year. NFLWeather.com forecasts a 30% chance of showers, mainly before kickoff with a high near 70. Rough weather and slick fields mean that anything could happen Sunday.
As weird as it may sound with only one loss, the Atlanta Falcons are in a bit of a slump. Despite winning games, quarterback Matt Ryan has been scraping by. Ryan threw five interceptions last game against the Saints but their defense was able to keep them in the game. If the Panthers can throw Matty Ice off his game as the Saints did, they will have a good chance to keep this one close. However, the Carolina Panthers are outmatched in the secondary and will have to rely on Mother Nature to slow down the Falcons passing attack.
Carolina’s offense has finally begun to click. Despite suffering a loss in Kansas City last week, Cam Newton threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions. Despite the Falcons ability to rush the passer, Cam Newton has shown that he can get the ball out in time to his receivers. Expect shorter passes out of the playbook this week and a heavier dose of D’Angelo Williams in an effort to keep Atlanta’s offense off the field.
According to NFLWeather.com’s Historical Analytics, the Falcons beat the Eagles earlier this season in a not always sunny Philadelphia whereas the Panthers lost to the Bucs in a rainy Tampa back in September. If the Panthers secondary can limit the damage, expect this game to be a close and relatively high scoring.
by Chris Lovi - Columnist NFLWeather.com | 12-09-2012 11:00
Late Sunday afternoon, rain will continue to fall when the Arizona Cardinals travel north to take on the Seattle Seahawks. Even though Seattle is winless within the division, they are 5-0 at Century Link Field this year, having beaten Tom Brady’s Patriots in a drizzle. NFLWeather.com forecasts a 40% chance of rain, cloudy skies with a high near 43.
In Seattle’s first meeting with Arizona earlier this season, QB Russell Wilson was sacked three times, picked off once and played one of his worst games of the season. But that was Wilson’s first career NFL start and the Cardinals aren’t going to see the same quarterback this time around. If Wilson can avoid turnovers and manage to connect on shorter passes to his receivers, Seattle should win this game in typically miserable Pacific Northwest weather.
Arizona quarterback John Skelton has struggled to find his consistency this season. It has been over a month since Skelton has seen extensive action. This gives the advantage to the Seahawks defense that thrives on the loud crowd’s energy. It is going to be tough for Skelton to do any pre-snap reads. The Cardinals offense will have a hard time getting anything going with rain and crowd noise both being a huge factor. According to NFLWeather.com’s Historical Analytics, the Arizona Cardinals, who play in a dome, have only seen rain twice in the past two years and lost both games to the Seahawks and 49ers.
With teams close behind them in the playoff race, the Seahawks are absolutely in a must win situation with an underperforming Arizona team visiting their home turf. With the San Francisco 49ers heading into New England next week, Seattle has high hopes. Even though these teams have had close games in the past, you can expect Seattle to treat this like a playoff game.
by The NFLW Team | 12-08-2012 20:00
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by Chris Lovi - Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 12-02-2012 10:00
A big matchup to keep an eye on Sunday will be the Patriots versus Dolphins in Miami as the Pats look to get one step closer to clinching another AFC East title. New England currently holds a three game lead over Miami with just five weeks remaining. NFLWeather.com forecasts a chance of showers, partly sunny skies with a high near 80 degrees: humid, muggy weather that conditioning coaches like.
Overall, the Patriots are 14-33 against the Dolphins in Miami, but have won eight of the last ten games. This will be the first time these two teams battle each other this season and the Dolphins, perennial Patriots Day spoilers, are excited to have their first crack at the Patriots at home.
Rain or shine, the Patriots find ways to beat you on the ground and through the air. Bill Belichik has enough playmakers and one smart quarterback who can lead them through any weather conditions, even in humid Miami. This year’s usual suspects to keep an eye on will be running back Steven Ridley and wide out Wes Welker, a former Dolphin. (Once the Patriots realized that they could not stop the Dolphin’s young slot back, they signed him instead. The rest is Patriots history). Both Players have small and quick frames that present great opportunities against a Dolphins defense that ranks 26th against the pass this season. Expect Brady to get the ball to these guys using screens and quick outs to see if they can make defenders miss tackles, especially if its wet.
The other side of the ball has been a different story for the Patriots. If the Dolphins want to win this game, they are going to have to put up a lot of points through the air. New England’s defense ranks 28th against the pass this year so look for the Dolphins receivers to see a lot of action this week. Young Daniel Thomas will be tested while Reggie Bush is famous for yards after the catch. This may be his day. The upstart receiving combination of Brian Hartline and Devone Bess will have opportunities to show their stuff, if Tannehill can hit them. Miami will need at least thirty points to win this game and the best way to do that is to put faith in their rookie quarterback to air it out.
According to NFLWeather.com’s Historical Analytics, the last time the Patriots played the Dolphins in the rain was November of 2009. The Dolphins won that won 22-21. Tom Brady on has a dozen losses to AFC East team in as many years but half of those losses are to the Dolphins. In a division dominated by the Patriots, this AFC East rivalry game is a chance for Miami to prove they are a true contender.
by Will Strome - Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 12-02-2012 09:00
Few players in the NFL are as crucial to a team’s success as Ben Roethlisberger is to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Having watched his team turn the ball over eight times against the Cleveland Browns, it was apparent the Steelers simple aren’t a playoff team without him. And with Big Ben unlikely against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, maybe the rains can save the Steelers AFC North title hopes.
NFLWeather.com forecasts a 20% chance of showers after noon with a high temperature in the low 50s. The conditions will be extremely frigid, especially if the wind starts blowing off the harbor.
These two rivals went head to head two weeks ago in a dismal offensive performance from both sides. Then-quarterback Byron Leftwich ran a 30+ yard quarterback scamper into the end zone and Jacoby Jones scored on special teams. Those two fluky touchdowns aside, the final score was 6-3 in favor of the visiting Ravens. But the atmosphere, and game plan, turns polar opposites from a beautiful night in Pittsburgh to the driving rain in Baltimore. Not to mention the starting lineup.
Charlie Batch is expected to be the starting quarterback but that’s not the only talking point. Rashard Mendenhall is now third on the depth chart following his two fumble game, behind Isaac Redman and newly promoted Jonathan Dwyer. All three backs and rookie Chris Rainey turned the ball over in Pittsburgh’s 20-14 loss to Cleveland. A wet football in shaky hands will ultimately result in an identical fashion from last week’s game with the Ravens chomping at the very bit to run up the score.
With Batch having thrown three picks last week, even with an unreliable backfield, it’s all up to the backs and the o-line to sustain drives against Baltimore. With a heavy rain, the last thing the Steelers want to do is have Batch win the game for them. Maurkice Pouncey will move from center to left guard to make way for Doug Legursky in an enormously depleted offensive line. Rookie Kelvin Beachum will start at right tackle, the likely location for a number of heavy Baltimore blitzes.
The last time these teams met in the rain inside M&T Bank Stadium was in a light rain, only a year ago according to NFLWeather’s historical analytics. It was a total rout in favor of the Ravens, 35-7, who forced seven turnovers out of Pittsburgh. Joe Flacco completed 17 of 29 for 224 yards and three touchdowns while Ray Rice cruised for over 5.5 yards per carry with one touchdown and 107 yards. The Pittsburgh (6-5) defense is still top-notch so they’ll need a steady mix of both aerial and ground attack. They won’t need to be quite as proficient as a year ago, but if they do they’ll lock up the division.
Even though the Ravens have struggled to find offensive touchdowns as of late, more importantly; they’re finding ways to win. Only one score in 10 quarters is hard to image for a 9-2 football team. After an incredible comeback win in overtime that included a 4th and 29 conversion, Baltimore is proving that, regardless of how it gets done, playoff teams just win games. In a rainy, hate-filled rivalry matchup the edge has to go to the team who’s been there before. The Steelers are 3-0 in rain games this season but they seem almost destined for a first on Sunday.
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