by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 11-28-2015 12:00
The NFC East has been chalked-full of sloppy play all season and with poor weather in the forecast for Sunday’s divisional bout between the Washington Redskins and New York Giants, it’s safe to say little will change when rains roll through the Chesapeake.
According to NFLWeather.com, temperatures will be in the mid to low-50s with a 5mph wind that shouldn’t be a factor. A drizzle could potentially turn to showers which could be trouble for FedEx Field’s grass surface. The playing surface is notorious for draining very poorly so even if the rains hit Saturday or early Sunday, the field could be an absolute mess. Thankfully both sides have prepped for rain on a handful of occasions already this season.
In an interview with the Redskins ESPN Blog back when Hurricane Joaquin was rolling through the east coast, head coach Jay Gruden was quoted telling reporters: "I want to see the quarterbacks throw a wet ball, just see how we handled it in general," Gruden told reporters. "It could be a lot worse out there on Sunday. It may not rain at all, we don't know yet. I thought it was beneficial to all our guys. It was good to see our quarterbacks throw it and our receivers catch it in the rain."
Washington (4-6) last hosted a regular season rain game in 2013 and was promptly spanked by the Kansas City Chiefs, 45-10. The ‘Skins couldn’t establish any sort of ground game with a committee of running backs totaling 65 yards on only 17 touches.
According to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, Washington is 0-3 since 2011 in weather related games with a rushing attack that failed to eclipse 100 yards in each loss. Offensively, the ‘Skins have stuck to a one-two RB punch with Matt Jones and Alfred Morris but a banged-up Morris could mean a heavy dose of carries for Jones who averages one fumble every two games. While the ‘Skins offense can’t run the ball for the life of them in the rain, it doesn’t help that the defense regularly surrenders on average over 150 yards per game and a touchdown.
New York (5-5) has regularly played in at least two weather-impacted games a since 2012, posting a 5-4 record overall with four wins in their last six matchups. One Giants victory in poor weather was a soggy 20-6 win over Washington to close out the 2013 regular season. The NY front lines paved the way for Jerrel Jernigan, Peyton Hillis, Andre Brown and Curtis Painter to rack up 122 yards on 35 touches and a score. Eli Manning finished the afternoon completing 10 of 24 attempts for 152 yards, one TD and one pick.
Against New York, the Washington offense was nonexistent. Kirk Cousins played in his lone professional rain game and finished the afternoon dropping back 49 times but only completing 19 of his attempts for 169 yards and a pair of picks. If Washington is forced to rely on Cousins, they’re in major trouble. On the other hand, New York is a different story with Manning dropping back on average over 35 times per game in the rain.
Even though both teams have a dangerous aerial attack heading into week 12, whoever can control the clock and run the ball with the most ease will be sitting atop the NFC East on Monday. New York is 5-0 in the rain when the running backs get 20 touches or more so if the Washington defense fails to step up and subdue the Giants ground game, it looks like we will finally have a team with a winning record in the NFC East.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 11-24-2015 11:00
The days of bruising running backs in the NFL like Larry Csonka, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward and Jerome Bettis are fading. Not long ago, the ground game was king. The winning formula was to control the line of scrimmage, pound the pigskin between the tackles and avoid turnovers. To some extent, little has changed. However, the league of today is extremely pass-heavy with QB’s on teams like the Lions, Steelers and Saints dropping back over 40 times per game.
But when Mother Nature leaves it all on the field, coaches look to their sure-handed backs. Snow or rain, passing touchdowns decrease substantially while the battle in the trenches determines the outcome.
With help from NFLWeather.com’s Historical Analytics, let’s look at the Top Five toughest mudders in the NFL. In order to qualify, a running back must have played in a minimum of three foul weather rain or snow games over the last two seasons. You won’t see Adrian Peterson on this list, having only played in two rain games even though he rushed for over 100 yards in both outings.
#1 Matt Forte
The eight-year veteran has been a staple in the Chicago Bears offense since the day he was drafted out of Tulane. While doubters believe the 29-year-old Forte is on the decline, the last two seasons he’s arguably been the most reliable RB in the NFC, fumbling the ball only four times. In the four rain games since 2013, he never once turned over the rock, carrying the ball 92 times for 423 yards (4.6 ypc) and two touchdowns. By holding onto the ball, the Bears are 4-0 in muddy matchups.
#2 Eddie Lacy
When Lacy is healthy, he’s an absolute force who barrels over any sorry fool to stand in his way. The three-year back is a mirror image of former-90’s great, Natrone Means. Both were exceptional in the red zone, on the goal line or in any third or fourth-and-short situation.
Over the last two seasons in poor weather matchups, the Packers are 2-0 when Lacy gets 20+ touches. The former University of Alabama standout racked up 364 yards on 73 touches (5.0 ypc) in four rain games including six rushing touchdowns, all of which were scored in the red zone. In a late-November matchup against rival Minnesota, Lacy caught the game-winning 10-yard touchdown reception to down the Vikings 24-21.
#3 The Entire New York Giant Backfield
Eli Manning takes a lot of grief from the media but the guy throws a ton of picks. Surprisingly, when the Giants backfield takes pressure off Manning’s shoulders, the team thrives. In rain and snow since 2013, the Giants are 3-0, pounding the football 35 times or more. It doesn’t matter who the Giants have in the backfield because whether it was Rashad Jennings, Andre Brown, Jerrel Jernigan or even (believe it or not) Peyton Hillis; each back was relatively successful.
In a week three matchup last season against Houston, the Giants amassed 193 rushing yards on 42 carries (4.6 ypc) with Jennings accounting for 176 yards on 34 touches with a TD. In a pair of 2013 weather-impacted matchups, Brown rushed for 115 yards on 30 carries and a touchdown in a 24-20 narrow win over Oakland (Jennings as a Raider had 20 touches for 88 yards in the loss). A few weeks later, Jernigan found the end zone in a week 17 victory over Washington while Hillis, Brown and Jerrel ripped through the Redskins defense for 124 yards. The one time Tom Coughlin abandoned the run in the rain, the team was trounced 38-17 at Seattle. So why doesn’t Coughlin run the ball when the sun is out?
#4 Marshawn Lynch
Prior to Deflategate, “Beast Mode” was the most talked about, celebrated and/or hated player in the NFL. Instead of remembering Lynch as the Skittles-popping, media-dodging maniac, remember him as the guy with the greatest stiff-arm of all-time in the 2013 playoff victory over New Orleans where Lynch broke seven tackles, threw Saints defensive back Tracy Porter to the ground like a ragdoll then calmly finished off a 67-yard touchdown run. Everything about it was glorious.
It is no surprise a bruising back like Lynch is an ideal option when the weather takes a turn for the worse, especially in Seattle where rain is as much a part of the city as Pike Place Market. However, since 2013 the Seahawks have surprisingly only competed in three rain games but when Lynch got his 20+ touches, Seattle went 3-0. Averaging 4.4 ypc in the ‘Hawks three rain wins, the 29-year-old scoring eight touchdowns and rushing for 305 yards on 70 carries.
#5 Honorable Mention: Jamaal Charles
This was a no-brainer. Charles is the perfect back for rain, snow, sleet; you name it, he’ll roll right through it and find the end zone. He’s fast, powerful, has tremendous acceleration and phenomenal field vision. When the former University of Texas RB gets 90+ yards and scores in a game with poor conditions, Kansas City is 3-0.
In four rain games, Charles averages an astonishing 6.6 yards per carry. The 28-year-old has racked up 444 yards on only 67 carries and four touchdowns. It’s clear that Charles was the heart and soul of the Kansas City offense, having recorded over 200 rushing attempts in each of the last three seasons despite missing the rest of this season with nagging injuries to his back, ankle, shoulder, hamstring and foot. Even with all the setbacks, Charles is expected to return next season and will still be the clear-cut top back in the league when the rains come pouring down.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 11-21-2015 14:00
The excitement behind Tony Romo’s triumphant return to the Dallas offense could potentially be drowned out by south Florida rains when the Miami Dolphins host the slumping Cowboys.
According to NFLWeather.com, light rains are expected to hit Sun Life Stadium just in time for the Sunday afternoon bout. Temperatures will linger in the mid to low-80s with minimal wind but unpredictable Florida weather patterns could turn Miami’s grass surface into a mid-November mud bowl.
Over the last few seasons, the ‘Phins have had limited luck in the rain, especially at home. Miami pulled out a shocking 34-28 win in the snow during the 2013 season at Pittsburgh but since 2012, according to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, they post a 0-3 record including a pair of home losses. The most recent defeat was back in 2013 when Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers squeaked out a 20-16 win in the rain.
Despite not playing in a weather-impacted game just yet this season, the ‘Phins (4-5) have prepped for a pair of rain games until the sun broke through on both occasions. Miami was expecting a rain storm for their home opener against Buffalo and again prior to their trip to Philadelphia.
On the other hand, Dallas (2-7) has not played in a legitimate rain game since the 2011 season. During the 33-27 home loss to Philadelphia a few weeks back, minimal rain found the turf inside AT&T Stadium since the retractable roof was left open. When the Cowboys traveled to London to take on Jacksonville last year, a brief drizzle lingered above Wembley.
Aside from those two minor incidents, the last meaningful rain game the Cowboys were involved in was a 31-14 playoff loss to the New York Giants at the tail-end of the 2012 season. During the defeat, Dallas dug themselves into a hole early that they couldn’t get out of and were forced to abandon the run for the aerial assault. Romo finished the day completing 29 of 37 attempts for 289 yards, two scores and an interception. But the ground game was nonexistent with Dallas’s running backs only accounting for 14 touches for 46 yards.
Regardless of how the Cowboys’ coaches approach attacking Miami, with Darren McFadden listed as questionable and Romo returning from a seven game absence, the Dallas offense could be in serious trouble. Look for Rod Smith and Robert Turbin to see a number of carries if Run DMC is unable to go.
A stagnant Dallas offense, mixed with showers, could give Miami a major boost in their quest to get back to .500. Lamar Miller has been a dark horse all season and if the game plan calls to alleviate the pressure off Ran Tannehill’s shoulders, Miller could have a field day against a sorry Dallas D. During the Cowboys’ last four weather related games, the defense has surrendered 23.5 points per game.
Even though it might not be the most glamourous matchup of the weekend, it certainly is a pivotal one. Dallas has every intention of continuing to linger around in the pathetic NFC East title hunt while the Dolphins could claw their way into a wildcard spot. Ugly weather might be what it takes to finally bring out the better side of these two struggling teams.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 10-24-2015 08:00
Well, that depends on the rookie and the weather, Rebounding in the rain following last weekend’s loss will be the focus for the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in Nashville against the Tennessee Titans. The Titans will be without their prized Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.
According to NFLWeather.com, temperatures will linger in the mid-70s but a light rain could be a factor throughout the game, likely to make things very interesting given that neither side has played in a weather-impacted outing since 2013. A damp Bermuda grass surface inside Nissan Stadium might slow down the high-octane aerial attack of Atlanta.
Over the last three years, Atlanta is 1-1 in the rain on the road and back in 2012, the Falcons picked up a rain game road victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, 30-17. Atlanta pounded the run and refused to let up. Collectively, the team rushed for 146 yards on 37 carries. Ryan ended up only dropping back 29 times and avoided turning the ball over.
Against a stout Tennessee defense, one that allows the least amount of passing yards in the NFL (184 ypg), Atlanta can’t afford to rely on Ryan’s arm and will need Devonta Freeman to continue his remarkable start to the season. Tevin Coleman will likely be sprinkled in occasionally.
According to NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, since 2012 the Titans are 1-1 in the rain at home with both games coming in back-to-back weeks in 2013.
A week four showdown with the New York Jets featured Jack Locker and Ryan Fitzpatrick completing 21-of-32 attempts for four scores and zero INTs en route to a 38-13 win. Despite both QB’s torching the Jets defense, it was the Titans defense that really stepped up with four turnovers and five sacks.
The following week, Fitzpatrick struggled against Kansas City, turning the ball over twice. The Titans defense failed to contain Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles as the Chiefs cruised to a 26-17 road victory in the rain.
Tennessee (1-4) will have Zach Mettenberger under center with Mariota sidelined with a sprained knee. Mettenberger has never played in a regular season NFL game in the rain but he shined during a preseason downpour against Green Bay last year, orchestrating a fourth quarter comeback.
Even though Atlanta surrenders the fourth-most passing yards in the league, it’s hard to image Mettenberger picking apart Dan Quinn’s defense.
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 10-17-2015 13:00
With the rain ominously lurking over the Pacific Northwest, Cam Newton and the undefeated Carolina Panthers have a tough task ahead of them on Sunday when they put their unbeaten record to the test against a tenacious Seattle Seahawks side.
According to NFLWeather.com, temperatures will be in the lower-60s with little to no wind. However, come kickoff on Sunday a light rain is expected, off and on, inside CenturyLink Field.
The Panthers already survived one rain game this season with a 37-23 victory over NFC South division rivals Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Newton only passed for 124 yards and Jonathan Stewart only rushed for 50 but the Panthers stingy defense rose to the occasion, forcing five turnovers.
Defensively, Carolina is incredibly stout when the weather gets ugly. Since 2012, according to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the team is 3-1 in the rain and surrenders on average only 15.5 points per game.
If the Panthers (4-0) have any intention of continuing their unbeaten run, they’ll need major production from Newton who historically underperforms in the rain. Prior to the win over TB, Cam has thrown at least one pick in each of his three previous weather-impacted games and posted a pathetic 34.75 QBR.
But that all changed in week four at the Buccaneers where Newton successfully avoided turning the ball over and the Panthers put a heavy emphasis on the run. Only once since 2012 has Carolina handed the ball off 20 or more times in the rain but the rushing attack was very much the focal point against Tampa. Cam lead the charge with 12 carries for 51 yards while Stewart added 10 touches for 50 and Cameron Artis-Payne even added on eight for 25. Collectively, the team finished the afternoon with 33 touches for 133 yards.
Unlike the visitors, the Super Bowl runners-up have yet to play in poor conditions this season but they’re virtually impossible to beat when the CenturyLink Field artificial turf gets slick. At home in the rain since 2012, Seattle (2-3) is a flawless 7-0. While defensively, the Legion of Boom regularly holds the opposition to less than a measly 14 ppg, it’s the offense that really shines in poor weather with an impressive 35 ppg average.
Offensively in the rain, the ‘Hawks passing game is completely unpredictable. Twice in seven damp outings has Russell Wilson dropped back 30 or more times. Conversely, in three of seven rain games he dropped back less than 19 times. Wilson does have a solid TD-to-INT ratio of 12:5.
On the other hand, the ground game is a given. If Marshawn Lynch is fully healthy, he will get 20+ touches. During Seattle’s active 7-game winning streak in the rain, the offense averages over 39 carries and only once has the offensive game plan called for handing off the pigskin less than 30 times. If Lynch can’t go, Thomas Rawls will carry the load with Fred Jackson occasionally sprinkled in.
Storming into CenturyLink and leaving with a “W” is a tall order for any visiting team to tackle. But if Carolina can score early and often, then maybe, just maybe, Cam and company can drown out the rowdy crowd in the rain and march on to a 5-0 record.
by The NFLW Team | 10-10-2015 15:00
See the Denver Bronco debate stadium rights, Warriors and A’s, 49ers with a Raider by the Bay in Oakland……Very Funny and the last in the More Animal than Human Series
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 10-09-2015 09:00
One week after Hurricane Joaquin ripped the East Coast, all 12 outdoor NFL week five matchups have sunshine and clear skies on the horizon. Both the Cincinnati Bengals and Seattle Seahawks were two of the lucky teams to avoid the torrential downpour that a handful of sides were forced to endure last Sunday.
According to NFLWeather.com, a perfect Fall afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium with temperatures in the low-70s is expected come kickoff. Winds from the South, around 8mph, shouldn’t be much of a factor.
The Russell Wilson and the Seahawks are no strangers to playing in the rain. Seattle is damp for almost the entire NFL season so the ‘Hawks will take the nice weather when they can get it. But according to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, Seattle (2-2) has played in 11 straight outdoor non-weather impacted games and posts a record of 9-2. Of those 11 games, only six times has the opposition scored double-digit points.
It’s been quite a while since the Andy Dalton’s Bengals (4-0) have played in the air or snow, as well. Cincinnati is 10-3 over their last 13 nice weather outings and 5-2 at home. Offensively, Cincy averages over 25 points per game over their last seven home games under the sun.
With an over under of 43/44, the big question becomes, will clear skies favor an aggressive passing game from the Bengal’s elite receiver corps that includes A.J. Green or will Richard Sherman and the Legion of Boom close the skies. The last time these two sides met under clear skies was September 2011 in Seattle where the Bengals routed the Seahawks, 34-12 (that’s 46 total points).
by The NFLW Team | 10-02-2015 17:00
by Will Strome, Staff Writer, NFLWeather.com | 10-02-2015 12:00
Hurricane Joaquin could potentially disrupt an NFC East divisional bout bringing roaring winds and rain on Sunday when the Washington Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles. According to NFLWeather.com, rain and 15-20 mph winds will be swirling around a soaked FedEx Field on Sunday with temperatures lingering in the high-60s. Joaquin is expected to hit the East Coast late Saturday or early Sunday and could ultimately turn a drizzle into a downpour, casting uncertainty onto NFL game plans, fantasy football line-ups and point spreads.
It doesn’t help that FedEx Field is notorious for having one of the league’s worst playing surfaces in recent years. This is the very same grass surface that was responsible for Robert Griffin III’s catastrophic knee injury. Each of the last two seasons the Redskins have considered having to re-sod the field, finally doing it in 2013.
When Mother Nature gets as ugly as the sod, so does the Washington (1-2) offense. In three rain games since 2012 according to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, the ‘Skins offense averages only nine points per game for an 0-3 record.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins started one of the three losses, a 20-6 defeat to the New York Giants where Cousins finished 19-for-49 for 169 yards and two interceptions. Only once has Cousins dropped back 49 times or more and that was last week, ironically, against the Giants in yet another loss, 32-21.
With only one rain game under his belt, Cousins shouldn’t be expected to carry the weight of the offense on his shoulders. Since 2012, Washington averages about 20 carries in weather-impacted matchups but if the ‘Skins have any chance of picking up their first rain game win since November of 2011, Alfred Morris and rookie Matt Jones will need to find some seems in the Philadelphia front seven.
The Redskins RB duo shouldn’t have much trouble establishing the run against a Philly defense that has surrendered 454 rushing yards over their last three weather related games, all of which ended in defeats. During that dismal 0-3 run in the rain, the D allowed on average over 28 points and failed to force a single turnover.
In order to have any chance of picking up a muddy road win, the Eagles (1-2) need to get the ground game going early and often. Since 2012, Philly is 3-3 in rain games but 3-0 when the running backs tally 30 or more touches. After a solid outing last week, Ryan Matthews should get a decent number of touches behind Demarco Murray with Darren Sproles sprinkled in occasionally.
Like Washington, the Eagles need to take pressure off Sam Bradford who only has one rain game to his name. In a 2012 loss to New England, Bradford fought through the rain with a 22-for-33 for 205 yards performance. He also tossed one TD and one pick.
According to USA Today Sports, the NFL is considering postponing or even moving the game to Ford Field in Detroit. If the matchup indeed plays out in Landover, the toughest opposition might be battling the nature elements to avoid a 1-3 start.
by The NFLW Team | 10-01-2015 16:00
Thursday Night Football! Cloudy with a chance of showers!
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 09-30-2015 00:00
It’s doubtful that a little rain in Pittsburgh on Thursday night will alleviate any animosity in this bitter rivalry when the Steelers host the winless Baltimore Ravens.
According to NFLWeather.com, Western PA is expecting an off and on drizzle with a high of around 53° and seven mph winds to the north come game time. Scattered showers will be rolling down from Buffalo, through the area prior to kickoff, and on to Washington D.C. so Heinz Field’s typically worn down grass surface should be even worse on Thursday night.
Pittsburgh’s already played one rain game this season and it went miserably. The opening regular season game of the NFL season saw last year’s AFC North champions get downed in New England, 28-21, with kicker Josh Scobee missing two 40+ yard field goals and the Pats’ passing attack dissecting the Pittsburgh secondary.
But, the Steelers (2-1) rebounded the following week and are typically a tough team to beat in weather-impacted games, posting an impressive 8-2 record since 2012 and 6-1 at home. When hosting in the rain, the Steelers offense averages almost 25 points per game.
However, it’s hard to forecast the Steelers offensive game plan this week with Michael Vick lining up under center. According to USA Today Sports, Ben Roethlisberger will miss a few weeks after suffering a left knee injury during last week’s 12-6 win at St. Louis. With Big Ben down, Vick is in but the veteran southpaw has been forced to fight through the natural elements a number of times since 2012.
In the rain, Vick is 2-3 over the last three seasons and his touchdown-to-interception ratio is a solid 5:1. In four of those five games, Vick dropped back 30 or more times and racked up over 190 yards in each. After watching Big Ben toss 38 attempts against the Pats in the rain, expect pass-heavy Pittsburgh to continue airing out the pigskin unless a heavy downpour looms. In which case, we know that Vick can run the ball.
The Baltimore Ravens (0-3) haven’t played in a rain game since 2013 and are 1-2 over the last three seasons.
Baltimore, like Pittsburgh, clearly does not let Mother Nature dictate the offensive play calling. In a trio of rain games, Flacco dropped back 38 times or more and threw for over 245 yards. Despite those mouthwatering fantasy numbers, Flacco averages two turnovers a game.
One side of Flacco’s game we can count on is his dependency on tight ends in poor weather matchups. In rain games, Flacco’s tight ends average 11 targets a game so expect Crockett Gillmore to have a big night. If he’s unable to play, rookie Maxx Williams will get the start against a defense that let Rob Gronkowski have a field day.
While both Pittsburgh and Baltimore favor the passing game, Le’Veon Bell and Justin Forsett will see the bulk of carries for their respective teams with Bell expected to catch a few balls out of the backfield. If Baltimore is going to land that elusive first win of the season, they’ll need Forsett to establish himself by grinding out hard-earned yards in the mud and take some of the pressure off a shaky Flacco who’s QBR of 46.5 is ranked 24th in the NFL.
While the weather forecast is changing daily, we know that Le’Veon Bell is in. Michael Vick is in, Ben Roethlisberger is out, and should they lose this week, the Baltimore Ravens are out.
by Will Strome, NFLWeather.com | 09-25-2015 21:00
Charlotte is expecting plenty of southern storms over the weekend, both before and leading up to Sunday’s NFC South Divisional matchup when Cam Newton and the Panthers host what will be a Drew Brees-less New Orleans Saints.
According to NFLWeather.com, light rains will be in the area come kickoff but scattered showers on Saturday could really make for a muddy afternoon. Roughly 5mph of wind shouldn’t be much of a factor, but. if the drizzle turns into a downpour, Sunday’s game will get incredibly sloppy on Bank of America Stadium’s grass surface.
In 2013, these two went head-to-head in the Carolina rain when Cam Newton led a fourth quarter comeback. Newton hit Domenik Hixon in the endzone with 23 seconds left to win the game, 17-13, and clinch the team’s first playoff berth since 2008.
Given, the stakes aren’t quite as high this time around, but Cam and company are aiming for a 3-0 start to the season against a Saints side that just suffered an embarrassing loss at home to last season’s bottom-feeding Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Without Drew Brees, who according to NESN will be replaced by Luke McCown, Sunday afternoon does not look bright for New Orleans, rain or shine.
Even with a healthy Brees, the Saints have plenty of reasons to worry. According to the NFLWeather.com Historical Analytics, over the last three seasons the Panthers are 2-1 in rain games and 1-0 at home. In those three matchups, the Carolina defense held opponents to only 13 points per game.
Offensively, Cam Newton has not quite been the stud we’d expect him to be in poor weather matchups with an interception in all three outings. In the win over New Orleans, he was 13-of-22 for 181 yards with one touchdown and one pick. However, in the previous two rain games prior to the Saints matchup, Cam had well over 30 passing attempts (33, 38) but recorded a dismal average QBR of 34.75.
Surprisingly, the pervious game plans haven’t really called for him to utilize his running ability. He tallied seven carries for 51 yards against Miami in 2013 but ran the ball five times or less in all other rain games. Only once since 2012 has Carolina rushed the ball more than 20 times. As expected, Jonathon Stewart will get the bulk of the Panthers carries.
New Orleans, on the other hand, is 0-3 in weather-impacted games since 2012 with a stagnant offense that’s averaged 18 points per game, well below what’s expected of that high-octane aerial attack. Defensively, the Saints surrender over 30 points per game and roughly 150 yards rushing. This is already a unit that ranks 25th overall in total defense and will likely continue their early season struggles on a damp Carolina grass field.
Fans should never write off New Orleans but it’s hard to see them slowing down a Carolina team with plenty of momentum heading into Sunday’s storm. So what was the name of that back-up Quarterback in those telephone commercials?.....Perhaps McCown is just the shot in the arm that the Saints need. They should give him a chance.
by The NFLW Team | 09-14-2015 10:00
by The NFLW Team | 09-11-2015 12:00
by The NFLW Team | 09-10-2015 21:00
NESN, The New England Sports Network, is an NFLWeather.com Partner “
by Will Strome, Staff Writer, NFLWeather.com | 09-10-2015 09:00
With 2015 NFL season kicking off, rain is expected to threaten an early showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. According to NFLWeather.com, a late summer drizzle should be rolling through the Foxborough area come kickoff.
Over the last three seasons, both teams have been dominant in weather impacted games. According to the NFLWeather.com historical analytics, New England hasn’t lost a rain game for almost three years with an impressive 5-1 record while averaging over 33 points per game. However, the Steelers have been even more commanding, posting an 8-1 record, but, averaging a full touchdown less per game with 26.5
Poor weather will lead to a last-minute game plan adjustment from two teams already without their starting running backs. Le’Veon Bell, serving a two game suspension, won’t suit up for the Steelers until week three while LeGarrette Blount will return next Sunday after serving his single game suspension.
However, neither team lets Mother Nature dictate the offensive play calling. We now know that the Pittsburgh offensive is extremely pass-heavy and in a rain or snow game, that’s no different. Over the last three seasons in nine weather-impacted games, Ben Roethlisberger has dropped back less than 30 times only twice and in one of those games he left with a shoulder injury. Excluding his early exit against Kansas City in 2012, Big Ben averages over 35 passing attempts and just under 250 yards per game. Not to mention, he’s only tossed three picks compared to his 19 touchdowns. It’s good to be “Big” when the ball is hard to grip.
The Patriots offense is arguably the most unpredictable in the league, a fantasy wild card, but it’s clear that Tom Brady throws far fewer passes in the rain compared to Big Ben Roethlisberger. The New England Patriots offense prescribes a heavier dose of ground game. The Patriots will likely use a committee of RBs featuring Brandon Bolden, Travaris Cadet and James White. Former Carolina Panther DeAngelo Williams is expected to get the bulk of the carries for Pittsburgh.
The Steelers have tallied over 30 carries in a weather impacted game only twice since 2012. The Pats hand the ball off on average 33.5 times per game. In the last three games with poor conditions dating back to December 2013, New England running backs have torched opposing defenses for 643 yards (214.3 ypg), and 10 TD’s.
But, New England’s aerial assault has done its fair share of damage as well. While Tom Brady doesn’t light up the scoreboard in the rain quite like Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Terrific protects the football. Brady tossed eight touchdowns, and like Roethlisberger, only committed three turnovers. Brady averages just under 230 yards from 34.5 passing attempts per game.
Surprisingly, in rain or snow Rob Gronkowski has seen the most targets only once during a 45-7 thrashing of St. Louis at a damp Wembley Stadium in October of 2012. According to USA Today Sports, with Julian Edelman uncertain for week one and Brandon LaFell out, Gronk should be Brady’s go-to target on Thursday Night.
If it comes down to field goals, both Pittsburgh’s Josh Scobee (3/3) and New England’s Stephen Gostkowski (3/3) have been flawless in the rain over the previous three seasons.
We’ve been hearing about DeflateGate for months now. It’s finally time to sit back and get ready for some grind-it-out football.
by The NFLW Team | 09-01-2015 12:00
by Will Strome, Columnist, NFLWeather.com | 08-26-2015 16:00
Half way through the NFL pre-season, the rosters are slowly taking shape as teams trim down the rosters to 53. So, how are the rookie quarterbacks performing?
Two weeks ago, NFLWeather.com broke down the top five rookie QBs who could have lined-up under center in week one. Let’s review how all five newbies held up through their first two exhibition games and in some of the best weather conditions they will see all year.
After a rocky debut against Minnesota, the former Florida State Seminole shined on Monday Night Football against Cincinnati, despite limping off the field in the second quarter. Removing Winston was merely precautionary so no need for Bucs’ fans to fret or fantasy footballers to alter their draft picks.
In pre-season game #1, the Vikings, downed Tampa Bay 26-16. Winston played the entire first half but struggled at times despite throwing for 131 yards. He fumbled two snaps, resulting in -19 yards, and tossed a pick. But the difference was night and day in Tampa’s 25-11 victory over the Bengals where Winston completed 8-of-13 attempts for 90 yards and a rushing touchdown. The first overall draft pick showcased his velocity, strength and pocket awareness that helped him flourish at the college-level.
Like Winston, the former Heisman Trophy winner was shaky in his first start but exceptional in his second. Mariota struggled against Atlanta who picked off the rookie early in the first quarter and forced a fumble that was returned for a TD on the very next series. The former Oregon Duck rebounded nicely, though, completing 7-of-8 attempts for 94 yards and orchestrating a touchdown drive following the turnovers.
Following his first game jitters, Mariota showed his poise against one of the toughest front sevens in the NFL, the St. Louis Rams. Mariota completed 5-of-8 attempts for 59 yards and would have thrown a touchdown had Dexter McCluster not dropped an easy ball in the end zone. But the real story was after the second play from scrimmage when Mariota’s headset malfunctioned. The rookie QB had to sprint to the sideline to communicate with coaches after every snap.
Geno Smith is out. Matt Flynn iss out. Ryan Fitzpatrick is expected to be the week one starter but Bryce Petty is still very much in the mix. If the rookie QB can continue to impress the coaching staff, he should be in the discussion to start. The kid is a proven winner and that’s something that’s been noticeably lacking in the Jets organization for quite some time.
In order to ensure Fitzpatrick will be healthy week one, the Jets have been limiting his Harvard’s snaps, allowing the former Baylor gunslinger has reaped the benefits. Thus far, Petty is 22-for-37 for 218 yards, one TD and zero picks in two games. Petty set the tone in New York’s 30-22 win over the Falcons by driving downfield in the opening series for a 10-play 51-yard drive to set up a field goal.
There’s a quarterback controversy in St. Louis but it doesn’t seem to include Sean Mannion. The record-setting Oregon State QB looks to be a lock for the third string spot while veterans Case Keenum and Austin Davis battle to be Nick Foles’ backup. But based on Mannion’s preseason performances, most would think he should 2nd string.
During the Rams’ dismal offensive performance in the 18-3 loss to Oakland, Mannion had a mediocre performance, going 8-of-13 for 53 yards. But his second start raised some eyebrows after a 27-14 victory over Tennessee. The former Beaver had a passer rating of 158.3 after completing 6-of-7 passes for 93-yards including a 54-yard TD strike to Malcolm Brown. Look for Mannion to move up the depth chart mid-season.
Green Bay suffered a massive blow to their passing game with the loss of Jordy Nelson for the season. But, that won’t affect Brett Hundley who will be the designated clipboard holder for the Packers this season.
Scott Tolzien will likely be Aaron Rodgers’ backup with Hundley pegged to ride the pine. In two games, the former UCLA stud completed 7-of-11 attempts for 79 yards including a 10-yard touchdown pass to John Crocket in a 22-11 win over the defending Super Bowl New England Patriots. Then again, Belichick doesn’t actually try to win the pre-season games. Get all of this week’s live forecasts at NFLWeather.com.
by Rick Saletta, NFLWeather.com | 08-22-2015 12:00
In week 2 of the pre-season, we have already seen the Washington Redskins offensive line breakdown on wet footing. The Redskins failure to hold the line line in the 2nd quarter led franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III to run the ball out of the pocket and the wet conditions led to a fumble. When Griffin tried to pounce on the fumble, he was hit by Lions defensive lineman, Corey Wooten, who landed on RGB IIIâ€™s head resulting concussion. Griffin will be evaluated by an independent neurologist before retuning to play. However, heâ€™ll return to face the Baltimore Ravens next week, not what you want for a QB coming off of even a slight concussion.
Similar wet conditions plus some wind will test Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Taylor Heinicke against the Oakland Raiders this weekend. Look for the undrafted rookie to keep throwing the ball as he sets his sights on the top spot on the Vikings depth chart.
Similar drizzle, although less wind, will be in the stadium for Nick Foles debut second game as a St. Louis Ram, playing against the Tennessee Titans. Look for Foles to see more time as Rams Coach Jeff Fisher uses the weather to pull his front line together and build some confidence in the new quarterback and starting unit.
On the other side of the field, Heismann Trophy Winner Marcus Mariota will make his Nashville debut. Mariotta just needs to protect the football after two turnovers in his first pre-season game. Holding onto the ball in wet weather, something that the former Oregon Duck is accustomed to, will do a lot for the rookie QB. The pigskin can feel a lot heavier in an NFL uniform. Get live forecasts for every NFL Game every hour at NFLWeather.com.
by By Will Strome, Staff Writer, NFLWeather.com | 08-14-2015 12:00
A pair of NFL franchise’s have their fates laying in the hands of two young, unproven rookie quarterbacks and it’s up to these rookie QBs to restore glory in Tennessee and Tampa Bay. Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston will gear up for the first full round of preseason games this weekend.
Since 2008, 15 rookie QB’s made their NFL career debuts during the first week of the regular season. Of those 15, only six were victorious. So what can we expect from both newcomers? Let’s down the top five (potentially) starting QB’s in the upcoming season….
#1: Tennessee Rain & Marcus Mariota:
As of Wednesday, August 13th, it was reported that Mariota has yet to throw an interception in Titan’s camp. Is this a meaningless statistic or an indication that the Titans franchise is finally ready to compete again in the AFC South?
Mariota was a top-shelf college quarterback in the high-octane Oregon offense where he rarely turned over the ball. Titans offensive coordinator Jason Michaels, who previously worked with Phillip Rivers in San Diego, runs a balanced attack and should be a comfortable offense for the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner.
Things get tougher for QB’s when the weather goes South but Mariota is no stranger to the elements. Having grown up in Hawaii and played collegiately in the Pacific Northwest, a wet weather offense part of the game plan. Remember the Ducks’ 51-13 thrashing of Arizona in the 2014 Pac-12 title game? On a drenched field in Santa Clara, CA, Mariota went 25-of-38 for 313 yards, threw two touchdowns and produced three on the ground. Mother Nature doesn’t slow this kid down.
#2: Tropical Storm Tampa & Jameis Winston:
Unlike Marcus Mariota, Seminole Heisman Winner Jameis Winston has an absolute cannon but his accuracy is less impressive. Early season INT’s are common for rookies so there’s no need for Bucs fans to panic. Just look at Andrew Luck’s debut back in 2012, the Colts were thumped 41-21 by the Bears and Luck threw three picks. Three years later, he’s arguably the best Quarterback in the league. Winston just needs some practice in the new offense. But, just last week the Buccaneers had to cancel an open practice due to heavy rain.
Having played at Florida State where afternoon showers are common, Winston has plenty of rain games under his belt. At FSU, Winston was exceptional when the weather took a turn for the worse. Last season, Winston went 22-for-33, 281 yards and a touchdown in a November downpour versus Boston College in Chestnut Hill. With a big frame and decent mobility, Winston can be a dangerous weapon on a soggy field.
#3: New York Slush & Bryce Petty:
With Geno Smith out for an extended period of time after getting sucker punched by his teammate, the New York Jets will take a long look at all their options before announcing a week one starter. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the heavy favorite to line up under center but don’t count out rookie QB Bryce Petty. The former Baylor University quarterback is a proven winner, posting a 21-4 career record and holding 31 school records, despite following in the footsteps of RG3.
In one of his most recent weather-impacted games, Petty and Baylor shelled Oklahoma State 49-28 on a damp and dreary evening. The rain didn’t slow Petty down at all, going 18-for-29, 262 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Despite being labeled as a raw talent, Petty could be the spark this sorry Jets team sorely needs. If not, there’s always the Mets.
#4: St. Louis Steam and Sean Mannion:
Currently third on the Rams depth chart, Sean Mannion is likely to be a long shot week one starter. St. Louis has added Nick Foles from Philadelphia who is the expected starter and Austin Davis is penciled in as the backup. But a strong camp from Mannion could earn him the right to take snaps with the second team and he could be called upon if Foles goes down for the second time in as many seasons.
The former Oregon State Beaver was a four-year starter and shattered school records during a torrential downpour against the Colorado Buffalo. Mannion threw for 414 yards, six touchdowns and set a single-season school record for his fifth 350-yard outing. Don’t expect to see this kind of production for Mannion any time soon, given the Rams play in a dome. And don’t forget, former Texan Case Keenum is also in the St. Louis QB mix.
#5: Green Bay Blizzards and Brett Hundley:
Without an injury to Aaron Rodgers, there’s a good chance Brett Hundley of UCLA won’t see the field this season. But, Hundley is the next man up in Green Bay.
As a Bruin, Hundley broke a number of school records but played in very few foul weather games in Southern California. Moving up to Green Bay will expose him to elements he rarely played through in college. But let’s not forget, Aaron Rodgers played at Cal.
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