Packers.com Editor Vic Ketchman says yes.
Let’s see, of the five NFC teams that have clinched playoff berths, one of them is from California and three others play in domes. Should the Cowboys beat the Giants this weekend, a fourth dome team would join the six-team NFC playoff field. That’s why I keep saying anybody but the Giants, which would be the only cold-weather, non-dome in the NFC playoffs other than the Packers.
A dome team playing in Lambeau in January? That’s Lambeau Field, as in the “Ice Bowl.” No, it’s not a trick question.
Of course cold weather would add to the Packers’ home-field advantage. Here are some reasons the Packers would benefit from cold weather in the playoffs:
Their quarterback, Aaron Rodgers has one of the strongest arms in the game. He’s accustomed to playing in cold, windy conditions and he’s consistently won in that weather.
Some of the teams in the NFC playoff field don’t have a quarterback with the kind of arm strength cold and windy conditions demand.
The Packers defense could use a little help from its weather friend.
Because these are the Green Bay Packers, the very symbol of cold-weather football.
Because when the plane carrying the visitors lands in Wisconsin and the door opens, the blast that’s likely to hit the out-of-town boys in the face will weaken their resolve.
Don’t tell me about recent postseason failures at Lambeau Field. Those were different teams with a different quarterback. This team proved its grit last season when it won three consecutive playoff games on the road.
These Packers have a tough-minded coach, a poised quarterback and rugged players of leadership that’ll wear the short sleeves in any temperature.
Lambeau’s icy cold is real. Take it from someone that lived in Florida for 16 years. Unless a team is accustomed to playing in truly cold weather, it’s likely to become a distraction. You can’t stop thinking about it. Instead of thinking about the next play, you’re thinking about the next heater. I hate to walk to the mail box.
The Raiders recently played on a cold day in Lambeau. They played in Miami the previous week. How did that work for them?
How do warm-weather teams duplicate these conditions in preparation for a game in Green Bay? They don’t.
A dome team from the north, such as the Lions, can practice outside the week of the game, but practicing in harsh conditions can wear a team down. A team from the north that’s accustomed to playing outdoors, however, will stay indoors all week and preserve its strength.
I was thinking about calling each of the teams that have clinched playoff berths or can still clinch playoff berths, and ask them if they wanna play in Green Bay in January, but I knew what they’d say so I’ll just answer for them: No.
Packers.com Staff Writer Mike Spofford says no.
It depends on your definition of cold, but I certainly don’t think any extreme weather conditions would favor the Packers.
This is a precision-passing offense predicated on timing and crisp execution. Really cold weather, even if it isn’t windy, won’t help the Packers do what they do best.
I’m not going to say the Packers would be better off in a dome in the playoffs, because I think the home crowd and the overall atmosphere of Lambeau will work to Green Bay’s advantage. The Packers are 18-1 in their last 19 games at home, and only a handful of those games have been in cold weather. This team is tough to beat at home, period.
I think some mild winter weather, like Christmas night against the Bears, when the temperature was in the 30s and wind chill in the 20s, would be ideal. That’s not cold enough to throw the Packers off their game, but it’s still going to feel cold to any of those dome teams – Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, New Orleans – that might visit Lambeau. Even the northern California 49ers wouldn’t be used to that.
That’s enough of an edge when you throw in the home crowd. I don’t want to see anything extreme, like single digits and below-zero wind chills. Not with the way this Green Bay team plays.
Remember, two dome teams have come into Lambeau Field and beaten the Packers in the playoffs in the past decade – Atlanta in the 2002 postseason and Minnesota two years later. The conditions weren’t extreme in either case, but worse weather wasn’t going to help the Packers then. Green Bay just played poorly in those games and paid the price. The Packers need to be able to play their best game to win, and for these Packers their best game is when the weather conditions won’t hinder the passing attack.
The weather advantage for northern teams is overrated. Earlier this decade, Carolina and Tampa Bay both went into Philadelphia and won NFC Championship Games in January. New Orleans didn’t lose the NFC title in Chicago five years ago because it was cold. The Saints lost that game because the Bears were the better, more seasoned team.
The Packers will have an advantage playing at home. The Lambeau crowd hasn’t experienced a postseason game in four years, and never with Aaron Rodgers as the starting quarterback. The atmosphere will be second to none, and the high-powered, high-octane offense will look to ride that wave.
Really cold weather won’t add to the swell, and it might present an obstacle to Rodgers and Co.
What do you think?