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Tundra Will Be Frozen for Packers’ Playoff Game

It's obviously early, but here's the forecast for next weekend's NFC divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – For the Green Bay Packers, last year’s NFC Championship Game was a dream scenario. With a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had to travel from Florida to the Frozen Tundra of Green Bay.

There was only one problem. With a kickoff temperature of 29, the tundra was barely frozen. The Buccaneers upset the Packers and won the Super Bowl in their toasty hometown.

It could be a different story when the Packers host a divisional playoff game next weekend.

According to meteorologist Luke Sampe of Green Bay television station WFRV, the temperature next Saturday afternoon will be in the midteens, with wind chills in the single digits. It will be even colder next Sunday, with highs in the single digits and wind chills below zero.

In the divisional round, the games on Saturday, Jan. 22, will begin at 3:35 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. On Sunday, Jan. 23, the games will kick off at 2:05 p.m. and 5:40 p.m.

The Packers will face the lowest remaining seed from this weekend’s wild-card games. Assuming No. 6 San Francisco doesn’t upset No. 3 Dallas or No. 7 Philadelphia doesn’t shock No. 2 Tampa Bay in one of the Sunday games, the Packers would host the winner of No. 5 Arizona at No. 4 Los Angeles.

The Cardinals-Rams game will be played on Monday night; it’s hard to believe the NFL would send the winner of that game to Green Bay to play the following Saturday. If there is an upset on Sunday, that team potentially could play at Green Bay the following Saturday. If the league puts that game in the primetime slot, the low on Saturday night could dip below zero.

When the Packers beat the Vikings on Monday night to cap Week 17, it was 11 at kickoff and 6 by game’s end.

“It’s about keeping your head and your hands warm when the weather dips below 10,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said before that game. “I think the sweet spot where it’s not as big of a deal is probably between 32 and 10. When it gets below 10, then the ball definitely becomes a little bit slicker, but we’ve had a lot of success over the years throwing it in this type of environment. It’s about keeping your hands warm and your head warm, and then not just sitting on that heated bench for too long because the difference between being super-warm on the bench and being cold on the field is a little drastic, so you’ve got to watch that.”

As the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the Packers can watch the NFL’s other powers slug it out from the comfort of their couch. But they will practice, as usual, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week – outdoors to get readjusted to the elements after playing in comfy Ford Field on Sunday.

“We’ll get our three good days of practice in,” coach Matt LaFleur said on Monday. “They’re not going to be long practices, but we’re going to get back outside. Obviously, last week, we spent all week indoors, so we want to get our guys back acclimated to the different climate. It’s going to be pretty cold, I suspect. I know when we got off that plane last night it was pretty cold here. So, it’ll be a good three days. Just want to make sure our guys stay sharp mentally and get as much conditioning in as we can while also getting the rehab or whatever it may be to get everybody back to as full strength as you can possibly be.”