Titans of Tundra vs. King of Cold

Against most warm-weather teams, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers would have an advantage on a 27-degree day. That might not help against Tom Brady.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – With a predicted high temperature of 27, the tundra will be frozen for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.

In theory, that should be to the Green Bay Packers’ advantage against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After all, it’s going to be 50 degrees warmer in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday. But the reality is the Buccaneers have the King of the Cold, Tom Brady.

In games with a kickoff temperature of 27 or colder, Brady is an amazing 19-3 with 48 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and 11 games with a 100-plus passer rating. In his last cold-weather start, he won at Kansas City 37-31 in overtime in the 2018 AFC Championship Game.

“Just got to have some mental toughness and wear some warm clothes and be ready to go,” Brady said after beating New Orleans. “It’s chilly, man. That’s January football in the Northeast, Midwest. We’ll be prepared.”

In games of 27 or colder, Rodgers is 17-4 since taking over as the starter in 2008 (not including the 2018 finale vs. Detroit, when he was knocked out with a first-quarter concussion). He’s won his last six cold-weather starts by throwing 12 touchdowns vs. zero interceptions.

Green Bay’s advantage comes in living in the climate. As any cold-weather resident can attest, a 27-degree day in January feels a lot warmer than a 27-degree day in early November. This will be the Packers’ seventh consecutive game with a temperature of less than 40.

For the Buccaneers, it was 39 for a night game at the Giants on Nov. 2 and 40 for the playoff game at Washington.

In four consecutive January home playoff wins, Rodgers has thrown 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions. His 108.3 rating vs. the Rams was the lowest of those games. In the last five seasons of December and January home games, he’s thrown an absurd 30 touchdowns vs. one interception, good for a 110.1 rating.

Since 2010, the home team in the playoffs is 15-10 when there’s been a kickoff temperature of 30 or colder. Two of those road wins were authored by Green Bay, when it beat Philadelphia 21-16 and Chicago 21-14 en route to winning the Super Bowl in 2010.

“It’s a world of difference,” receiver Davante Adams said recently. “People play different, people act different, they talk different. Everything [is different] coming through Lambeau.

“You can come in and try to bark and be barefoot pregame, shirt off and do whatever you want to do but, at the end of the day, it’s a beast playing in that snow, it’s a beast playing in that weather. Just being in that environment, it takes people’s confidence away. It’s not going to be easy but it gives us a tremendous amount of confidence knowing we’re at home. And from what I’ve seen in the past, it’s taken that confidence away from our opponents.”