GREEN BAY, Wis. – It will be a seasonably cold night when the Green Bay Packers host the San Francisco 49ers in Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game.
According to WBAY-TV meteorologist Steve Beylon, it will be 15 degrees with a wind chill of 6 at kickoff.
With a kickoff temperature of 15 or colder, the Packers in games started by Aaron Rodgers have won four in a row. That includes a 37-10 romp over Minnesota in Week 17.
“We think it’s Packer weather, honestly,” defensive lineman Dean Lowry said this week. “Go back to our game against Minnesota. We played great team defense. That was probably our most complete game of the year, against Minnesota in that freezing weather. We’re used to it. Even today, we were outside the whole practice. We just think it fits our strength of playing tough defense and having a quarterback and an offense that’s experienced in this weather.”
Their last cold-weather loss against Rodgers? The 2013 wild-card playoffs against San Francisco, a 23-20 loss with a kickoff temperature of 5.
Working in their favor for this game is the Packers are coming off a bye and relatively healthy while the 49ers will be traveling on a short week. The Packers opened as 4-point favorites at SI Sportsbook, 4 1/2 points at BetOnline and FanDuel, and 5 1/2 points at BetMGM. By Monday morning, line was up to 5 1/2 at SI and still 4 1/2 at FanDuel.
Both teams are hotter than the weather. The Packers had won five in a row before losing the meaningless finale at Detroit. Including its upset victory over Dallas on Sunday, San Francisco has won eight of its last 10 overall.
The Packers were the NFL’s only team to go undefeated at home, a perfect 8-0 mark. San Francisco is 9-3 on the road.
Green Bay won at San Francisco 30-28 in Week 3. The teams have changed since then, obviously. The Packers didn’t have five-time All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari for that game while the 49ers didn’t have standout running back Elijah Mitchell available. The Packers’ offensive line will be put to a test by a 49ers defensive front that posted five sacks and 14 quarterback hits against the Cowboys while limiting their running backs to a meager 2.8 yards per carry.
The Packers and 49ers have split four playoff games but Rodgers is 0-3 against his childhood favorite team in the postseason: 45-31 at San Francisco in 2012, 23-20 at Lambeau Field in 2013 and 37-20 at San Francisco in the 2019 NFC title game.
The Packers posted back-to-back-to-back 13-win seasons, a first in NFL history. It won coming out of their playoff bye in 2019 (28-23 vs. Seattle) and 2020 (vs. the Rams). The home team is 14-2 in the divisional round the last four years.
NFL Divisional Playoffs Schedule
Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans, 3:30 p.m. (CBS)
San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers, 7:15 p.m. (Fox)
Arizona Cardinals/Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2 p.m. (NBC)
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs, 5:30 p.m. (CBS)
Coldest Lambeau Field Games
Jan. 2, 2022: Packers 37, Vikings 10
Kickoff temperature: 11. With quarterback Kirk Cousins on the COVID list, the Vikings didn't stand a chance. Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and AJ Dillon ran for two touchdowns. Green Bay outgained its rival 481-206 to clinch homefield advantage in the NFC playoffs.
There have been 11 games played at Lambeau Field with a kickoff temperature of less than 10 degrees. Those are in the following slides.
Dec. 8, 2013: Packers 22, Falcons 21
Kickoff temperature: 9. The Packers trailed 21-10 at halftime but rallied in the second half behind Matt Flynn, who finished 24-of-32 passing for 258 yards and the winning touchdown to Andrew Quarless. Jarrett Bush’s interception clinched the victory.
Dec. 11, 1988: Packers 18, Vikings 6
Kickoff temperature: 6. Don Majkowski came off the bench and threw the clinching touchdown pass to Patrick Scott. Perry Kemp caught six passes for 108 yards and Tim Harris had two sacks, including a safety, as Green Bay ruined the Vikings' NFC Central championship hopes.
Dec. 4, 1977: Packers 10, Lions 9
Kickoff temperature: 6. The Packers ran the ball 52 times and threw nine passes (two of which were intercepted). Nate Simpson carried 22 times for 76 yards and Willard Harrell scored Green Bay’s only touchdown, a 2-yarder in the first quarter.
Jan. 5, 2014: 49ers 23, Packers 20
Kickoff temperature: 5. For the second consecutive postseason, Colin Kaepernick crushed the Packers. He threw for 277 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 98 yards. In the fourth quarter, he threw a 28-yard touchdown to Vernon Davis and drove the Niners to a walk-off, 33-yard field goal.
Jan. 12, 1997: Packers 30, Panthers 13
Kickoff temperature: 3. The Panthers struck first but the Packers crushed the Panthers thereafter to win the NFC Championship and get to Super Bowl XXXI. Brett Favre threw touchdown passes to Dorsey Levens and Antonio Freeman. Favre finished with 292 passing yards and Edgar Bannett and Levens led Green Bay to 201 rushing yards.
Dec. 7, 2008: Texans 24, Packers 21
Kickoff temperature: 3. Matt Schaub threw for 414 yards and two touchdowns and Steve Slaton rushed for 120 yards. Starting at their 3 with 1:49 to go, the Texans cruised down the field to set up Kris Brown’s 40-yard field goal on the final play.
Dec. 22, 1990: Lions 24, Packers 17
Kickoff temperature: 3. The Lions scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter – a 22-yard fumble return by Ray Crockett and a 6-yard run by Barry Sanders – to rally past the Packers. Sanders rushed for 133 yards; Ed West had 103 receiving yards for Green Bay.
Nov. 28, 1976: Bears 16, Packers 10
Kickoff temperature: 2. Carlos Brown threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Payne to tie the score in the third quarter, but Bob Thomas booted two short field goals for the decisive points. Walter Payton outrushed John Brockington 110-15.
Dec. 26, 1993; Packers 28, Raiders 0
Kickoff temperature: 0. Green Bay’s defense led the charge with eight sacks and four takeaways and scored a rather famous touchdown by LeRoy Butler – the first-ever Lambeau Leap. Sterling Sharpe had seven catches for 119 yards and one touchdown.
Jan. 20, 2008: Giants 23, Packers 20 (OT)
Kickoff temperature: minus-1. Donald Driver’s 90-yard touchdown catch helped Green Bay lead 10-6 at halftime. After Lawrence Tynes kicked a 36-yard field goal on the final play of regulation to force overtime, Brett Favre was intercepted on the second play of the extra period. Tynes booted a 47-yard field goal a few plays later to win the game.
Brett Favre is ushered off the field following what would be his final game as Packers quarterback.
Dec. 31, 1967: Packers 21, Cowboys 17
Kickoff temperature: minus-13. In the most famous game in NFL history, the Packers won their third consecutive championship on Bart Starr’s quarterback sneak. Green Bay led 14-0 on Starr’s touchdown passes of 8 and 46 yards to Boyd Dowler but fell behind 17-14 on Dan Reeves’ 50-yard touchdown pass to Lance Rentzel.
By temperature, the Ice Bowl was the coldest game in NFL history. Minus-13 was downright tropical compared to the minus-18 by game's end.
Two weeks later, the Packers beat the Oakland Raiders 33-14 in Super Bowl II.