Cold Weather Games Impact on Warm Climate Teams

Jairo Alvarado

As the Las Vegas Raiders enter the 2020 NFL season, one topic that was brought to light last year by ex-Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio was Derek Carr's production in cold-weather games.

While his record is not pleasing, it is a team sport, and Carr's production is not the only factor to take into account for the lack of wins.

Jack Del Rio's comments on Twitter said: "It is definitely a team game and I'm hoping DC comes thru, plays well and helps his team earn a piece of 1st place in the AFC west! But the fact remains he hasn't played well in cold weather," and added that Carr doesn't like cold weather games.

Del Rio was not the only one to criticize Carr. ESPN's Trey Wingo, backed Del Rio with stats, during the middle of the season.

In defense, the Raiders, who were the highest traveled team in the NFL, including a trip to London, traveled a total of 32,023 miles in 2019

More than the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants and New York Jets combined (23,552), and the Raiders were the only team in the NFL last year to travel more than 30,000 miles.

That Raiders team was plagued with injuries all year long, and by the end of the season, the team ran out of players to plug in at the wide receiver and linebacker positions.

"I think the cold weather is one thing," Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. "We got to prove that we can exercise that demon. We got to play better in bad weather. I remember when I went to Tampa Bay and we hadn't won a game in the history of the franchise in temperatures that were below 40 degrees. And every single game we played, that's all we heard. And we're going to continue to hear it until we prove as a west coast team that we can go out on a cold day and win."

Carr went out to finish the 2019 season with a loss in Denver, adding another loss to his record. He stands at 2-11 all-time in temperatures 50 degrees or below and 0-6 with degrees below 40. But is it truly his record or a Raiders record? The onus is on the team and unfairly put only on the signal-caller.

The Raiders' schedule includes five games expected to be played in cold weather, and below, we explain what can happen.

Week 3

The Raiders visit the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. It might not be Foxboro Stadium, but Gruden hasn't forgotten the "Tuck Rule" and anticipates revenge.

This game quickly turned in a different direction as the Patriots signed Cam Newton to a one-year deal. The Patriots defense continues to look like the team's strength heading into the season. It sure will be a tough one for Carr and the Raiders to pull off a win.

Week 5

The Raiders will take on the defending NFL champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. The first meeting of the season will be a fun one in Arrowhead, following Patrick Mahomes record-breaking contract. It can sure get chilly early in October at Arrowhead Stadium, but the Raiders hope they can run away with an upset and head into their bye week in high hopes.

Week 8

The Raiders will travel to Cleveland and take on the Browns. Please don't sleep on the Browns, as although they have a new coaching staff, they have plenty of star power on both sides of the field. This might be where they can pick up their first cold weather win, if they haven't already done so.

Week 13

The Raiders will revisit the New York Jets once again in back-to-back years. We know how things quickly escalated last year, let's hope things don't repeat itself. Derek Carr and company might be looking at a playoff run, and the Jets should not be considered lightly. It might seem like another trap game, but this year, the Raiders should be well prepared not to let this game slip out of their hands.

Week 17

Once again, the Raiders will close out the regular season in Denver. While things did not finish so well last year, the Raiders defense was running out of men to put on the field, and the officiating crew was not helping the Raiders.

If everything goes well, expect the Raiders to come on top, finish the season strong.

The projection of winning three-of-five games seems reasonable at this point. Things could change, both on the Raiders and their opponents' side. With a healthy team and loaded new weapons, Raider Nation can expect Carr and company to get out of that hole and win in cold-weather games.

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