For the third time this year, NFL fans are being treated to a matchup between the Patriots and the Bills. The teams split the season series 1-1 with each road team winning and will now meet for a grudge match with each’s season on the line.
The game will be held at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. — home of the Bills, which is right nearby Buffalo — and once again, it appears that both teams will be dealing with some interesting weather in this win-or-go-home game.
The last time these two teams squared off in Buffalo, the weather was extreme. There were wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour during New England’s 14-10 win that saw the team attempt just three passes with rookie quarterback Mac Jones.
The weather won’t be that crazy this time around, but the Bills and Patriots are still going to have to deal with very cold conditions and the unpredictable nature of Buffalo-area weather in this contest.
Here’s a look at the forecast for the Saturday night clash between the Bills and Patriots.
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Bills vs. Patriots weather updates, forecast
The Bills-Patriots game is highly likely to take place during single-digit weather — at the highest. The high temperature for Saturday in Orchard Park is just 10 degrees Fahrenheit while the low is 2 degrees Fahrenheit, per Weather.com. Maybe it will warm up slightly more than expected, but no matter what, it will be very cold around game time.
The good news for the two teams is that the wind won’t be nearly as bad this time as it was the last. The wind is supposed to blow at an average of 5 to 10 mph on Saturday night, so it won’t have an immense impact on the game, unlike the last time these two met in Buffalo.
That said, the wind could make it a bit harder to kick, and Jones might have some issues throwing if the gusts of wind get high enough. It also could provide a wind chill that will make it feel like the players are playing in sub-zero temperatures. If that happens, it may make it slightly hard to catch the ball. It’s not a huge concern, but it’s worth monitoring.
The same can be said of rain and snow. It was originally expected to be a potential snow game, but there is now just a 5 percent chance of precipitation. Perhaps a mini-squall will breakthrough off Lake Erie for some lake-effect snow, but for now, it seems likely that the bitter cold will have the biggest impact on this contest.
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How Patriots, Bills are preparing for cold-weather conditions
Neither the Patriots nor the Bills seem particularly worried about the cold weather. They are both preparing for the contest as they normally would and are just mentally preparing for it to be cold.
“I’m more worried about the Bills than the weather,” Bill Belichick said Wednesday, per The Boston Herald. “I think the Bills are what we have to focus on, and that’s who we have to beat. The weather is the weather.”
Classic Belichick. That said, it sounds like the Patriots are, unsurprisingly, going to rely heavily on their running game to keep their offense moving. That doesn’t mean Jones won’t throw or will only throw three times, but Josh McDaniels thinks the best way to win is to run the ball.
“Our running game, I think for the most part, has been fairly effective,” McDaniels said. “And we know at this time of year — it doesn’t matter what the weather is, doesn’t matter who the opponent — being able to run the football and being able to stop the run and being able to cover kicks … are an important part of winning.”
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Meanwhile, the Bills aren’t planning any significant changes to their offense. Josh Allen is still preparing to air the ball out and isn’t going to change too much about his delivery.
“I think the second you start messing with mechanics and stuff, especially this late in the season, it only tends to make things worse,” Allen said to NewYorkUpstate.com. “You just gotta trust guys out there, you gotta trust yourself and what you’re seeing and what you’re throwing, and go based on that. It’s gonna be hard for both teams to catch the ball.”
Stefon Diggs agreed with Allen, and added that playing in freezing weather is nothing new for the Bills.
“It’s just going to be so cold, bro. My fingers get cold, toes get cold,” Diggs said. “As soon as you come off [the field the trainers are] like, ‘Do you need a coat?’ And you’re just like, ‘Nah, get away from me.’ But they’re always there for me, so I feel like I’ll be fine. … I’m not too much of a complainer, and I played in one of the coldest games in history, like when we played in the playoffs vs. Seattle at the Minnesota Gophers stadium. It was like negative something. So this ain’t nothing. I’ll be alright.”