NFL Divisional Round – Could Cold Be a Factor in San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers Playoff Game? – After world

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin — For much of their turbulent history, the Green Bay Packers have been unbeatable at home in the postseason.

The Packers, sustained by the minuscule temperatures of the “frozen tundra,” won each of their first 13 playoff games at Lambeau Field. Some of that mystique has evaporated since the Packers suffered their first home playoff loss to the Atlanta Falcons in 2003, as they went 7-6 since starting unbeaten.

Green Bay’s next chance to win a playoff home game comes Saturday night in the NFC divisional round when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers visit Lambeau for the first time in the postseason since Jan. 5, 2014.

Whether the weather really matters in a game like this was a popular topic this week as the Niners geared up for the Packers. That was especially true for Garoppolo, who failed to throw a pass in an NFL game with kick-off temperatures below 40 degrees, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

By Saturday night’s kick-off (8:15 p.m. ET), the temperature is expected to hover around 10 degrees, according to, and drop as the evening progresses, although it likely won’t make the top 10 list of coldest games. For reference, the last time the 49ers played a playoff game in Green Bay, the kickoff temperature was 5 degrees.

Since 2014, 101 quarterbacks have started a game with kickoff temperatures below 40 degrees, meaning this will be Garoppolo’s first, at least in the NFL. Not that he worries too much about it.

“I’ve lived in it my whole life, so there are just different possibilities [to get ready for it]’ said Garoppolo. “I think people who grew up with it and played in it for a long time, there are ways to prepare for it, things that you kind of know go into it. I think our team, we have a good attitude about this thing and we know what it’s going to be like on Saturday, so it’s going to be a damn good atmosphere.”

Before Saturday, Garoppolo came closest to throwing a pass in an NFL game loosely defined as “cold weather” during his stint as Tom Brady’s backup with the New England Patriots. The Patriots had 13 games with a kick-off temperature below 40 degrees during his tenure, but he only played three snaps in those games, all of which were kneeling.

Still, Garoppolo is no stranger to playing football in cold weather. Raised in Arlington Heights, Illinois, just three hours from Green Bay, he spent his high school and college (Eastern Illinois University) career regularly playing in the cold. The last two FCS playoff games were in 2013, which had an average of 8 degrees on those days. Garoppolo threw for 561 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception in those contests.

On the other hand, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has stood at 34-12 in games played under 40 degrees since 2014. His playoff record for such games is 4-1.

More important to Garoppolo is how the weather is affecting his injured right (throwing) thumb and shoulder. He has a torn ligament in his thumb and a sprained shoulder. The cold combined with those two injuries could affect Garoppolo’s ability to grab the ball and it’s worth watching when he scores.

Garoppolo suffered a shoulder injury against the Dallas Cowboys last week and said it affected every throw he made after that, not unlike the searing pain he feels in his thumb after each throw.

“It’s a shoulder injury, so you’re going to feel it with any kind of throw and it’s going to change things,” Garoppolo said. “It’s just like when I first got involved with my thumb. My body is learning and I have to adapt to it.”

The rest of the 49ers don’t seem overly concerned with the thought of cold weather. Coach Kyle Shanahan acknowledged he doesn’t “do well” in the cold but said it’s up to individual players how they deal with it themselves, whether that means long sleeves, long underwear or whatever is available around them to keep warm.

“The weather is cold out there, but that’s no reason to affect a game,” Shanahan said. “Wind is a much bigger factor. Rain is a bigger factor.”

Tight end George Kittle recalled 2013 when he was in Iowa and the Hawkeyes played Michigan on a day in minus 28 degrees and wind chills.

Kittle gave some tips on how best to deal with it.

“My key to staying warm is to just play, play a lot of snaps and keep your blood pumping,” Kittle said. “The heated seats and sideline heaters are probably very nice. But hey, it’s football, you can’t really use the cold as an excuse.”

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