One of the coldest weekends in NFL history could be in store for teams across the country starting on Christmas Eve, as a bomb cyclone hits the eastern two-thirds of the country.
Cities like Cleveland, Nashville and Charlotte could see their lowest RealFeel temperatures in years, creating a chilling slate of games that could determine the playoff fates of multiple teams.
Bomb Cyclone? Bomb Cyclone.
Where are all these low temperatures coming from? Canada, said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brian Thompson. As a storm pattern known as the Bomb Cyclone settles in the eastern half of Canada, cold air has been sent into the United States with numbing winds.
A bomb cyclone is a rapidly strengthening storm. With any storm, atmospheric pressure drops, but in bomb cyclones, this pressure drops particularly rapidly. This causes high winds over a wide area, as the rapidly rising air near the center of the storm must be replaced by the air surrounding the storm.
“The fuel for all these cold games is a huge storm called a bomb cyclone because of how quickly it’s building up,” Thompson said. Athleticism. “There’s just all this cold air flowing from Canada to most of the Midwest, across the plains and east, quite far south, even across Florida. That’s what caused all the wind and that’s what will continue to cause all the wind, especially on Saturday.
Here’s what to expect in each game:
New Orleans at Cleveland, 1 p.m. Saturday
Northern cities will naturally be the hardest hit by the unforgiving temperatures, and players arriving from The Big Easy will have to adapt quickly to single-digit temperatures and brutal winds.
According to Thompson, the temperature at kickoff will be 8 degrees and will only reach 11 degrees by the end of the game. The RealFeel will persist between minus 20 and minus 15. Thompson added that winds will hit FirstEnergy Stadium from the southwest, likely forcing one team to throw there at a time. Expect this to influence draw decisions.
Buffalo at Chicago, 1 p.m. Saturday
They don’t call it the Windy City for nothing. Kickoff temperatures will be even colder than in Cleveland, around 6 degrees, while probably not going above 10 degrees. The wind will drop RealFeel temperatures to 20 degrees below zero for the Bills and Bears.
While both teams should generally be used to wintry weather, there’s no way to prepare for the type of winds that will hit Soldier Field.
“The wind is coming from the west, so it will be a crosswind that is not ideal to pass, with gusts of up to 30-35 mph in Chicago,” Thompson said.
Atlanta at Baltimore, 1 p.m. Saturday
Further east in Baltimore, a pair of teams up to their backup quarters will also have to get creative with their play call. With a starting temperature of 16 degrees, wind gusts reaching up to 30 mph will drop the RealFeel to about zero, Thompson said.
Neither Falcons rookie Desmond Ridder nor Ravens starter Tyler Huntley have thrown touchdown passes this season, and those conditions may not be ripe for their firsts.
Detroit at Carolina, 1 p.m. Saturday
In Charlotte, North Carolina, the Lions will face temperatures below 30 degrees at kickoff and a RealFeel that will linger in the 20s throughout the game as they hope to continue their late hot run. of the season.
“The wind will be the biggest impact by far,” Thompson said of Saturday’s games. “I know especially with players throwing money on over/unders, I know the unders are low enough already.”
Houston at Tennessee, 1 p.m. Saturday
Further south, fans of cities like Nashville, Tennessee won’t escape the wintry weather either. With a kick-off temperature of 16 degrees that can only rise to 21 degrees by the end of the match, fans should expect to dress in layers.
On the field, 15-25 mph winds are sure to play a role for the Texans and Titans as well.
“By Nashville standards, that probably equates to about a foot of snow in Cleveland and Chicago,” Thompson joked.
Cincinnati at New England, 1 p.m. Saturday
Negative RealFeel temperatures can also be found in Foxboro, Massachusetts. As the Bengals and Patriots play, temperatures will linger in the high teens while 40 mph winds will feel like minus 10.
This wind will also blow from the southwest, creating a crosswind effect that will affect both teams throughout the game.
Las Vegas at Pittsburgh, 8:25 p.m. Saturday
Come Saturday night, the weather won’t get much friendlier at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh. As the Raiders and Steelers face off, winds from the storm will be blowing at 15-25 mph, making the 12-degree temperature feel more like 5-10 degrees below freezing.
Green Bay at Miami, 1 p.m. Sunday
How’s that for a Christmas present? Windy conditions in the Sunshine State! Green Bay may have the conditions advantage as a road team, as a kickoff temperature of 53 degrees probably won’t go much higher.
“The Packers will think it’s a heat wave, but we have a high of 57 in Miami on Sunday, so by Miami standards it’s a very cold day,” Thompson said.
(Photo: Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)