We’re getting to the point in the NFL season where the weather tends to have more of an impact on games, especially in cold-weather NFL cities. We could see that happen tonight in the Bills vs. Patriots game.
The AFC East showdown is set to begin at 8:15 p.m. ET in the Bills’ home of Buffalo, N.Y. The weather in Buffalo can be pretty nasty in December. While it’s not overly cold in the city for early December, both teams could be battling the elements in this one. Namely, the wind.
Indeed, it is going to be very breezy on Monday night in Buffalo. It won’t be quite as insane as the “Wind Bowl” game of 2008 that featured both of these teams, but safe to say that quarterbacks might have more trouble than usual throwing accurate passes.
Mix in a little potential for rain or, possibly, snow, and the weather could end up having a major impact on this one.
Here’s a look at the Buffalo weather forecast and how it might affect the Patriots and Bills on “Monday Night Football.”
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Bills vs. Patriots weather updates
As mentioned, the biggest problem for the Bills and the Patriots is going to be the wind. There is currently a wind advisory — issued by the U.S. National Weather Service — in effect for Buffalo and the surrounding areas, per Weather.com.
The advisory states that there will be, “Southwest winds 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 55 mph” on Monday. It is in effect until at least 10 p.m. ET.
Here’s a look at what that type of wind looks like from a broadcast booth at Highmark Stadium.
That type of consistent wind will certainly affect how teams are able to pass and kick on Monday night, especially in the first half. As such, this may be a more ground-dominant game than expected early, or teams might at least be limited to the short passing game.
The wind isn’t the only potential weather issue, however. There is a slight chance there could be some precipitation in this game, be it rain or snow. The forecast calls for a 24 percent chance of rain at some point during the day in Buffalo. That falls to just a 9 percent chance or lower starting at 7 p.m. ET, but that still leaves a chance.
It is going to be about 36 degrees when the game kicks off, so it’s unclear whether any precipitation would be rain or snow. It could also be a classic wintery mix, which starts as snow but melts before it hits the ground.
Still, whatever it is will be secondary to the wind as an obstacle in this one.
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How the Patriots, Bills are preparing for the weather
Neither the Patriots nor the Bills seemed to do anything too out of the ordinary to prepare for the inclement weather on Monday night.
Bill Belichick spoke about the weather earlier in the week and essentially explained that the Patriots won’t zero in on any particular weather-related adjustments until they get on the field.
“I would say, on the weather, we don’t really spend a lot of time on that,” Belichick said, per SI.com. “We practice in a variety of conditions from the start of training camp to the end of the preseason, so whenever they come up, they come up. We learn from those. Those may or may not be what we get that particular week. Somewhere along the line, it could come into play. We talk about that, how it would affect certain plays, situations and ball handling. It’s kind of a continual conversation we have on that.”
Belichick further explained that the Patriots are at an advantage in the weather category, as the New England area is known for its unpredictable weather. So, the Patriots have seen most of the forms of bad weather that they could see any given week.
“I don’t think there’s too much we haven’t seen,” Belichick said. “We haven’t seen a lot of snow this year, but I don’t know what we could do about that. We practice in the wind. We practice on sunny days, cloudy days, windy days, calm days, hot days, cold days, wet days, dry days. What’s it going to be? Whatever it is, it is, and if we haven’t done it, then we’ll adjust to it. We’ve dealt with almost everything.”
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The Bills appear to be taking a largely similar approach. Sean McDermott didn’t say much about the weather at all in the lead-up to the game, so it appears that the Bills are preparing as they normally would for a game in their unpredictable home stadium.
Tight end Dawson Knox seemed to indicate that if the wind is bad, the Bills may have an advantage. Why? Because Josh Allen’s arm strength may allow him to cut through the wind better than that of Mac Jones.
“When you can throw like he can, he can cut through the wind no matter how strong it’s going,” Knox said, per the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. “Also, the forecast has changed three times in the last three days, you know how Orchard Park is. So, by game time there might be zero mile per hour winds. If for some reason it’s a tornado out there on the field, we’ll have to run the ball a little bit better. But we have confidence and Josh, all the confidence in the world, that he’ll be able to get the job done no matter if it’s 30 mile per hour winds or zero.”
Knox had better hope he’s right, as it seems like the winds will be far closer to 30 mph than zero mph on Monday night.