With the holiday season in full effect, there’s also a lot of winter NFL weather impacting the slate this week. With seven games having totals in the 30s, the weather is wreaking havoc already. Most notably, New Orleans at Cleveland has a total of 32.5, the lowest in an NFL game since 2012. For context, Army vs. Navy in college football is the poster child for low totals, and this year’s game had an over/under of 32.
With six games showing meaningful weather effects, best of luck weathering the storms this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets
The Thursday Night Football game won’t be one where a winter storm impacts, but with rain and winds in the area, it’s probably going to help the Jets. Given Jacksonville’s relative advantage in QB play, they’re not going to like a game where the rain forces both teams into a more run-heavy script.
Given the rain, it’s likely a game where running backs are going to be important, so keep that in mind when looking at prop markets.
NFL Weather Forecast: Rain in forecast, with 16MPH winds and 50F kickoff temperature.
Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears
Here the weather is forecast to play a role, but it’s not clear that it will. The Bills have shown they can play in cold and wind and still score at will, as they did in the Wild Card round last year against New England. It doesn’t appear that the winds will hit the level they did in that Buffalo-New England Monday Night game where the Bills lost the ability to effectively pass, and if that holds, this might not limit the Bills much.
That said, if it does, the Bears are more live the more the elements get involved, given their increased reliance on the run game and on Justin Fields’ legs.
Forecast: 6F temperature at kickoff, with 18MPH winds
New Orleans Saints at Cleveland Browns
This is the NFL weather game of the week. This game has the lowest total of the week and the lowest since 2012, as the combination of below average offenses and horrible weather congregate in Cleveland. In case you are curious, 28 is the lowest over/under since record keeping started in 1979, according to StatMuse, but there’s never been a game this century with a total lower than 30.5.
With the Browns Stadium right on the water, the combination of high winds, lake fog, and cold temperatures going to wreak havoc. With the Saints floundering to score any points in good weather these days and the Browns looking like they’d be better off without their disgraced new signal caller, even a 32.5 total might be high if winds are high and nobody can see in front of them.
The high winds have led to increased speculation that more Taysom Hill running the ball at QB for the Saints would be wise, but that has not been confirmed.
Forecast: 25-35 MPH winds with gusts near 50 MPH, 9F temperature, and high risk of fog
Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots
The Bengals will be hoping these wind numbers fall a bit, because the windier it gets in Foxborough, the more it could disrupt what should be a fairly easy matchup. In normal circumstances, the Bengals should be able to carve up the Patriots, and even with this wind it should be relatively easy to do so. The winds might knock out of some of Burrow’s long ball arsenal, but it’s not like getting Jamar Chase in space and letting him run will be affected by some winds. Especially as Burrow is an Ohio kid, this won’t phase him, but might phase southerner Mac Jones.
Forecast: 14MPH winds and 22F temperature.
Atlanta Falcons at Baltimore Ravens
Here, the Ravens should have a big advantage, conditional on Lamar Jackson actually coming back this week. The Falcons will be the most one dimensional offense in the league as they try and avoid having Desmond Ritter throw them out of this game, but the Ravens’ rush heavy, option reliant offense will be able to create running lanes without much concern. If Lamar’s back, or even if Huntley plays and is willing to run again, then the option should neutralize the wind effects on offense for them while hurting the Falcons.
Forecast: 16F and 16MPH winds.
Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Penguins
Here Vegas probably has the advantage, because this is going to be a running fest, and Josh Jacobs is the better running back at this point. With winds up, both teams are probably going to revert to more run heavy schemes, especially for the Raiders as to neutralize the Steelers’ pass rush. Pittsburgh will be fine with less Kenny Pickett passes, making this reliant on which running back can do better.
NFL Weather Forecast: 13MPH winds, 11F temperature.