NFC North

How will the Freezing Temperature Affect the NFC Wildcard Game in Minnesota?

Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 3, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

With the football world completely adapting to the high powered passing offenses of the next generation, it’s difficult to find a team that is committed to the ground and pound offenses of the past.

In one of the NFC Playoff matchups this weekend, both teams may be forced to revert to focusing strictly on running the ball. The Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks are playing at 1 o’clock Sunday afternoon in Minnesota.

The expected high for the afternoon is a slightly chilly 4 degrees. With the wind chill, there are possible temperatures of -16.

This is where running the ball comes into play. When it’s this cold it becomes significantly more difficult for the quarterback to grip the ball and get his usual zip on it because it becomes much slicker than usual. Receivers don’t like catching balls when it’s this cold either, as every hard thrown ball stings just that much more.

Adrian Peterson came into the 2015 season off of his year-long suspension, and hasn’t appeared to lose a step. He led the NFL in rushing yards this season, but struggled in his game against Seattle earlier in the season.

Seattle’s defense buckled down in that first matchup, holding Peterson to a season low 18 yards. This really was the turning point in the Seahawks’ season as their defense has not let up since.

Head coach, Pete Carroll, commented on how the team has played since that point, “The defense allowed us to kind of regain our stride and play some good football and it took off a little bit”.

K.J. Wright and Michael Bennett are going to have their hands full attempting to slow Peterson down.

If they are able to hinder the run game, they shouldn’t have too much trouble taking care of business against Teddy Bridgewater. The Vikings are 1-5 when they have been held under 113 yards rushing this year.

Minnesota’s defense may be in trouble facing the ground game as well, with Marshawn Lynch supposedly ready to play for the first time in seven weeks following hernia surgery.

Seattle’s offensive line coach, Tom Cable, discussed Lynch’s work ethic to get back for his team, “I think he’s done a great job of recognizing where this team is at and their vibe, and he’s come right in and went to work and it’s been really good”.

Minnesota only has the 17th ranked rush defense in the NFL, but they have one more advantage up their sleeve on Sunday. The Vikings’ bench is on the sunny side of the field, while Seattle will be in the shade for the entire game. At another game this season, the difference in temperatures was 20 degrees.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this game pans out, and if both teams are able to leave the field without any cases of frostbite.Pet

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