NFL Weather: Wet AFC Championship Game in Baltimore?
- Once again, the weather could throw a monkey wrench into Sunday’s NFL playoffs.
- The AFC Championship in Baltimore could be rainy and windy.
- Five of the NFL’s six outdoor playoff games this month were played in either cold, windy or rainy weather.
- Four of those matches were in the AFC.
- Fortunately, the weather should be good for the NFC Championship game in California.
For the third week in a row, the NFL playoffs could feature a game played in at least somewhat inclement weather, as the two conference championship games will determine who makes it to the Super Bowl.
Major risks and weather headaches: Sunday’s AFC Championship Game in Baltimore between the host Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs won’t be as cold as last Saturday’s playoff game. Temperatures during play could easily be in the 40s, instead of the upper 20s last Saturday.
However, a low pressure system near the central Atlantic coast could produce periods of rain and some gusty winds at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon. Bring rain gear if you have tickets to the game. Our latest forecast for the weekend in Baltimore is here.
Don’t worry about the other game: Conditions should be perfect Sunday night in Santa Clara, Calif., as the San Francisco 49ers host the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship game. Expect warm temperatures with no chance of rain. Our latest forecasts are here.
Difficult weather qualifiers: It’s not your imagination. The weather has been far from ideal for most of the NFL’s outdoor playoff games this month.
Five of the six outdoor games held so far have been in either cold, windy or rainy conditions. Four of those were in the AFC, since the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, and Baltimore Ravens hosted those games. Each was played in temperatures of at least 27 degrees or wind chiller.
The Jan. 13 Wild Card game in Kansas City was the coldest game ever played by the host Chiefs or Miami Dolphins and the fourth-coldest in NFL history, with a starting temperature of 4 degrees below zero and a wind chill of 27 degrees below zero.
The Wild Card game scheduled for the next day in Buffalo was postponed until Monday, due to a major lake-related snowstorm in the city. Even then, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills reached 17 degrees with single-digit wind chills.
Last Saturday, the Ravens opened their playoff run in Baltimore with wind chills in the teens. After having to bail out Buffalo’s Highmark Stadium from a second lake-induced snowstorm, the Chiefs and Bills shivered during Sunday night’s playoff game with wind chills in the teens.
(More: Worst cities in NFL weather)
NFC Smoother Weather Route: Since the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the top four seeds and thus hosted playoff games, weather was largely not an issue.
Three of the NFC’s five playoff games were at home, in Detroit and Dallas. Tampa avoided rain in its Monday night wild-card win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Jan. 15, with temperatures in the 60s.
The only weather glitch in the NFC playoffs was what happened last Saturday night in Santa Clara, between the host 49ers and the Green Bay Packers. Several players appeared to have difficulty handling the wet football, including 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy.
This year’s Super Bowl will be played indoors at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on February 11. This break from the weather is another bonus for any Asian team that tests the conditions and wins on Sunday.
Jonathan Erdmann is a senior meteorologist for Weather.com and has been covering national and international weather since 1996. His lifelong love of meteorology began with a close encounter with a tornado as a child in Wisconsin. He earned a degree in physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, then completed a master’s degree working with dual polarization radar and lightning data at Colorado State University. Extreme and strange weather are his favorite subjects. Contact him on X (formerly Twitter), Threads, Facebook And the sky is blue.
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