Much milder temperatures than expected will be experienced at Gillette Stadium tomorrow evening for the AFC Championship Game between the Baltimore Ravens and the hometown New England Patriots.
Previous forecasts suggested temperatures in the teens at kickoff with winds out of the northwest sending temps plummeting as darkness fell – but a change in the forecasted wind direction, now predicted to come from the west-southwest, will keep the temperatures from falling into the teens until well after the game has concluded.
However, the shift of the wind direction has a far more reaching impact than just a change in temperatures, as it will be cutting almost directly across the field, which impacts both team equally, but a disadvantage exists for the Baltimore Ravens should the coin toss go against them.
Baltimore Quarterback Joe Flacco has a propensity for favoring the right side of the field, particularly when going deep, so the Patriots definitely would like to see him having to throw against the driving steady wind by trying to move north to south, which to Flacco would be like throwing almost directly into the wind, given the angle.
With winds forecasted to drive steadily at around 25 mph, the running game becomes more prominent for both teams, but particularly for the Ravens. The Patriots are well equipped to stop Ray Rice and the Baltimore running game – particularly if the wind makes the Ravens one-dimensional while the Patriots’ physical and nasty offensive line should be able to dominate the Ravens’ run defense.
Flacco may find himself in a hole going into the 4th quarter, and if that’s the case it will be just that much tougher to catch up in a hurry with the wind being a huge obstacle.
Stand by, because this is New England: Don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes…