Morning Sports Update

Louis Riddick explained how cold weather conditions could again favor the Patriots over the Bills

"I think this could look very much so like the first game more so than the second one."

Patriots Bills weather
A snow flurry is lit by stadium lights before the Patriots' last game against the Bills in Buffalo on Dec. 6, 2021. AP Photo/Joshua Bessex

The Bruins defeated the Canadiens 5-1 on Wednesday night. Brad Marchand notched a hat-trick in the win for Boston.

And the Celtics also won on Wednesday, overcoming the Pacers 119-100. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 67 points.

The Patriots continue to prepare for the AFC wild-card matchup with the Bills in Buffalo on Saturday night at 8:15 p.m.

The role of weather on the Patriots’ playoff game: Looking ahead to the Patriots’ third clash of the season with the Bills in Saturday’s playoff game, a familiar subplot is taking shape.

Specifically, the impact of weather conditions in Buffalo (where the game will be played) could play a role in the outcome. According to current forecasts, temperatures will be in the single-digits, with the potential for a subzero wind chill factor.

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In the two teams’ previous clash in Buffalo (from early December), gale-force winds and snowfall heavily impacted the game, helping the Patriots’ run-heavy game plan succeed in a 14-10 upset win over the Bills.

How will extreme cold affect things on Saturday?

“This is just one of those games where weather like this really does level the playing field,” ESPN NFL analyst Louis Riddick explained on a “Get Up!” segment Thursday morning. “From a defensive perspective, it’s always harder than it is on the offense when the surface becomes something that’s unpredictable because offense knows where they’re going, you don’t know where they’re going.”

Looking at the specific teams involved in this case, Riddick narrowed it down to how the Bills run the ball and defend the run.

“The key for me is this: Not so much how does Josh Allen throw the football in this game, it’s how does he run the football in this game. How does Buffalo run the ball in this game?” Riddick asked. “And how does Buffalo defend the run in this game?”

In his view, the potential extreme conditions once again favor Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

“This plays into exactly how New England ideally wants to play anyway,” said Riddick. “They want to play [the game] in a phone booth. They want to make it mano a mano, and weather can allow you to do that if in fact that’s where it takes you in the course of the game.

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“I think this could look very much so like the first game more so than the second one,” Riddick added.

Trivia: Who was the Patriots’ opponent in the coldest game of the Bill Belichick era?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: It happened during the team’s run to winning XXXVIII.

More from Boston.com:

David Krejci will be heading to the Winter Olympics: While NHL players will not be participating in the Beijing Games—a decision met with strong criticism from Marchand—a former Bruin is slated to be a part of the Czech Republic setup.

An NBA feature on John Havlicek:

On this day: In 2019, the Patriots routed the Chargers in the divisional round of the playoffs, 41-28. It would prove to be Tom Brady’s last home playoff win as a member of the Patriots prior to his departure in free agency in 2020.

In the game, Sony Michel rushed for 129 yards and three touchdowns, while Brady completed 34 of 44 passes for 343 yards and one touchdown.

Patriots Chargers 2019

Daily highlight: On his way to completing the hat-trick in Wednesday’s win, Marchand scored twice in 15 seconds to give the Bruins a first period 2-0 lead.

Trivia answer: Titans

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