Patriots

Single-digit temps forecast for Patriots-Bills wildcard game

The Patriots might get another boost from Mother Nature in Saturday's wildcard game against the Bills.

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Bills players warm up in the snow prior their game against the Patriots this season. Jeffrey T. Barnes / AP
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The slumping Patriots need all the help they can get when they face the surging Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park on Saturday for Wildcard Weekend. Interestingly, they might get yet another boost from an old friend: Mother Nature.

WBZ meteorologist Jacob Wycoff’s preliminary forecast for Saturday’s game calls for single-digit temperatures with sub-zero wind chills.

The temperature around the game’s 8:15 p.m. kickoff, according to Wycoff, could be around 8 degrees, though it might feel as if it’s -5. By the time the game ends, that relative temperature could drop to double-digits in the sub-zero range.

The Weather Channel predicts about a 34 percent chance of snow for the day, with scattered snow showers (less than 1 inch total) possible in the afternoon. Winds are expected to be around 8 mph.

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Wycoff called it “a typical January football night in Buffalo,” which certainly would be a dramatic departure from the blizzard conditions and consistent 40-plus mph wind gusts that tilted the goalposts and made the ball dance in the air the last time the two teams played each other in New York.

That said, less-than-favorable weather conditions might just favor the Patriots once again.

New England charged to victory on the ground in that Monday night matchup in Week 13, throwing the ball just three times but rushing for 222 yards, holding the Bills under 100 yards rushing and winning the time of possession battle in the ugly weather.

In Week 16, though, the Bills took advantage of the mild 40-degree, relatively windless weather in a thorough domination of the Patriots, with Josh Allen throwing for 314 yards and three touchdowns.

Bone-chilling temperatures in Buffalo could force the action back onto the ground a bit, which will work for a Patriots team built to run the ball. Defensively, New England might hopefully get physical linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Kyle Dugger back to help them bottle up the Bills’ rushing attack in turn.

As long as the wind’s not too bad and players can catch the ball, though, things won’t be quite as one-sided in terms of the run game. Mac Jones will almost certainly throw the ball more than three times, and Allen will throw the ball quite a bit more than that.

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But those hoping for less-than-ideal weather appear to somewhat be getting their wish ahead of Saturday’s game.

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