Cold Play effect in Philly should not be that big a factor in playoffs

Cold Play effect in Philly should not be that big a factor in playoffs

Eagles

Cold Play effect in Philly should not be that big a factor in playoffs

Man, it is bitter cold in downtown Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs as I write this… 15 degrees F. at midnight on a Thursday after the Eagles outlasted the Raiders 19-10 on an almost as cold and windy Monday night.

Many local writers have pointed to the cold weather as one contributing reason why both Nick Foles and Derek Carr struggled with their passing offenses that night. Ironically, by securing home field advantage through the NFC playoffs, the Eagles may have guaranteed that their remaining decisive games of the playoffs will all be played in cold weather.

But I dialed up the local Accuweather forecast for the month of January. What I found (barring an unexpected cold front coming in from Canada) is that the playoff games will see a rather moderate temperature at kickoff time for the most part.

We get a Bye after this coming weekend against Dallas, which means we do not play again until after the first wild card round. That would put us in the mid-January range of expected weather for the Philly area. Here’s how Accuweather sees it from mid-January onward:

Mon 45°/30° 0.04 IN 0 IN

Mostly cloudy

40°/26°
Tue 42°/31° 0.12 IN 0 IN

Cloudy with a chance for snow

40°/26°
Wed 43°/38° 0 IN 0 IN

Snow and sleet possible

40°/26°
Thu 48°/34° 0.87 IN 0.2 IN

Rain

40°/26°
Fri 49°/24° 0.04 IN 0 IN

Overcast with a little rain

40°/25°
Sat 32°/22° 0 IN 0 IN

Mostly cloudy

40°/25°
Sun 37°/31° 0.03 IN 0.1 IN

A rain or snow shower

40°/25°
Mon 43°/25° 0 IN 0 IN

Mostly sunny

40°/25°
Tue 40°/31° 0 IN 0 IN

Sunny intervals

40°/25°
Wed 40°/33° 0 IN 0 IN

Considerable cloudiness

40°/25°
Thu 36°/31° 0.09 IN 0 IN

A bit of afternoon rain

40°/25°
Fri 35°/33° 0 IN 0 IN

Cloudy

40°/25°
Sat 42°/28° 0.12 IN 0 IN

Cloudy

40°/25°
Sun 36°/31° 0.21 IN 0.7 IN

A little ice, then rain

40°/25°
Mon 47°/18° 0 IN 0 IN

Mostly sunny

40°/25°
Tue 30°/18° 0 IN 0 IN

Increasing clouds

40°/25°
Wed 35°/29° 0.5 IN 0 IN

Considerable clouds

40°/25°
Thu 46°/33° 0 IN 0 IN

Clouds and sun

40°/25°
Fri 46°/32° 0 IN 0 IN

Clouds and sun

40°/26°
Sat 45°/31° 0 IN 0 IN

Mostly sunny

41°/26°
Sun 39°/35° 0 IN 0 IN

Mostly sunny

41°/26°

If that forecast holds up, we won’t have to worry about bone-chilling cold or frostbite-inducing wind conditions. There may be some wetness or precipitation to deal with, however. I’ll take our chances with this forecast. It will probably be the kind of weather you get in Seattle this time of year—another reason I don’t want to see the Seahawks in the playoffs, however.

It would also mean we can never use the “cold weather” excuse again for lousy offensive play.

Speaking of how much our playoff chances will be riding on how well Nick Foles plays, Reuben Frank put together a list of the greatest backup performances by Eagles QB’s in recent memory:

1996:
Rodney Peete had gone 9-3 and led the Eagles to a playoff win the year before after Randall Cunningham was benched. But after starting out the 1996 season 3-2, Peete suffered a knee injury against the Cowboys and was lost for the season. The backup was Ty Detmer, and he went 7-4 in relief of Peete and led the Eagles to the playoffs, although he got benched in that rainy 14-0 wild-card loss to the 49ers at Candlestick Park.

2002:
The Eagles were 7-3 when Donovan McNabb hurt his ankle against the Cardinals at the Vet. He threw four touchdown passes while hobbling around, and after the game, he learned that what he believed was a sprained ankle was actually broken. Enter backup Koy Detmer, who gave the Eagles a big lead in San Francisco before getting hurt himself. That forced the Eagles to use No. 3 quarterback A.J. Feeley, who finished off the 49ers win and then went 4-1 in his first five pro starts. McNabb returned for the playoffs, but there wouldn’t have been any playoffs if it hadn’t been for Feeley.

2006:
McNabb tore his ACL against the Titans in mid-November and was lost for the season. Jeff Garcia lost his first start as an Eagle, to the Colts at the RCA Dome, before winning the last five and leading the Eagles to the NFC East title. Garcia then became the first quarterback other than McNabb to win a playoff game since Peete in 1995 when he beat the Giants at the Linc.

2010:
Kevin Kolb was the opening day starter, but he didn’t even make it to halftime. Michael Vick replaced him and went 8-3 in 11 starts and led the Eagles to the playoffs. The Eagles lost to Green Bay in the first round, however.

2013:
Michael Vick suffered a hamstring injury against the Giants in early October. Nick Foles responded with a Pro Bowl season, with 27 TDs and just two INTs — the best TD-INT ratio in NFL history. The Eagles made the playoffs but lost in the wild card round.

2014:
Foles opened the 2014 season as the starter but broke his collarbone in a Week 8 game against the Texans and missed the rest of the season. Mark Sanchez went 4-4, and the Eagles finished 10-6 but missed the playoffs.

So you can see there is historical evidence for optimism that a backup QB can get the job done. We try to be fair here at the EYE. Whether Nick Foles can break through the glass ceiling by leading the Eagles to a Super Bowl appearance is a whole separate question. Right now, I’d settle for his taking aim at Jeff Garcia’s accomplishment in 2006—just get us that first playoff win in what looks like will be halfway decent football weather conditions in mid-January. Getting over that hump is the key—not just for Nick’s confidence going forward, but also for most of us fans. I’m tired of waiting for something bad to happen on offense. We need to get over it.

 

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