Lambeau in January. No better theater for pro football. But the weather will be far less of a factor than the Seahawks being worn down and beat up.
MILWAUKEE — Ascending degrees of harshness in a Wisconsin winter:
Since none of those lake effects have happened as of Saturday afternoon, and since the storm is predicted to pass by 6 a.m. CT Sunday, and since the good people of Green Bay know shovels like James Bond knows weapons, I’m going to trust that conditions will have only modest impacts on the Packers-Seahawks playoff game (3:40 p.m. PT, FOX).
As far as the Seahawks, the few survivors remaining on the roster from the Jan. 10, 2016 outdoor playoff game in Minneapolis can tell manly-man stories to the newbies that begin with something like ” . . . when I was your age, I walked to school five miles in the snow, uphill both ways . . .”
The Seahawks prevailed 10-9 in the coldest pro football game in Vikings history. It was so cold . . . well, let grandpa Russell Wilson tell it:
“Yeah, that Minnesota playoff game, that’s as cold as it gets,” he said this week. “I think it was -10 on the thermometer. It was -31 or whatever wind chill. It was pretty cold. I don’t think it gets any colder than that.
“For us, it’s just another football game. We had to go outside (Thursday at practice). It’s pretty chilly out here today. Just playing football outside, it’s what you love. It’s what you’ve done ever since you were a little kid playing in it. So, if it snows, we’ll be ready. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. The ball will still spin the same and we’ll still make plays.”
Spoken like a guy who spent a year at the University of Wisconsin.
The good news is that the winner of Sunday’s game will draw the 49ers in the the NFC championship next week in balmy Santa Clara, where Saturday the Niners crushed the Vikings 27-10. Of course, the news is good only in terms of weather. The 49ers, with nearly all their injured players back, looked a lot like bad news.
Meanwhile, in Green Bay, the Seahawks will lean valiantly upon the stars of their past successes, Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. They will try to work around an injured offensive line that could start up to three backups. They will try to count on a defense that last week in Philadelphia had trouble with a 40-year-old backup quarterback who played the final series with a pulled hamstring, yet had a shot to force overtime.
And the Seahawks will try to beat a 13-3 team coming off a bye at Lambeau Field, which they have done once in the franchise’s 43-year history, 20 years ago.
It’s been a hugely entertaining season.
Packers 20, Seahawks 16.