The weather could play a major role in Sunday’s NFC Divisional Playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. Having played more than half their games at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, including their first-round playoff win over the Detroit Lions, the NFC East champs will experience the coldest temperatures of the season.
Three days before the teams are set to meet at Lambeau Field, the temperature is currently zero degrees in Green Bay. While the weather is expected to get a little bit warmer by time the Cowboys step on the field, it will be nothing like the team has experienced this year. The AccuWeather forecast predicts a high of 21 degrees and a low of 4 degrees on Sunday, with a “RealFeel” low of -9 degrees.
Dallas hasn’t had the opportunity to play in many cold-weather games, having missed the playoffs in each of the previous four seasons. Green Bay is no stranger to the temperatures they will be faced with on Sunday, having hosted a postseason game in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
The Cowboys are doing their best to prepare for playing on the Frozen Tundra. On Wednesday, the team practiced outside, trying to get used to the elements.
“It’s a relatively cold day here,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett told members of the media. “It’s in the 30s with a cold wind. We practiced in that this morning. Prepare yourself accordingly and go play football. That’s what we emphasize to our team.”
Even though the Packers have had much more experience playing in cold weather, they might not have much of an advantage. Green Bay is just 5-7 in games with single-digit temperatures, since the Ice Bowl, via the Dallas Morning News.
With Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, Green Bay is 0-3 when the temperature is below 10 degrees. Last year, the Packers lost at home to the San Francisco 49ers in a first-round, single-digit temperature game. In the 2008 NFC Championship, Green Bay lost to the New York Giants in the coldest Packers’ game since the Ice Bowl.
The Cowboys might be more suited than the Packers to play in the cold weather, because of the way they play. Dallas has the league’s top running back in DeMarco Murray, who totaled 1,845 rushing yards in 2014.
“I think we have a team that’s built for it,” Garrett said. “We’ve developed a physical team over the last few years. I think we’ve done a good job as an organization of drafting those kinds of players. I think we also have a mentally tough team. Parking lot or moon, you just go play. The best teams I’ve been around have always had that capability.”
The temperature will likely be somewhere between 15 and 20 degrees when the game kicks off at 1:05 p.m. ET on Sunday.