For the longest time fans have embraced the idea of using Chicago Bears weather as an advantage late in a season. This means cold temperatures and wind with an option for snow flurries. One of the most popular NFL statements is that warm climate teams always have a hard time playing outdoors in the cold late in a season. These are teams that play on west or southern coasts or in a dome. They’re used to lots of sunshine or perfect indoor conditions.
It makes sense from purely a logical stance. Bodies that spend most of their time in warmer temperatures won’t be able to adjust to the cold too well. No doubt people still have a vision of the mighty Air Coryell Chargers with their great offense being rendered powerless in frigid Cincinnati during the AFC championship back in 1981.
That may be the game that established those beliefs as fact. However, the NFL doesn’t always cooperate according to myth. So this begs the question again. Will the below freezing (32 degrees) temperature set for Sunday night be a true aid to the Bears in their battle with the Los Angeles Rams?
Chicago Bears weather should be a factor, but not a decisive one
I went back through the NFL archives and noted every team who made the playoffs from each year since 2011. Then I tallied the games if any that they played where it was 32 degrees or colder at kickoff and whether they won or lost. Of the 21 total contests, the warm weather teams were a pedestrian 8-13.
- Lost 16-10 in Philadelphia in the divisional round (32 degrees)
- Won 45-42 in Pittsburgh in the divisional round (18 degrees)
- Lost 15-10 in Tennessee in the regular season (23 degrees)
- Won 16-0 in Green Bay in the regular season (10 degrees)
- Lost 30-12 in Pittsburgh in the wild card round (17 degrees)
- Lost 10-7 in New York in the regular season (32 degrees)
- Lost 21-13 in Kansas City in the regular season (21 degrees)
- Lost 34-16 in New England in the divisional round (28 degrees)
- Lost 21-13 in Green Bay in the regular season (32 degrees)
- Won 20-13 in Green Bay in the regular season (24 degrees)
- Lost 26-21 in Green Bay in the divisional round (24 degrees)
- Lost 30-20 in Green Bay in the regular season (27 degrees)
- Won 26-24 in Philadelphia in the wild card round (25 degrees)
- Won 23-20 in Green Bay in the wild card round (5 degrees)
- Won 41-38 in Kansas City during the regular season (24 degrees)
- Won 23-7 in Kansas City during the regular season (22 degrees)
- Lost 42-28 in Cincinnati during the regular season (25 degrees)
- Lost 24-10 in Green Bay in the wild card round (29 degrees)
- Won 20-13 in Kansas City in the regular season (25 degrees)
- Lost 45-41 in Green Bay in the regular season (31 degrees)
- Lost 20-13 in Baltimore in the divisional round (31 degrees)
Not only that but there’s a deeper explanation for what several of the wins the warm weather teams got. Of the eight total victories, six of them came as result of those teams having a top 10 scoring defense to lean on. Teams without one are just 2-7 in cold weather conditions across that same span. Why is this so important to note?
The Rams defense currently ranks 19th in the NFL in scoring defense. This means they can’t simply shut down opponents to make life easier on their offense. History shows it’s always that side of the ball that struggles to execute in cold conditions. Their hands are numbed up. It’s hard to move with speed and precision. Every hit hurts a bit more than normal.
It will take more than just the cold to stop them, but given how good the Bears are themselves this year? That small advantage it brings could make all the difference.