As the week has gone along in the lead up to the San Francisco 49ers–Green Bay Packers NFC Wild Card Game, a storyline that has started to emerge and take over talk of the game is related to the weather. Granted, no one is surprised it is going to be cold for a playoff game at Lambeau Field, but even for a place nicknamed the “Frozen Thundra” the weather on Sunday afternoon will be really really cold.
Depending on the weather service you follow and look at for your weather related news, temperature at game time will be anywhere around zero to negative-five degrees Fahrenheit with temperatures being as low as negative-20. Because of this many have wondered how the 49ers will be affected by the freezing temperatures on Sunday given that they play on the West Coast.
While it will be cold and many players on both teams will be playing in the coldest game they have ever played in, the weather conditions will not be as big of a factor in how the 49ers will play against the Packers on Sunday. For starters, it’s not like the 49ers have not played in awful weather conditions at any point the last few seasons. Last season they played back-to-back games where they played Sunday night games first against the New England Patriots and then against the Seattle Seahawks where it was raining with a bitter cold wind.
In both of those games the 49ers were not affected by the weather conditions as they beat the Patriots and, although they lost against the Seahawks, they lost a game were they just got dominated by a better team on that night. Now that it has been established that freezing weather will not affect the 49ers as many are wondering if it could, another reason that the 49ers will not be impacted is due to their mindset.
Since Jim Harbaugh has been the head coach of the 49ers, they play like a team who is not concerned with outside noise and or issues which they cannot control and go into a game focused on carrying out their gameplan and playing their type of football. Unlike other teams, the 49ers will not worry too much about what the weather will be like nor will it affect how they want to play on Sunday.
One saying which gets stated quite often if you are a fan of the NFL is that there are two things that travel well: a good running game and a good defense. As far as the 49ers are concerned, they run the ball really well (third best rushing offense in the league), while they have the fifth best defense in all of the league. Those two things make for dealing with bad weather much easier, and the 49ers are well positioned in this respect to make weather a non-issue.