January brings the NFL playoffs and in Denver that oftentimes means difficult weather conditions for players and fans. Today’s divisional playoff game between the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens will be less notable for snow than for the bitter cold.
The highly anticipated rematch between the two teams features a number of storylines including one written by Mother Nature. An upper trough and cold front moved in yesterday and has resulted in some of the coldest temperatures of the season in the Mile High City.
Overnight lows dropped to around zero across the Denver metro area last night and while it will warm up today, it won’t be much. High temperatures in town will stay below the 20 degree mark with Sports Authority Field at Mile High topping out at 18 degrees.
Kickoff happens at 2:30 p.m. MDT and temperatures at that time are expected to be around 16 degrees. Mostly cloudy skies will be overhead with 5mph winds out of the east-northeast. With even those light winds, wind chill temperatures approaching the single digits will be possible.
The mercury will be steadily declining throughout the contest. By the time the whistle is blown for halftime at 4:00 p.m. the temperature will be down to 13 degrees. At 5:30 p.m. when the game is coming to a close the thermometer will be reading around 10 degrees.
The light winds won't be a problem on the field for the players however it will add to the effects of the bitter cold. Even at 5 to 8 mph, wind chills temperatures of 10 degrees will be seen at the start of the game, dropping to near 0 degrees by the end.
Just to throw another wrinkle into the weather, there is a 30% chance for snow during the game. Some upslope flow is forecasted this afternoon and that could add to the wintry scene. Right now it doesn’t look like accumulations, if any, will amount to much but a half inch or so total from the early afternoon into evening is possible.
While the bitter cold and potential snow will make it uncomfortable for the players (and fans), the Ravens are no strangers to cold weather so the Broncos won’t see an advantage there. The cold temperatures will however make the ball harder and more difficult to hold on to so it wouldn’t be surprising to see some fumbles and dropped passes.
The Denver Weather Examiner game analysis and prediction
Peyton Manning’s storybook season looks to continue today but he will have to go through the retiring Ray Lewis and the rest of the Ravens’ defense. While the Ravens are healthier this time around it seems unlikely they will be able to slow the Broncos potent offense to much effect.
That leaves it to Joe Flacco and the Ravens’ offense to put a lot of points on the board and try to keep up. Champ Bailey, Von Miller and the rest of the Denver defense should be more than up to the task.
The game won’t be a blowout like the meeting between the teams was earlier in the season however your Denver Weather Examiner believes Denver will come out on top and advance to the AFC Championship next weekend.
Denver Broncos 27, Baltimore Ravens 17.