The Philadelphia Eagles seemed to have an advantage in cold weather against the New Orleans Saints on Jan. 5. But it took a slow first half and an early deficit for the Eagles to heat up, only to lose in the very last second on a long drive. As it turned out, the Green Bay Packers should have paid more attention to the Eagles' fate, since they fell to the San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 6 in virtually the same way.
The 49ers' 23-20 triumph ended on a buzzer beating chip shot field goal, much like the Saints' 26-24 win in Philadelphia. New Orleans had a better record, but had to go on the road in weather it didn't excel in, much like San Francisco did in Green Bay. Of course, the 49ers had a far superior record over the Packers than the Saints did over the Eagles -- and Philadelphia wasn't gripped by near zero degree temperatures on Jan. 5.
The 49ers got an early lead and should have led by more, like the Saints should have done over the Eagles. But the teams began scoring more in the second half, as the host Packers tied the score with minutes left -- almost similar to how the host Eagles went ahead of the Saints with minutes left.
Yet both Green Bay and Philadelphia would never get the ball back, thanks to their opponents' running game. The 49ers dominated with the run, as Colin Kaepernick hurt the Packers with his legs for the second straight postseason. The Saints aren't a traditional running team, yet the conditions and Drew Brees' struggles made them use their legs for once, which paid off huge in the end.
San Francisco drove the ball down and drained the clock, until Phil Dawson sealed the win with no time left. New Orleans had it easier, as Philadelphia's special team mistakes and a penalty put the Saints at midfield right away. In addition, the Saints wouldn't have gone to overtime if Shayne Graham missed his final kick, but they barely had to worry by then.
The Packers and Eagles won the worst divisions in football, got lucky enough to host superior teams this weekend, and still couldn't take advantage. Thanks to a lack of ball control, inferior defense and running out of luck, Green Bay and Philadelphia had their hearts broken in similar but predictable fashion.