After a memorable wild-card round, eight teams remain in the hunt for Super Bowl. While the first round of the playoffs saw the third-coldest game in NFL history, extreme cold will stay away for this weekend's games. However, a storm may impact the game in New England.
For the second straight week, three of the four games will be held outdoors. The lone game that will take place in an indoor environment will be the game between the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Nevertheless, dry conditions are forecast so there should be no weather-related issues for fans heading to the game. Highs at kickoff will be in the low 60s F.
The game, scheduled for 8:15 p.m. EST Saturday, is a rematch of the Week 16 game, which saw the Cardinals defeat the Packers 38-8. This is the first time the two clubs have met in the postseason since Jan. 10, 2010, when the Cardinals beat the Packers 51-45.
Here are the forecasts for the three games taking place out in the elements.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots: Saturday, Jan. 16, at 4:35 p.m. EST
The first game of the weekend will have the messiest weather. Fans heading to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro will want to bring rain gear as a system tracking northward off the coast brushes the area with rain.
More rain is likely to fall during the first half of the game before tapering off during the second half, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski.
"The rain could certainly impact the players' ability to handle the football cleanly as well as make sharp cuts on the FieldTurf surface," Pydynowski said.
The Kansas City Star reported that Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos has been practicing kicking wet footballs to prepare for the rain.
With highs in the low 40s, temperatures should remain too high for any snow to fall. However, it will be a cold rain, so fans should wear extra layers.
Should the storm track closer to the coast than currently anticipated, winds may become a bigger factor in the game.
This is the first time that the Chiefs and Patriots have met in the playoffs, according to the Pro-Football-Reference.com. The Patriots, the defending champions and winners of four Super Bowls, have an all-time playoff record of 28-18. The Chiefs have compiled a 9-15 playoff record along with one Super Bowl victory. They are currently riding an 11-game winning streak.
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers: Sunday, Jan. 17, at 1:05 p.m. EST
One week after playing the Vikings in subzero temperatures in Minneapolis, the Seahawks take to the road again, but this time to Charlotte, North Carolina, to face the Panthers. Highs are expected to be in the 40s.
"It will likely be dry and partly sunny for the game with a west to northwest wind of 10-15 mph," Pydynowski said. "It will be rather cool with temperatures in the middle and upper 40s throughout the game."
For those planning to tailgate, a brief shower or sprinkle could occur during the morning, but any precipitation should move out of the region by kickoff, according to Pydynowski.
The Panthers and Seahawks are quite familiar with one another as they played each other in Week 6 as well as the second round of last year's postseason. Carolina avenged last year's postseason loss in Seattle by returning the favor and defeating Seattle 27-23 in the regular season.
Seattle is looking to earn its second Super Bowl championship in three years. With last week's victory, the Seahawks now have an all-time playoff record of 15-13. Carolina is looking to win its first Super Bowl and features a 7-6 playoff record as listed on Pro Football Reference.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos: Sunday, Jan. 17, at 4:40 p.m. EST
Dry weather is forecast for Sunday in Denver, but temperatures will be several degrees below average for the middle of January, Pydynowski said. Temperatures will be near 40 F at kickoff but then dip into the 20s by the end of the game, he added.
Winds will be from the west to northwest at 5-12 mph during the game.
The Steelers and Broncos met in Pittsburgh on Dec. 20, with the Steelers claiming a 34-27 victory. Temperatures that day were similar to what's expected in Denver with highs in the low 40s and no precipitation.
These two teams last met in the playoffs on Jan. 8, 2012, when the Broncos defeated the Steelers 29-23 in overtime. Pittsburgh is in pursuit of its seventh Super Bowl title and has an all-time playoff record of 34-22. With a win, the Steelers can become the only team in NFL history with 35 playoff wins, breaking a tie currently held with the Dallas Cowboys, according to Steelers.com. Denver is seeking its third Super Bowl Championship and brings a 20-19 playoff record into this game per Pro Football Reference.