When Sean McDermott took over the Buffalo Bills franchise four years ago, he envisioned hosting playoff games at this time of the season. He envisioned fans in the crowd and snow falling down as his team took the field.
On Saturday, when they host the Baltimore Ravens in the second round of the AFC playoffs, the Bills could get their first opportunity to do the latter as the forecast for Orchard Park is calling for snow late at night right around game time.
The Weather Channel is forecasting a 60% chance of snow and possibly one to three inches of snow.
When McDermott took over as the head coach, he wanted to build a roster that was prepared to play in the snow at this time of the season. So, when it came down to it, they would have an advantage over their opponents.
When the Bills take the field, it looks like they will have just that as Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson said he’s never played in the snow before and he might be a little worried.
“Zero experience, I’ve never gotten to play in the snow, except when I saw snow for the first time in Louisville, but we had a snowball fight, so that’s totally different from playing in it,” Jackson said during a video conference call on Tuesday. “But, yea, that will definitely be my first time playing football in the snow on Saturday. If it does, hopefully, it don’t.”
The Bills will look for any advantage they can get this weekend, but if it does snow, the Ravens might actually be the ones with the advantage on a cold day in Orchard Park.
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Ravens Running Game Could Excel In Cold Weather
When McDermott first took over in Buffalo, his offenses were tailored towards playing in the snow. They were heavily focused on the run with Lesean McCoy in the backfield and a dual-threat quarterback in Tyrod Taylor.
But, as Josh Allen has gotten more comfortable in the NFL, the Bills have become more of a passing team. In the regular season, they threw the ball 596 times compared to their 411 rushing attempts, but they’ve had success passing the ball, so why change?
On Saturday, a more run-focused gameplan may be suited towards the weather though, and Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has no problem with that either.
Earlier this year, when they were set to host the New England Patriots on a rainy and cold day in November, the Bills only practiced one or two passing plays on the Friday leading up to the game. They then went on to throw the ball just 18 times while recording 38 rushing attempts.
While the Bills have been a primarily passing team, the Ravens have found success on the ground all season long. They led the NFL in rushing yards per game during the regular season with 191.9 yards per game and rushed for 236 yards against the Tennessee Titans this past weekend.
Even though he’s never played in the snow, Jackson’s dual-threat capabilities will be something to watch on Saturday, alongside rookie running back J.K. Dobbins.
Allen Has Experience Passing in Cold Weather
Allen has been in Buffalo for three years, so he’s played in cold weather before and he has the utmost confidence in his arm, but he also but in a cold-weather climate before even coming to Buffalo.
In two years in Laramie, Wyoming, where the average high temperature rests around 37-degrees between the months of November and January, according to usclimatedata.com, Allen threw for 5,066 yards and 44 touchdowns while also rushing for 737 yards and 12 touchdowns.
If snow falls on Saturday, it shouldn’t bother Allen too much, and the Bills will be prepared to run the ball as best they can if need be.
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