Saturday Open Thread–Polar Vortex Edition

It’s set to be a cold, cold weekend as the NFL playoffs begin.  One news story had it thusly:

This “polar vortex,” as one meteorologist calls it, is caused by a counterclockwise-rotating pool of cold, dense air. The frigid air, piled up at the North Pole, will be pushed down to the U.S., funneling it as far south as the Gulf Coast.

Ryan Maue, of Tallahassee, Fla., a meteorologist for Weather Bell, said temperature records will likely be broken during the short yet forceful deep freeze that will begin in many places on Sunday and extend into early next week. That’s thanks to a perfect combination of the jet stream, cold surface temperatures and the polar vortex.

“All the ingredients are there for a near-record or historic cold outbreak,” he said “If you’re under 40 (years old), you’ve not seen this stuff before.”

And three of the wildcard games are being played outdoors, which will separate the men from the boys (as it were):

Philadelphia: The Eagles host the Saints with an 8:10 p.m. Eastern kickoff on Saturday, and it will be cold: The forecast calls for an overnight low of 21 degrees, with a 20 percent chance of precipitation, and wind at 5-10 mph. Those conditions should favor the Eagles, who went 4-4 at home this season, winning their final four at Lincoln Financial Field, and already proved that they can play well in bad weather when they beat the Lions at home last month, in one of the snowiest games in NFL history. The Saints have been a bad road team all season (they went 8-0 at home but just 3-5 on the road), and Drew Brees and Co. will have a tough task on their hands dealing with the elements.

Cincinnati: The Bengals host the Chargers with a 1:05 p.m. Eastern kickoff on Sunday, and although it won’t rival the Freezer Bowl when these two teams met in the playoffs 32 years ago, it will be cold: The forecast for Sunday in Cincinnati calls for a daytime high of 34 degrees and an 80 percent chance of snow. (The game will end before it turns bitterly cold and dips below zero on Sunday night in Cincinnati.) With a Southern California team coming to town, the bad weather is good news for the Bengals, who were 8-0 at home in the regular season. The Chargers, who were 4-4 on the road, may be in for an unpleasant Sunday.

Green Bay: There’s cold, and then there’s really, really cold: The Packers host the 49ers with a 3:40 p.m. Central kickoff on Sunday, and it’s going to be brutally cold. The National Weather Service has issued an advisory that warns of “An Arctic outbreak” with “near record temperatures and dangerously cold wind chills.” Temperatures at Lambeau Field could rival those of the famous 1967 Ice Bowl, when game time temperatures of 15 degrees below zero made for the coldest game in NFL history. The forecast calls for a high of 5 degrees below zero and an overnight low of 20 degrees below. The Packers, who went 4-3-1 at home this season, are more accustomed to cold temperatures than the 49ers, who went 6-2 on the road this season. But neither team is accustomed to cold like this.

I wish you all a happy and warm weekend. . . Go, Pack!

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