Bill Belichick has always had a rocky relationship with the weather.
So, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised the New England Patriots head coach doesn't believe Sunday's chilly forecast -- expected to be in the high 20s -- will give his team any edge whatsoever over the Los Angeles Chargers in their AFC Divisional Round clash at Gillette Stadium.
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"They're a good football team," Belichick said Friday in a press conference. "We're playing the Chargers. We're not playing the weather. Whatever it is, it is."
To clarify: There's zero advantage in facing a Los Angeles-based team in sub-freezing temperatures?
"Yeah," Belichick responded. "Gonna be on the same field."
We hate to disagree with the greatest NFL coach of all time. But we're of the mind that Mother Nature should at least benefit the Patriots somewhat.
First: The Chargers aren't used to playing in the cold. That's a fact. They've played in just one game this season with a kickoff temperature below 50 degrees -- a Week 15 win at Kansas City in 39-degree weather -- and last Saturday's Wild Card win over the Baltimore Ravens was played in 51-degree weather. Sunday will be at least 20 degrees colder than all but one game they've played in this season.
Second: Philip Rivers isn't all that good in the cold. The Chargers quarterback has played in just five career games with game-time temperatures at or below freezing and is 1-4 in those contests.
Finally: Tom Brady and the Patriots are very, very good in the cold. The Pats QB boasts a 98.9 passer rating in his last 10 cold-weather games (40 degrees or below), and New England is 13-2 in its last 15 playoff games played in 34-degree weather or colder.
Does that mean Rivers and Co. can't pull off the upset Sunday? Far from it. The Chargers haven't lost a game outside L.A. County this season, going 8-1 on the road (playoffs included) with their only defeat coming to the Los Angeles Rams.
But expect the elements to play more of a role than Belichick would like to admit.
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