The Ravens have played in their fair share of bad weather games in the Lamar Jackson era — a downpour against the Patriots in November and a rainy day against the 49ers in 2019 come to mind.
Saturday night, though, they’ll head to Buffalo for the AFC Divisional Round against the Bills, where the weather is always cold and you can pencil in snow, at least, multiple days of the week. As of Wednesday afternoon, that looks like a good bet.
With a Ravens offense predicated on speed, the snow, and perhaps more importantly, the wind, could be a major factor in Saturday’s game. Especially considering a few Ravens don’t have much experience in frigid temperatures.
“Zero experience,” Jackson said with a grin. “I never got to play in the snow. Except, my first-time seeing snow in Louisville, we had a snowball fight, so that’s totally different from playing in it. But yes, that definitely would be my first-time playing football in the snow — Saturday, if it does. Hopefully, it doesn’t.”
It makes sense for Jackson, who is from just outside Miami, Florida, to have never played in the snow up to this point. A few others haven't, either.
“I prefer playing on grass, myself,” said left guard Bradley Bozeman, who grew up and played college football in Alabama. “I’ve never played in snow. I know the surface of grass. So, I’ve never played in snow, and big guys in slippery situations are not always a good thing. So, I’m going to hope for no snow, but if it snows, we’ll have to adjust, and we’ll have to go from there.”
Snow accumulations are currently projected to be about an inch during the afternoon and another inch at night. Winds are projected to be anywhere from 12-15mph, according to weather.com. While the snow could just provide some comforting background to viewers at home, if accumulation totals are correct, it won’t have a major impact on the game.
The wind, though, is a completely different beast.
Not only does the weather impact the passing game (of which the Bills hold an advantage), the kicking game will also be impacted (an aspect the Ravens hold a noticeable advantage).
“The one thing for us is we try to go outside and just really just try to kick in those elements,” special teams coordinator Chris Horton said Wednesday. “It’s been pretty cold here. We typically get some wind on our field. When you’re going up to Buffalo, you can’t really replicate those kinds of winds in that stadium. But what you can do is just go out there, trust your technique, and really, when you get out there in pregame, just making sure that you try to figure out those wind patterns.”
The Ravens have won some of the most notable games in franchise history in poor winter weather, notably the Mile High Miracle in the 2013 Super Bowl run and the Ravens-Vikings snow game in 2013 that featured 36 points in the final 127 seconds
Saturday, they’ll have to try and win another.
“I went to (University of Colorado at) Boulder and never played in a snow game in all four and a half years I was up there,” cornerback Jimmy Smith said. “I heard it might be as cold as it was the night we played Denver in that Divisional round. So, if it’s like that and windy, it could be miserable — period, obviously.”