BUFFALO, N.Y. — Five weeks ago, the New England Patriots came to town and battled the Buffalo Bills in some wicked weather. And once again, the Bills' divisional foe will come back to Orchard Park this Saturday with winter weather playing a role in the game plan for each team.
In early December the issue was gale force wind gusts and rain and snow showers. This weekend, the concern is the cold. Serious cold. The kind of cold that could make this one of the coldest games in Bills history in Orchard Park.
The gold standard for cold winter Bills games in Orchard Park is the 1994 Divisional Playoff game against the then Los Angeles Raiders. That game was played on Saturday, January 15 with a temperature of zero degrees and a wind chill between -10 and -20 degrees.
The second coldest game in Bills history in Orchard Park was set just a few weeks earlier on December 26, 1993 with a game time temperature of 11 degrees and a wind chill near -10 degrees.
Saturday night's game could take over this second place ranking. An arctic air mass that is currently sitting in northern Canada will surge into the Northeast and Western New York for Friday and Saturday. Temperatures Saturday are only expected to reach the low teens, then fall into the single digits after sunset.
With kickoff at 8:15 p.m., the temperature will be near 6 to 8 degrees and may fall a degree or two during the game. There will be a easterly breeze between 5 to 10 mph with wind chill values making it feel like below zero. The cold should be the only weather concern, though a stray flurry can't be ruled out with this cold of conditions and a mostly cloudy sky.
Here is the upside to this cold forecast. Since 1990 the Bills have played in four very cold games in Orchard Park where the temperature failed to reach at least 22 degrees. The Bills won every one of those games.