Accuweather forecasts a game-time temperature of 20 degrees, with snow and 30 mile-per-hour winds at Soldier Field for Sunday’s matchup between the Patriots and the Bears (click here for an updated forecast). With inclement weather looming, let’s take a Next-Level look at what role the elements will play in the game:
* Over the past three seasons, both teams have played four regular-season games when the game-time temperature is 30 degrees or below
* The Bears have played all four at home, and won all four (the last two ended in overtime).
* The Patriots average 32.3 rushes per game in these cold-weather contests, compared to 26.5 rushes PG in other games.
* The Bears’ defense faced 56.1 percent pass plays (including sacks) in these games, compared to 59.2 percent in others.
Cold weather, poor results don’t deter Brady from going deep
NEXT-LEVEL: Since 2008, Tom Brady’s pass attempts of 15+ yards in games of 30-degrees-or-colder weather account for 18.9 percent of his total, compared to 18.6 percent of his total in other games. The game plan looks the same, but the stat line is un-Bradylike.
The Bears’ defense has been very successful in the same situations: opposing quarterbacks have a 28.6 comp pct (12-42), 0 TD, Int, 46.4 passer rating.
Short-passing game favors New England
NEXT-LEVEL: Chicago’s defense has been a sieve on passes of 10 yards or fewer in cold weather over the past three seasons, as they’ve allowed a 67.2 completion percentage, 6 TD, 2 Int and a first down every 3.3 attempts. Tom Brady is actually BETTER on passes of 10 yards or fewer in cold-weather games (129.2 passer rating and averaging a TD every 9.8 attempts) than he is when the temperature exceeds 30 degrees (106.0 passer rating, a TD every 23.3 attempts).
Play-action a key component of Sunday’s game
NEXT-LEVEL: Play-action fakes appear to be the equalizer, at least on paper. With the elevated threat of a run (New England averages almost six more carries PG than in warmer weather), Tom Brady has been able to use ball-fakes to beat defenses. Chicago is at the opposite end of the spectrum, well-disciplined and able to stop both the run and the play-action pass.
-- Statistics compiled by Trevor Ebaugh.