Tundra road

O, BY THE WAY

On the Packers and the playoffs

December 20, 2007|By BILL ORDINE

I've been checking the weather in Green Bay the past few days, thinking about the NFL playoffs. Two years ago almost to the day, I was there doing a story on how that charming little football hamlet, all decked out for the holidays, was talking about the prospect of the Packers finishing out of the playoffs for the first time in umpteen years.

I've been in some cold places, but the combination of arctic chill and wind in Green Bay was unbelievable. It hurt to walk to your car.

So I was reminded of that as the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The Cowboys and Packers are both 12-2, and Dallas still has the tie-breaker edge for the home field in the NFC playoffs. But Tony Romo's throwing thumb was hurt against the Eagles, Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode limped off, defensive end Chris Canty got a scare on a knee injury and safety Roy Williams is suspended for Saturday's game against Carolina for breaking his namesake rule, the horse-collar tackle, for the third time this season.

Dallas finishes the season in Washington against the Redskins, who might still have a shot at the playoffs by then.

One slip in these last two games and the NFC championship could go through Lambeau Field. Hello, Ice Bowl II.

So, getting back to the weather. This week, it has been in the low 30s in Green Bay, which is seasonally balmy. The temperatures in January range from an average high of 24 to an average low of 7.

Now, it's no longer the case that the Packers and Brett Favre are invincible at home in January. That spell was broken in January 2003 when the Atlanta Falcons beat Green Bay at Lambeau, 27-7, on a 31-degree day. It was the Packers' first playoff loss ever at their famous home field.

And we don't want to ignore the fact that this is a different type of Packers team. Offensively, it's built on the pass, and bad weather doesn't help that one bit. Still, that Lambeau mystique is powerful mojo, and that definitely puts pressure on the Cowboys going into the home stretch.

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