Cold weather is perfect for Ravens

Ravens Beat

Under Harbaugh, team has destroyed three opponents in frigid weather at home

December 18, 2009|By Jamison Hensley | jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

The temperature for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears is expected to be 38 degrees. That's perfect for the Ravens.

In this decade, the Ravens are 8-0 at home when the game-time temperature dips below 40 degrees. Under coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens have dominated all three of these cold-weather games in Baltimore, outscoring their opponents 108-20 (that's an average score of 36-7).

Their success in chilly conditions isn't happenstance. Harbaugh stresses beating the weather to his players. During clear days, the Ravens soak footballs to get the players acclimated to playing in the rain. During the winter months, Harbaugh makes the Ravens practice outside (his predecessor, Brian Billick, preferred to move workouts to the indoor field house).

The hard work has paid off on game days. On Nov. 23, 2008, the Ravens routed the Philadelphia Eagles, 36-7, on a sunny, 39-degree day. A couple of weeks later, they topped the Washington Redskins, 24-10, on a clear, 29-degree night. Then, on Sunday, the Ravens roughed up the Detroit Lions, 48-3, on a rainy, 36-degree afternoon.

But the Ravens have always had success in the cold whether the coach was Harbaugh, Billick or Ted Marchibroda. In the team's 14-year existence, the Ravens are 10-1 in sub-40 degree weather at home, winning the past 10 games.

The running theme for the Ravens has been running the football. In the past six cold-weather games at home, the Ravens have produced more rushing yards than passing yards four times. It was the same way against Detroit when the Ravens ran for 308 yards and a team-record five rushing touchdowns.

The Ravens haven't been as dominant in the same conditions on the road. The only two away games that began with game-time temperatures below 40 degrees under Harbaugh were last season's AFC championship in Pittsburgh, where the Ravens lost, 23-14, and this season's contest in Green Bay, where the Ravens fell, 27-14.

Still, it's tough to beat the Ravens at home when the temperatures get close to freezing. It seems that the frigid weather actually helps the Ravens heat up for their playoff run.

Cold-weather birds
A look at the past four Ravens home games when the game-time temperature was below 40 degrees: DateOpponent Temp.Result12-19-05Green Bay29 W, 48-311-23-08Philadelphia39W, 36-712-07-08Washington29 W, 24-1012-13-09Detroit36W, 48-3Source: Ravens

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