The conditions are going to be frigid in Denver on Saturday afternoon, when the Broncos host the Ravens in the AFC divisional round. Our initial reaction was this would favor Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco because he's nine years younger than Peyton Manning, has a much stronger arm and has had four fewer neck surgeries.
Plus, Manning played his first 14 seasons in the comfy confines of the RCA Dome and later Lucas Oil Stadium. He was never really subjected to the elements. On the rare occasions when he was -- like the AFC Championship Game against the Patriots in January 2004 -- he didn't play well.
In fact, Manning is 0-3 in playoff games when the temperature dips below 40 degrees. In addition to the '04 game, the Colts lost to the Jets 41-0 in January 2003 and to the Patriots again in January 2005.
Understandably, there were some concerns that he might struggle in Denver's unpredictable weather. It wasn't an issue -- Manning faced mostly mild conditions in 2012.
|Here's what the players can expect in Denver on Saturday. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. local time. (Weather.com)|
So what does that mean for Saturday's matchup? Hard to say given there isn't much data, but here's what we know thanks to Grantland's Bill Barnwell:
Peyton Manning's played one quarter of one game in his career at a temp below 21 degrees, a blowout loss to the Bills in Week 17 in 2010.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) January 12, 2013
In 21-40º temps, Manning's numbers (64.7 comp%, 8.0 ypa, 23 TD/13 INT, 94.5 pass rating) are comparable with his typical road numbers.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) January 12, 2013
Meanwhile, when Joe Flacco's played at 21-40 degrees, he's completed 54.4% of his passes (in 261 attempts). 61.4% otherwise.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) January 12, 2013
Manning completed 69 percent of this passes for 4,659 yards, 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions during the regular season. He had a passer rating of 105.8 and was named to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro rosters. Flacco, meanwhile, completed 60 percent of his passes for 3,817 yards, 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He had a passer rating of 87.7.
And in case you're wondering: The last Ravens quarterback to beat Peyton? Elvis Grbac back in December 2001. Joe Flacco was 16.
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