The Cleveland Browns enter Week 16 of the NFL regular season with a 1% chance of making the playoffs. The playoff chase in the AFC is interesting (and well covered by Barry here) but the Browns, along with the Pittsburgh Steelers, are no longer in contention for the division after Week 15.
Cleveland is 2-1 with QB Deshaun Watson under center. The team has also won three of their last four and four of their last seven games. The Browns could end the year with a winning record if they win out.
Next up is the visiting New Orleans Saints.
The Saints are having an interesting time of things winning one then losing two in the last 10 weeks. Keeping that pattern going, New Orleans is set to lose the next two before winning their last game of the year. Despite their 5-9 record, they are just one game back of the NFC South lead.
The final home game in Cleveland this year will have a distinctive Lake Erie weather feel to it. The current forecast calls for a high of 13 degrees and winds between 20 and 35 miles per hour Saturday. The chance of an inch of snow is the least of the concerns. With the wind chill, the temperature will likely feel like zero or below.
Needless to say, media members are ecstatic:
Kickoff temperature currently expected to be 9 degrees - and dropping. The lake always makes it worse. Anyone have an igloo they can send to the #Saints-#Browns sideline for me? https://t.co/ZFmPui8v79— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) December 19, 2022
The impact of the cold and wind on the game could be felt most by the Saints, a dome team, and anyone in fantasy football playoffs. A harder, frozen surface is harder to make cuts on and hurts worse when you get tackled onto it. A colder football is harder to grip and catch.
Players with muscle or soft tissue injuries, like John Johnson III and, perhaps, Amari Cooper, could struggle to stay loose and active as the game goes on.
We will keep you updated on any major changes to the forecast this weekend on the shores of Lake Erie.