The Buffalo Bills — and the stalwart Bills Mafia — will face not just the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, but a potent cocktail of wind, snow and frigid temperatures sure to affect players and fans alike.
While quarterback Josh Allen and the No. 2 seed Bills have closed out the season strong, winning five straight to claim the AFC East division title, the No. 7 seed Steelers are on a streak of their own, finishing with three consecutive wins. The teams might be hot, the conditions are assuredly not for the Wild Card matchup at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Which team will the weather favor in this key contest?
Weather forecast for Buffalo Bills game: Temperature and wind chill
The National Weather Service in Buffalo says to expect a high near 24 degrees in Orchard Park on Sunday, but the wind chill is expected to be in the single digits, at about 4 degrees. The AccuWeather forecast for Highmark Stadium in the afternoon is 22 degrees, with a RealFeel temperature of -1 degrees, a measurement that factors in other elements like wind and precipitation.
Wind conditions for the Bills playoff game
Winds will be strong in Orchard Park on Sunday, with AccuWeather predicting wind from the west southwest at 27 mph in the afternoon, along with gusts up to 45 mph. The Weather Service forecast calls for southwest winds at 26 to 30 mph, with gusts up to 44 mph.
How much snow is forecast for Bills vs Steelers playoff game?
Orchard Park is under a winter storm watch on Sunday, with conditions supporting lake effect snow east of Lake Erie, though the Weather Service is unsure exactly where the band of snow will fall. The chance of precipitation is 100%. The AccuWeather forecast calls for at least 7 inches of snow, with about half falling during the morning hours and the remaining 3.5 inches falling during the afternoon hours.
Photos from Buffalo Bills snow game in 2017
Will the Bills game be moved?
That seems unlikely. “We are monitoring conditions as we do for every game, but there have been no discussions about making a change to the game’s status,” said Brian McCarthy, vice president of communications for the NFL.
How Bills vs. Steelers weather is impacting odds, betting
Concerns about the forecast Sunday likely played a role in the over/under for the Bills game dropping from 41.5 on Sunday evening to 36.5. While the possible snow catches attention, the forecasted wind will likely have a bigger impact on the game.
- Every passing metric decreases as winds become stronger, including production measures and efficiency metrics, according to Covers, a sports betting information service.
- There’s a negative correlation between wind speed and passing yards, as well as points, according to betting site RotoGrinders.
RotoGrinders has flagged the Bills game with an orange for weather impact, citing low temperatures, sustained winds around 15 mph and potential snow. The Miami Dolphins vs Kansas City Chiefs matchup has the same designation in light of frigid temperatures, expected to be around 0 degrees by the end of the day.
- This will be the first matchup between the Bills and Steelers since Oct. 9, 2022, which Buffalo won handily, 38-3. Allen had 424 passing yards and four touchdowns, along with an interception.
- The Bills game will be on local CBS channels, including WROC (Channel 8) in Rochester, WIVB in Buffalo and WTVH in Syracuse. Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and Tracy Wolfson will call the game.
— Steve Howe covers weather, climate and lake issues for the Democrat and Chronicle and his favorite NFL team is the Jacksonville Jaguars. Have any insight into changing weather or climate? Share with him at email@example.com.