Thursday, January 10, 2013
Cold weather favors Ravens, not Manning
By Jamison Hensley
There are plenty of reasons why the Ravens shouldn't win Saturday's divisional playoff game, from their nine-game losing streak to Peyton Manning to the fact that they lost to his Broncos by 17 points just four weeks ago.
But there is something working in the Ravens' favor -- the weather report. The high temperature forecast for Denver on Saturday is 20 degrees, with a 20 percent chance of snow.
It certainly won't be a home-field advantage for Broncos quarterback Manning, whose home in his 13 previous seasons was a climate-controlled dome in Indianapolis. He hasn't had to play in cold weather too often -- and he's struggled when he's had to do so.
Manning has never won a playoff game when the temperature at kickoff is below 40 degrees, losing in the postseason at New England (twice) and at the New York Jets. He threw one touchdown and seven interceptions in those games for a 46.2 passer rating, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
To adjust to the colder weather, Manning will wear an orange glove on his right hand, a decision that stems from his spinal-fusion surgery last year. The nerve damage has caused weakness in his right arm after the surgery, and the glove helps him improve his grip on the ball, especially in the severe cold weather.
In two games this season with the glove, Manning is 2-0, with six touchdowns and one interception.
"I certainly don't think I would have had to wear the glove if I hadn't been injured last year," Manning said. "It is part of my injury, and one of the things I've had to adjust. I've been pretty consistent in letting you guys know that all year long, that I'm in a different body, some things are different for me and I'll have to adjust. That's the reason for that, as much as anything."
The Ravens are more used to playing in these temperatures because they play in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Cincinnati every year. Under coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 10-7 in games when the temperature is below 40 degrees at kickoff.
"We’d like to think that we’re a team built for all weather, for all conditions," Harbaugh said. "That’s something that we pride ourselves in, and we would like to think that we can go out there and perform well in those kinds of conditions.”