If you ask Rob Ninkovich, the AFC Championship Game can't be cold enough.
Early weather forecasts are predicting brutally cold temperatures -- think low teens and possibly single digits -- in Kansas City for Sunday's clash between the Chiefs and New England Patriots.
Ninkovich, who played in plenty of cold contests during his eight seasons in New England, believes that "arctic blast" is exactly what the Patriots should want.
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If it's 15 or under temp patriots win by 2 TD — Rob Ninkovich (@ninko50) January 15, 2019
That's a pretty bold take considering the Pats are current road underdogs. Care to elaborate, Rob?
The passing game won't be as explosive/ routes aren't as crisp and top speed (Hill) slower. Turns into an old school running game.....Pats roll them if that's the situation. — Rob Ninkovich (@ninko50) January 15, 2019
Ninkovich makes a good point. The Chiefs thrive on big plays from dynamic playmakers like quarterback Patrick Mahomes, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. But if the freezing temperatures dictate a ground-heavy game flow, the Patriots would seem to have the advantage.
They dominated the running game in their AFC Divisional Round win over the Chargers, racking up 155 rushing yards while holding Melvin Gordon and Co. to just 19 yards on 10 carries.
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick also have more experience playing in arctic conditions: The 2003 Patriots outlasted the Tennessee Titans 17-14 in an AFC Divisional Round matchup with a game-time temperature of four degrees.
Of course, Kansas City did just fine in the cold last weekend, throttling the Indianapolis Colts 31-13 in 32-degree weather. But temperatures in the teens or single digits are a next level of cold that Ninkovich believes could give his former team an edge.
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