The last week of the regular season of the exciting 2016 NFL is upon us. In the American Football Conference, known as the AFC, the New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins have all clinched their seat in the NFL playoffs and will battle for a seat at Supper Bowl LI in Houston, Texas. However, only the Steelers and the Texans know what seed they will be in the playoffs. The results of the games on New Year’s Day will determine the seeds of the other four teams.
In the National Football Conference, known as the NFC, the Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants and the Atlanta Falcons have clinched playoff spots. The Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers are fighting for the last two remaining spots in the playoffs. Seedings will also be determined by the games held on Sunday as well (there are no Thursday night, Saturday night or Monday night games this week).
In the meantime, the college football season is coming to an end with the Bowl season in full swing. However, with many college Bowl games being played in warm weather locales or in domes, the impacts of the games affected by the weather is expected to be few in number.
In general, the weather later this week and this weekend should be tame for this time of year as Arctic air is being bottled up near the North Pole. Though a few games will see disturbed weather, the impacts from weather could be much more numerous this time of year. The general meteorological setup for later this week and this weekend will be a cold front pushing off the Atlantic coast ushering in dry and seasonably cold Canadian air to much of the East, Great Lakes and the Midwest. A large and strong area of high pressure will be found over the Deep South and the southern Plains giving that region dry but chilly weather. A potent area of low pressure from the Pacific Ocean will be sliding towards southern California and will bring the Southwest stormy weather, including wind, rain and mountain snow. All in all, for late December and early January, this is a rather tame weather pattern that will be setting over over the U.S.
Key game forecasts where weather will play a role:
Wednesday, December 28
New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Yankee Stadium, New York City
Northwestern vs. Pittsburgh: flurries or snow showers. Bundle up as it will be chilly with temperatures near 32. Winds around 10 mph causing wind chills in the 20s.
Thursday December 29
Birmingham Bowl, Birmingham, AL
South Florida vs. South Carolina: Windy and turning cold. Winds 15-25 mph with higher gusts, temperatures falling into the 30s. Wind chills in the 20s or even in the teens at times.
Belk Bowl, Charlotte, NC
Arkansas vs. Virginia Tech: Windy and turning colder. Winds 15-25 mph with temperatures dropping through the 40s. Winds chills in the 20s and 30s.
Valero Alamo Bowl, San Antonio, TX
Oklahoma State vs. Colorado: Windy. Winds 15-25 mph with higher gusts.
Friday December 30
Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX
Stanford vs. North Carolina: Rain possible. Chilly. Temperatures only in the 40s
Saturday December 31
Playstation Fiesta Bowl, Phoenix, AZ
Ohio State vs. Clemson: Possible rain could keep the retractable roof closed. This is the 2nd game of the College Football Championship playoffs and tailgating outside the stadium could be curtailed due to the rain.
Sunday, January 1
Only NFL games are being played on New Year’s Day
A weak disturbance may cause a chilly rain for the mid-Atlantic region on New Year’s Day, possibly affecting the three games mentioned below. However, this system looks weak and could just as easily slide to the south or not materialize at all.
BUF@NYJ: Rain possible. Temps in the upper 30s. Light winds.
DAL@PHL: Rain possible. Temps near 40. Light winds.
NYG@WSH: Rain possible. Temps in the low 40s. Light winds.