NFL Weather Report: Week 4
Week 4 opened with a 65-point, gaffe-filled battle between two teams entering the game winless and desperate to change their situation. The weekend shapes up for more excitement with eight games holding totals of at least 50.0.
Our fantasy teams could use the points, but the weather is always a factor to consider as we head into the weekend. A handful of games popped up on the radar. Which games do you need to monitor for Sunday?
Update: The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots game has been postponed and is expected to be played on Monday or Tuesday. Cam Newton has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not play this week.
Below are the games with weather concerns headed into Week 4:
|Game||Temperature (Feels Like)||Chance of Precipitation||Wind|
|Colts at Bears||48||19.00%||15 mph N|
|Seahawks at Dolphins||97||30.00%||15 mph ESE|
|Chargers at Buccaneers||83||79.00%||9 mph ENE|
|Jaguars at Bengals||56||49.00%||9 mph SW|
Games Impacted by Wind
The Bears made the switch at quarterback to Nick Foles, and he gets the Colts in his first shot as Chicago’s starter. Winds out of the south at 15 MPH meet the minimum criteria for concern, but the passing game should remain unaffected. Soldier Field sits at 175.8-degree azimuth (essentially pointed north), and the tail or headwinds can be quickly adjusted to reducing any risk to the offense. Both quarterbacks should be safe to consider.
Through three weeks, Philip Rivers has a 6.8-yard average depth of target, relying on short pass attempts on 52.1% of his passes. With T.Y. Hilton being the only reliable deep threat for Indy, the Colts’ offensive game plan has favored the run as their neutral pass rate has fallen from 68.1% to 55.9%. Foles played aggressive in comeback mode last week, posting a 9.8-yard average depth of target, and his tendencies have been minimally impacted by wind over his career. You’d have to go back to Week 16 in 2017 to find a similar wind situation, but in that game, Foles attempted 38 passes and his seasonal average depth of target dipped only 6.1%.
The Dolphins’ game sets up similarly. Hard Rock Stadium stands at 188 feet tall and has served as a shield from the wind in the past. In Week 16 of last season, the Dolphins’ matchup against the Bengals showed no signs of the 15 MPH winds in the area. The Seahawks' explosive offense (second-best by our numbers) is a big reason why this game has one of the highest totals on the week. Miami’s stadium should provide enough cover to keep the elements at bay, eliminating any concern for either passing game.
Games Impacted by Rain
We start, as always, with our reference table.
|Condition||Precipitation (inches per hour)|
|Light Rain||.01 - .1|
|Moderate||.1 - .3|
|Heavy Rain||>= .3|
The projected rainfall in both games carries legitimate concern for the on-field gameplay. In each contest, precipitation is expected to reach up to 0.04 inches per hour. While it still falls within the Light Rain category, field conditions typically continue to worsen as the game progresses. The Mud Bowl of 2019 featured 0.10 inches of rain per hour, which should at least keep us watching the forecast as Sunday approaches.
The Buccaneers’ stadium uses natural turf to cover the field. It provides a soft surface, but it isn’t conducive to draining the rainfall through the game. The forecast shows continuous rainfall over Saturday night and into Sunday afternoon. League protocol requires the field to be covered in the event of excess rainfall on game day. However, any decreased field conditions as the game progresses could force the teams to rely on their run game.
Cincinnati’s stadium uses Shaw Sports Momentum Pro Turf with five miles of heated piping running under the field, which keeps the rubber inlays heated. The construction of the turf allows for water run off throughout the game, minimizing the in-game effect. In addition, maximum rainfall isn’t expected until the end of the game. While slips and dropped passes can occur throughout the contest, the forecast indicates the greater impacts won’t be seen until the final parts of the game.