Eagles Have Nature on Their Side in Divisional Round

With temperatures in the teens and wind chills in the single digits, Chris Long emerged from the tunnel at Lincoln Financial Field for warmups on Sunday wearing black shorts and a black sleeveless T-shirt.

In weather so cold it causes skin to go numb, so cold the snot running from your nose turns into icicles and so cold every breath feels like it could freeze and shatter your lungs, Long dressed like he was going to the beach. 

There was a method to his madness. 

"When you walk out there and you haven't been warm or anything and you go out in shorts and a T-shirt, it's going to be cold as hell," Long said. "Just do a quick lap, go inside. And then when you go out for the game, it feels like nothing because you're bundled up a little bit more, your body heat is up. I think it just helps get your mind right."

It seems likely that when the Eagles host their divisional playoff game on Jan. 13 at the Linc, it's going to be cold. Winter in the northeast cold. That could be good news. 

See, the last three Eagles games have been cold. It was 35 degrees in New York in Week 15. It was 29 with a wind chill of 18 against Oakland on Christmas Day. And it was 19 degrees with a wind chill of 3 against the Cowboys on New Year's Eve. 

The Eagles have gone 2-1 in their three games under 40 degrees this season. None of their three potential divisional round opponents - New Orleans, Carolina or Atlanta - have played a game under 40 degrees this season. 

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"It's definitely an advantage, especially for us," linebacker Nigel Bradham said. "Nobody really plays outdoors in our conference. So to get them to come to Philadelphia and play in this brick-cold weather, obviously, you know they're not going to like it. And it's an advantage for us. We'll be able to pound the ball, be physical and have a defensive game like we want." 

This weekend, the Saints are hosting the Panthers in the Superdome and the Falcons are traveling to Los Angeles to play the Rams at the Coliseum in 70-degree weather. 

The Saints are a dome team. The Falcons are a dome team. And the Panthers play in North Carolina. 

The coldest temperature any of the three has faced in the last three weeks was when the Panthers played in 55-degree weather in Tampa Bay a couple weeks ago. 

"It's definitely an advantage," Rodney McLeod said. "It's hard to get acclimated to this weather, especially how it's been nowadays. We're definitely going to use it to our advantage. We practice in it, we're accustomed to it. We're going to go out there and make it happen."

While Carolina won a game in weather colder than 40 degrees last season, the Saints haven't won one since their playoff win over the Eagles in 2014. The Falcons haven't won a game outside below 40 since 2009.  

If anyone on the Eagles knows about playing in cold weather, it's big Beau Allen. The defensive tackle is from Minnetonka, Minnesota, and played college ball at Wisconsin. He's an old pro when it comes to playing in cold weather. 

He said he honestly isn't sure how much of an advantage it gives the Eagles, but even if it's a really small advantage, he'll take it. Anything can help come playoff time. 

Allen said there are a few things he does differently in cold weather. He tries to over hydrate because even though he might not feel thirsty, he's losing liquid and he knows he needs to replenish. Those are pro tips. And there are more. 

"Don't go printing out all my secrets, man," Allen joked. "I think it's a fun challenge to go out and play in the cold." 

Playing in the cold weather certainly seems like it could be an advantage for the Eagles, but there's just one problem with that. Their quarterback from North Dakota is on injured reserve. And backup Nick Foles, over the last couple of weeks, has looked like a Texas kid struggling to play in the cold. 

In the last two games, Foles has completed 46 percent of his passes for 202 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He has a passer rating of 48.2 in the last two games. 

But he claims the weather wasn't the reason. And he still thinks it can be an advantage. 

"To me, it's just a different climate and it's something that we're going to continue, as it gets colder in Philadelphia, we'll be able to practice in it and be outdoors in it and do more of that," Foles said after Sunday's game. "So we're going to be able to get more used to it. And that's a great thing. And then playing these last two games at home in a cold environment does nothing but benefit us, just because the weather has gotten more cold the past couple of weeks. So we're still getting used to it, but it's no reason. It is a huge advantage to us. Teams coming up here don't want to play in this."  

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