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BUFFALO, NY – It’s the toes of Josh Allen.
When Buffalo Bill’s quarterback plays in the elements, keeping his feet comfortable is a priority.
“I do not know why I get poor circulation in my feet,” Allen said. “My toes get really cold and they get numb a little bit, so I keep these pacifiers as warm and dry as possible as well as my hands.”
The cold weather will be a factor when the Bills host the New England Patriots in the wildcard round on Saturday (20:15 ET, CBS), with an expected low of 2 degrees and gusts of 13 mph, per. AccuWeather. It could feel like minus-6 degrees. It will be the third meeting between the Bills and the Patriots (after splitting the regular season series) in 41 days – the shortest time to play against a single opponent in Bills’ history, according to Elias Sports Bureau research.
There will be plenty of fans there to experience the weather. For the first time since the 1996 season, the Bills will have a home playoff game with full attendance allowed. Buffalo hosted two playoff games last year – their first in 25 years – but had limited capacity due to COVID-19.
While the home crowd is good news for the Bills – they have a 12-3 record in home playoff games, tied with the Seattle Seahawks for second-best among the teams to play at least 10 playoff games at home – the weather is not ideal for Allen.
The quarterback’s accuracy has been down lately, with him completing 49.3% of passes in his last two games – both at home. On a broader scale, in five career starts with freezing temperatures in playing time, Allen has thrown six touchdowns to seven interceptions and has a completion rate of 50.3%. It is the second lowest among 41 quarterbacks to have made at least five such starts (Tim Tebow, 42%) over the past 15 years. Allen was fired three or more times in three of those fights.
“It’s not fun to be hit in the cold; it’s not fun to catch hard passes in the cold, ”Allen said. “Getting off the ground, it’s a little more exhausting during the game.… Just trying to get used to it, and it’s more of a mental barrier than it is a physical barrier, if anything.”
In Allen’s five games in minus degrees, the Bills have gone 3-2, including winning two this season against the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons.
Allen has not been fired once in the Bills’ last three games, a first in his career. They have been able to run the ball with running back Devin Singletary and Allen most recently, which will be necessary against a Patriots defense that has allowed the second-lowest completion rate behind the Bills.
Buffalo has been using colder footballs during the week, has turned off the heat and opened the doors once they have trained inside, and was out at the stadium Thursday. But there is no way to replicate single-digit temperatures with everything on the line.
“Just enjoy it. It’s getting cold on Saturday,” defensive end Jerry Hughes said. “But you know, with [Bills Mafia] at that stadium, when it gets loud, it will feel hot. ”