Green Bay Packers victory over the Atlanta Fa

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  • Discussing his Green Bay Packers victory over the Atlanta Falcons on a snowy night at Lambeau Field this week, coach Mike McCarthy uttered the sort of platitude that certainly sounds true.Winning in December is important, McCarthy said, and winning in December is difficult.Actually, a look at recent history shows the first part is not necessarily the case — especially if the ultimate goal is the Super Bowl. The idea that a strong regular-season finish is a prerequisite for an NFL championship turns out to be one of the myths and misconceptions about the last month of the year.Only once in the last nine years has a team with a better post-Dec. 1 regular-season record than its Super Bowl opponent won the title. And three times in that span, a team with a losing record down the stretch wound up taking home the trophy: Baltimore was 1-4 after Dec. 1, 2012; New Orleans was 2-3 heading into the playoffs three years earlier; Indianapolis was 2-3 three years before that. Each of those champs beat a Super Bowl foe that had a winning record over its final five regular-season games.Theres also a deep assumption that cold-weather teams dominate in the late season and playoffs.The weather definitely plays a part in football games late in the year, Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon said. I dont think theres a player alive that loves to play in cold weather, but you can get used to it.The Vikings chose the north sideline at TFC Bank Stadium — their temporary home while a dome is being built — because they thought it would help during colder games. With the angle of the sun on December afternoons, the south sideline where the visitors stand is usually completely shaded; if the sun is out, the Vikings sideline gets all of it.Coach Mike Zimmer said on-field readings from Minnesotas home game against Carolina on Nov. 30 showed a 20-degree difference between the sunny and the shaded sideline.The players thanked me for being on that side a couple of times, Zimmer said.While players — or their fans — in spots such as Buffalo or Pittsburgh might hope for an edge down the stretch in this seasons tight AFC playoff race, data compiled by STATS also shows that not all teams based in cold-weather cities thrive this time of year.Sure, over the past 10 seasons, New England is a league-best 42-7 in December, and 14-4 when its 32 degrees or colder at kickoff (oddly enough, only Houston, at 3-0, has a higher winning percentage).But Denver is only 8-9 at 32-or-below at kickoff, a .471 winning percentage thats a significant drop from its .609 in all other games over the decade. Another example: The Cleveland Browns havent been particularly good in any weather the past 10 years, but their winning percentage drops from .349 at 33 degrees or above to .238 when the mercury drops.Sometimes if you take a cold-weather team into warm weather late in the year, that can affect them just as much as it does when you take a warm-weather team and put them in cold weather. Now youve been practicing in colder weather and you have to go out and play in warmer weather — and youre not used to that, either, said Moon, who played for the CFLs Edmonton Eskimos before moving to the NFL. Fatigue sets in. Guys can get a little more tired or dehydrated.At the other end of the spectrum, there are teams from warm-weather sites that do just fine in the cold, such as the Miami Dolphins, who in admittedly small sample size have gone 4-3 at 32-or-below since 2004, a .571 winning percentage that dwarfs their 33-and-above mark of .416.If guys excel in cold weather, it has to be something theyve been coached on or theyve been taught to block it out and say, Were going to play better, Redskins receiver Santana Moss said. When coach (Joe) Gibbs was here, he always taught us that Redskins weather was bad weather — wet, soggy, gloomy, cold. And we actually won games that time of year. We had the same team that didnt even go to the playoffs, but we won games in December.___AP Pro Football Writer Dave Campbell in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, contributed to this report.___Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich Mats Sundin Jersey . The English Football Association had charged the German right back with violent conduct after retrospectively reviewing video evidence of an incident that was missed by match officials at Craven Cottage on Saturday. Bruce Boudreau Jersey . The Senators will put the busy off-season and training camp behind them when they open their regular season on the road. They kick things off Friday against the Buffalo Sabres and then head to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs on Saturday. http://www.officialmapleleafspro.com/Doug-gilmour-maple-leafs-jersey/ . And I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of my experiences gained through International competition and the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Seven NHL referees and six linesmen will be assigned upcoming games in Sochi by the IIHF as part of their 28-man officiating roster comprised of 14 refs and 14 linesmen. Johnny Bower Jersey . So far, so good: Gonzalez has allowed one run through 12 innings this season. His second start came Tuesday night, when he gave up only three singles over six innings to lead the Nationals to a 5-0 victory over the Miami Marlins. Morgan Rielly Jersey . They named Mark Washington as their defensive co-ordinator on Thursday and appear to be closing in on an offensive co-ordinator.MELBOURNE, Australia -- One player fainted mid-match as temperatures topped 42C (108F) at the Australian Open on Tuesday. Others said it felt like they were playing tennis in a sauna, or on a frying pan that sizzled their soles. The scorching heat on Day 2 thinned crowds at Melbourne Park and prompted players to cool off between points with bags of ice on their heads or draped over their necks. Little relief was expected this week, with similar heat forecast until Friday Canadian qualifier Frank Dancevic said he started feeling dizzy in the first set of his match against Benoit Paire and then collapsed in the next set. "I couldnt keep my balance anymore and I leaned over the fence, and when I woke up people were all around me," he said. After receiving medical attention, he returned to the match and lost in straight sets. "Its hazardous to be out there. Its dangerous," Dancevic said, criticizing the tournament for not having suspended play. "Until somebody dies, theyre just going to keep playing matches in this heat." The tournament has not yet invoked its "Extreme Heat Policy," saying the decision is based on a quotient of air temperature, humidity and wind speed. Officials have played down health risks, saying the majority of matches were completed without calls for medical attention. "Of course there were a few players who experienced heat-related illness or discomfort, but none required significant medical intervention after they had completed their match," Tim Wood, the tournaments chief medical officer, said in a statement. A ball girl was treated for heat stresss during a morning match, and the tournament shortened rotations for the ball kids to 45-minute shifts.dddddddddddd Players used metaphors and anecdotes to describe how hot it was. "I put the (water) bottle down on the court and it started melting a little bit underneath -- the plastic. So you know it was warm," former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki said. "It felt like I was playing in a sauna." Wozniacki was luckier than most. She had a straight sets win in the morning when it was 38C (100F). Sometimes a hot breeze stirred the air, making things worse, said No. 13-seeded John Isner, who retired from his first-round match with a right ankle injury. "It was like an oven -- when I open the oven and the potatoes are done. Thats what its like," Isner said. Two-time defending champion Victoria Azarenka agreed. "It felt pretty hot, like youre dancing in a frying pan or something like that," she said after advancing to the second round. Always cool under pressure, Roger Federer avoided touching the hot ground at changeovers by sitting on his bench with his feet up on a towel. The 17-time Grand Slam winner advanced to the second round, saying for him the heat was "just a mental thing." No. 4 Andy Murray struck a more sober tone. "As much as its easy to say the conditions are safe," Murray said, "It only takes one bad thing to happen." "It looks terrible for the whole sport when people are collapsing, ball kids are collapsing, people in the stands are collapsing," the Wimbledon champion said. "Thats obviously not great. 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