Comfort will trump toughness in cold

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Josh Boyd isn't into making a fashion statement, and he doesn't believe he needs to go sleeveless to show off his toughness.

All the Packers defensive lineman wants is to stay warm in the subzero weather when the 49ers visit for today's wild-card game.

So many intriguing story lines between these two NFC powers, yet the arctic cold might trump them all.

"I'm going sleeves," said Boyd, a rookie from Mississippi. "I don't see it as a tough-guy thing. I just see it as being comfortable."

The National Weather Service forecast for today in Green Bay called for a high temperature of 2 degrees with north-northwest winds making it feel more like minus-15 to minus-20.

The coldest NFL game on record is the 1967 championship game, known as the "Ice Bowl," won by the Packers 21-17 over the Cowboys at Lambeau Field on New Year's Eve. The temperature dipped to minus-13, and the wind chill was minus-48.

That might be little consolation to Boyd, for whom cold games in college meant 30 or 40 degrees. "This is a whole other animal," he said. "I've never seen negatives until I got here."

Linemen are renowned for toughing out inclement weather without sleeves under jerseys. Don't want to give the opponent even the slightest idea that you're soft, the line of thinking goes.

Well, 49ers DT Justin Smith might wear sleeves for what he estimates would be the second or third time over his 13-year career.

"You're not going to have an advantage having no sleeves. You're not going to scare the opponent," Smith said.

Packers C Jonathan Goodwin said he has no problem wearing sleeves: "I gave up on the 'don't wear sleeves to look tough' a long time ago."

More cold: Temperature at kickoff in Philadelphia was 25 degrees Saturday night. But Saints CB Keenan Lewis came out shirtless for warmups.

Chiefs lose three: Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles, WR Donnie Avery and CB Brandon Flowers left Saturday's game in Indianapolis with concussions. Charles, third in the league with 1,287 rushing yards and first on the Chiefs with 70 catches in the regular season, was hurt on his third carry of the game. Avery, who caught a 79-yard TD, was diagnosed early in the second half. The team did not say how it happened. Flowers was hurt trying to tackle Colts RB Donald Brown on his 3-yard touchdown catch during the third quarter.

Saints leader out: Pierre Thomas, the Saints' top rusher with 549 yards, sat against the Eagles with a chest injury sustained in the season finale. Meanwhile, Eagles S Early Wolff was active after missing five of the past six games and most of last week's practices with a knee injury.

Comfort will trump toughness in cold 01/04/14 [Last modified: Saturday, January 4, 2014 9:33pm]

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