The full schedule for the 2023-24 NFL season has been released, and there are plenty of matchups getting our attention as we wait in colossal anticipation for training camp. That said, there is also a bevy of teams that could experience trouble down the road as the warm weather games start to dissipate.
Looking at the new regular season slate, some of the venues residing in southern and western states could play a major factor as we advance into the winter months. The southern stadiums like the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, and TIAA Bank Stadium in Jacksonville are all typically immune to bad weather games throughout the year.
There are also the teams that luck out occasionally by playing securely indoors and under a roof. For instance, the Detroit Lions and Las Vegas Raiders will each have a total of 12 dome games, trailing only the New Orleans Saints who have 13. The Saints also play just one game on grass, while the Baltimore Ravens have to play 15 of those games.
While some of this can be expected, given every team’s climate, there are a handful of organizations that receive a positive swing in indoor and positive weather matchups with each passing year. Bearing all of this in mind, let’s take a look at three northern-based teams that might have caught a break with the 2023-24 schedule.
The Bears never have much to marvel at on their schedule. However, their stretch of games from Week 8 through Week 12 could potentially be pivotal for their record. By the time we get to that point of the year, it will be the end of October — which means the weather in Chicago is going to start turning ugly. This will give them a bit of an opportunity to perform away from the bitter conditions that they’re used to.
They’ll travel out west to battle the Los Angeles Chargers (Week 8), play indoors against the Saints (Week 9), a home game against the Carolina Panthers (Week 10), then back on the road for two dome matchups — Detroit (Week 11) and Minnesota Vikings (Week 12).
As we alluded to earlier, the Lions are one of the only northern-based franchises that are fortunate enough to play their games in an indoor home stadium. They have just five outdoor matchups on the docket. This should help them establish a rhythm early next season, which is great for a team on the rise in 2023.
It’s true that new head coach Sean Payton has an inordinate amount of experience with his team playing indoors. He spent 15 years in New Orleans playing in a dome, and he’s proved his success doing so. Now with the Broncos, a team that plays most of their games on a grass field with volatile weather climate conditions, how is the former Super Bowl champion going to adapt?
Well, despite the Broncos getting just four dome matchups next season, they all fall in the final six weeks of the regular season. This could bode well for them, depending on what they can accomplish in the first half of the year.