GREEN BAY, Wisconsin -- This will likely be the coldest game most of the Giants have ever played. It'll be the kind of weather that makes players wish for the game to be over. It can leave coaches red-faced for something other than screaming at the refs.
It's dangerous. It's uncomfortable. It can even be disruptive.
Or, as Giants coach Ben McAdoo says, "Good."
"You ask me about it and it's good," he said. "Weather is good. The weather is like 'Fight Club.' The first and second rule is we don't talk about 'Fight Club.' It's good. The weather is what it is."
That was the message to his team and anyone else who would listen this week as the Giants (11-5) prepared for frigid conditions and their Wild Card playoff game against the Packers (10-6) at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The current forecast calls for temperatures around 10-12 degrees at kickoff, with 5-10 mph winds that will make it feel like zero. As the game goes on there shouldn't be much of a change, though the wind chill factor may drop as low as minus-2.
And really, the Giants and the Packers got lucky. The forecast was much worse for Saturday night in Green Bay, with wind chills expected to be near 25 below zero. If it weren't for that "warm front" that's expected to push through overnight, this game could've rivaled the brutal 2007 NFC championship game in Green Bay when the temperatures was minus-1 when the Giants and Packers kicked off and the wind chill was minus-23.
McAdoo was there that day as an assistant for the Packers, who lost 23-20 in overtime to the Giants. He surely remembers the bright-red face of Tom Coughlin, as well as the extreme measures teams used to try to keep their players warm. And since he was an assistant in Green Bay for eight seasons, he obviously knows what the cold weather can do.
"I think it's more challenging in a practice environment than it is in a game environment," McAdoo said. "In a game environment you're out there for short bursts and then you're on the bench. The benches are heated and the sidelines are somewhat warmer.
"The most important thing is just focusing on the game. It's not about the elements. It's about preparing, anticipating, executing, and then being ready to adjust during the course of the game. That's what makes these games so special. It could come down to one play. One play changes the game, changes your season, changes the course of history.
"You have to be really dialed into what we're doing."
The players who played in that epic game in 2007 understand that, but they also know it was far easier said than done. Very few players went through their normal pre-game warm-up routine that day because it was too cold for them to be on the field for so long. Eli Manning used an oversized glove filled with hand warmers that was brought to him during TV timeouts. Giants center Shaun O'Hara recalled this week to SNY.TV how there was a point in the game where the weather made it so painful, he just wanted the game to be over, win or lose.
It shouldn't be that cold on Sunday night, but the weather could still be painful. For what it's worth, though, McAdoo's players have bought into his teachings this week. They followed his rules completely. They refused to talk much about the cold.
"Who cares? It's a playoff game," said receiver Victor Cruz. "We don't care about the weather. We're going out there to play a football game and to win -- keep our chances of winning a Super Bowl alive. The weather isn't anything we're concerned about."
Still, the Giants did try and prepare for that weather. They practiced outside during the week - though the temperatures in East Rutherford, N.J. were relatively balmy, in the 30s - and they kept the temperature turned way down in their indoor practice facility. Some players said it felt like the air conditioning was on even inside their meeting rooms all week long in an attempt to get them used to concentrating in the cold.
McAdoo, of course, didn't go into specifics of how he prepared his team for the weather. But remember, a few weeks ago he insisted that the Giants are "a cold-weather team." Even if that is true, could they possibly be prepared for the coldest weather some of them have ever experienced?
"I think we're battle-tested," a confident McAdoo insisted, "and we're ready to go handle the elements."