The deep freeze that has engulfed the U.S. is slowly releasing its grip.
But it's still January, and winter weather is not done messing with the NFL playoffs.
Lake-effect snow is threatening to disrupt the Buffalo Bills yet again as they prepare to host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in the divisional round. Meanwhile, bitter cold is expected to welcome the Houston Texans to Baltimore for Saturday's game against the Ravens.
Buffalo is facing another lake-effect snow warning ahead of Sunday's game. While it's not forecast to impact the game itself, it's threatening to create problems for the Bills as they prepare for the Chiefs on an already-short week.
Snow threatens to disrupt Bills practices
A lake-effect snow warning was issued for Western New York Tuesday afternoon and didn't expire until 7 p.m. ET Thursday. Forecasts called for an additional 1-3 feet of snow in Buffalo on top of the remaining snow from Sunday's storm that forced the postponement of Buffalo's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers to Monday.
The Bills won that game Monday and are scheduled to host the Chiefs on Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET) for the right to play in the AFC championship. The storm disrupted life and travel across the region ahead of the game and prompted a call from Erie County officials encouraging employers to make arrangements for employees to work from home.
Some areas of Western New York saw 30-plus inches fall in just 24 hours, and Orchard Park — where the Bills play — was blanketed in snow by Thursday. The storm prompted another call from the Bills asking fans to dig Highmark Stadium out of the snow ahead of Sunday's game.
McDermott: Bills prepared to make adjustments
Football practice, obviously, isn't a work-from-home situation. Head coach Sean McDermott said Tuesday that practices on Wednesday and Thursday are still scheduled as usual, but acknowledged that the storm is top of mind.
“We're just making sure we're on top of it the best we can," McDermott told reporters at his Tuesday news conference. "We’ve got a plan in place to make sure we’re getting the players in at the right time, as well as the staff, and trying to be on top of that from a scheduling standpoint.
"So we’ll handle it. Confident in that. And the best thing we can do right now is just have great communication around it for right now.”
Stay tuned. The Yahoo Weather forecast for Buffalo calls for precipitation alongside freezing temperatures through Friday. Sunday's forecast as of Tuesday called for cloudy skies with temperatures ranging from 21 to 27 degrees. It will be cold, but it's not expected to snow on Sunday.
Cold conditions for Ravens-Texans
Baltimore, meanwhile, isn't projected to see any snow for Saturday's game against the Texans that's scheduled to kick off at 4:30 p.m. ET. But temperatures favor the home team over a Texas team that plays its home games in a dome. The Yahoo Weather forecast for Baltimore calls for a high of 25 degrees and a low of 16 on Saturday.
The NFC games project to be spared from winter weather. The San Francisco 49ers are scheduled to host the Green Bay Packers at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. The Yahoo Weather forecast for Santa Clara calls for a high of 57 degrees and a low of of 38 degrees with a 9% chance of precipitation.
The Detroit forecast for Sunday's Lions game (3 p.m. ET) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is cold and wet. But that game, of course, will be played in the climate-controlled confines under the Ford Field roof.