Fans prepare for the Buffalo Bills game Saturday night

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM/WIVB) — One of the coldest games on record against a division rival at the first home playoff game in front of a full crowd in nearly two decades will be played in Western New York.

Saturday night, the Buffalo Bills will host the New England Patriots in the Wildcard Round of the NFL Playoffs. The Bills have high hopes for their playoff run, as they try to make it to the Super Bowl after falling short to the Kansas City Chiefs last season in the AFC Championship game. This is the first time the Bills will host a playoff game in front of a full crowd since the 1990s. Remember last year, Bills Mafia was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The energy is almost overwhelming,” John Murphy, play-by-play voice of the Buffalo Bills, told 18 News.

Will this be the coldest game on record?

Overwhelming energy from fans who are preparing for one of the coldest games on record with temperatures into the single digits and wind chills below zero.

The date was January 15, 1994. The Bills were coming off a 12-4 season atop the AFC East standings, set to take on the Los Angeles Raiders in the divisional playoff game. The game (outcome aside) has lived in local infamy as the coldest Bills game in Orchard Park. The temperature on January 15 was 0 degrees with a wind chill colder than -10 degrees. Given the latest forecast trends, it appears Saturday night’s forecast could be “in the ballpark”.

An arctic cold front dropped southward late-day Thursday, sparking a shift to a northerly wind, ushering in a fresh and potent bitterly cold air mass that will ooze southward Friday into Saturday. Current guidance suggests temperatures will sputter into the single digits in Orchard Park by that late hour, coupled with a breeze out of the east of 5-10 mph that will drop wind chills below zero.

Physicians remind fans that they need to layer up to avoid hypothermia and frostbite. Another concern for emergency departments is drinking alcohol in these conditions because it will make you colder faster.

“Your blood comes closer to the surface of the skin and you can actually cool down a lot faster than you would if you weren’t drinking alcohol,” Sarah Winward, physician’s assistant at Arnot Health, added.

Where to watch the game in Twin Tiers?

If you are staying close to the Twin Tiers, local restaurants say they are ready with plenty of food on hand for fans who go out to watch the games.

“Anyone who knows Mooney’s knows we are all about Buffalo. It tends to get busier around the time of the game,” Drew DiLaura, manager at Mooney’s Bar and Grill in Big Flats, added.

As for the opponent, it is a familiar foe. The Bills split the regular-season matchups with the Patriots losing at home in windy conditions and winning on the road in December in Foxborough.

“It’s still the Patriots and people have a lot of emotional baggage when it comes to that team. It’s going to be really electric with a lot of emotion in the air and it’s gonna be a lot of fun,” Steve Tasker, former Buffalo Bills player, said.

Bills fans from near and far will descend on Orchard Park Saturday keeping in mind an iconic saying from Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy.

“When it’s too tough for them, it’s just right for us,” Tasker concluded.

Where else would you rather be Saturday night? Bundle up Twin Tiers, it might be chilly.

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