NFL Week 3 Picks: Home Teams That Are Locks to Win

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2013

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 15:  Doug Baldwin #89 runs onto the field before the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers on September 15, 2013 at Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks have won nine straight home games since the beginning of the 2012 season, and that makes them locks to defend their home turf again this weekend. It also doesn't hurt that the reeling Jacksonville Jaguars are coming to town.

This game may not look like an exciting matchup on paper, but the Seahawks are one of the teams battling for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Every game is big for them, especially given the way they play at home.

A few other home teams this week will be heavily favored against lesser opponents. Although there's always the chance a favorite will overlook its opponent, the teams on this list have nothing to worry about this week.

Below is a full schedule for Week 3 followed by a group of home teams that are locks to win.


Minnesota Vikings (vs. Cleveland Browns)

An 0-2 team normally isn't a lock to win, but the Minnesota Vikings have lost a pair of tough division games and are the better team in this matchup.

Minnesota couldn't get a key stop in the final seconds in Week 2 as the Chicago Bears squeezed out a one-point victory. It was the Vikings' second straight road loss inside the division to start the season.

But when Minnesota plays at home, it is a completely different team. The Vikings went 7-1 in Minneapolis last year. On the other hand, the Cleveland Browns went 1-7 on the road last season. That's a big mismatch that will work in the Vikings' favor.

Cleveland is already 0-1 on the road this season and will be starting Brian Hoyer at quarterback, as the team announced on Twiter:

The Browns have scored a total of 16 points in two games, including just three points after halftime. With Hoyer under center and the offense already stalling, it's not a good sign. This team ranks 22nd in passing yards and 29th in rushing yards despite having Trent Richardson at running back, so clearly there are issues.

This looks like a game Minnesota should be able to win. The Browns haven't been able to move the ball on offense or win on the road. Minnesota has Adrian Peterson, Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson to help Christian Ponder.

The talent favors Minnesota, and this will end up being the team's first win.


Seattle Seahawks (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)

The biggest mismatch of the week happens to be in Seattle. The Seahawks have the best home-field advantage in football, and the Jacksonville Jaguars are simply a very bad team. 

During Seattle's nine-game winning streak at CenturyLink Field, its average margin of victory has been an incredible 19.3 points per game, which includes a pair of tight games against playoff teams.

Defense has been the key for Seattle. It ranks No. 1 in pass defense and has allowed a total of 10 points in two games against quality offenses. The San Francisco 49ers just came to town and lost by 26, so the Jaguars will have no chance Sunday.

Jacksonville is 1-12 in its last 13 road games and hasn't beaten a team other than the Indianapolis Colts on the road since the 2010 season. The Jaguars just lost by 10 in Oakland last week, so that's a telling sign of how this game will turn out.

The Jaguars rank 31st in run defense, which is something Marshawn Lynch will expose the Jags' 31st-ranked run defense, meaning this game could be over by the end of the first quarter.


Denver Broncos (vs. Oakland Raiders)

The Seahawks are the favorites in the NFC, and the favorite in the AFC should have no problem beating a division rival this week. 

Denver will play Oakland in Week 3 on Monday Night Football. It will get ugly early when a powerful offense goes up against a weak secondary in front of a raucous crowd. 

Peyton Manning has established himself as the leading candidate for the NFL Most Valuable Player. He has led his team to 90 points through two games with the league's No. 3 passing attack. Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas are all tough to cover, and Manning has the ability to pick apart defenses.

Terrelle Pryor has led the Raiders to the most rushing yards in the league through two weeks, but he will go up against the No. 1 run defense. 

The Broncos won the two meetings last season by an average of 22 points and have won eight of their nine home games in the regular season since Manning joined the team. 

The best offense in the league will host one of the worst defenses, so look for Manning to have another huge game. 


*All stats are courtesy of