Home-field advantage will play a major role in many of the contests in Week 3. Each team strives to obtain this advantage on its way to the postseason—and for good reason.
Last week was an illustration of the serious advantage NFL teams have when playing in front of their home crowds. The home teams compiled a dominant record of 12-4. That's a bit of an extreme example (Week 1 saw home teams go 9-7), but the point stands: Home crowds give homes teams an edge.
Plenty of quality games are on the schedule for this week, but here are three games with predictable outcomes—not only because of the matchups themselves but also because of the way home-field advantage will influence the contests.
Seattle Seahawks Abuse Jaguars
This is going to get ugly.
The Jacksonville Jaguars travel to CenturyLink field as 19.5 underdogs in the betting world—and for good reason.
The Jaguars have mustered just 11 points in two games, and quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne have been entirely ineffective. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew has only gained 72 yards on the ground.
Jacksonville is tasked with taking on a Seattle team that has allowed 10 points through two games and is coming off a rout of San Francisco—a team fresh off a Super Bowl appearance. To make matters worse, Russell Wilson and Co. have not lost at home since December—of 2011.
Seattle is a Super Bowl contender ready to compete for a title, and Jacksonville is on the opposite end of the spectrum as a team in the first stages of a serious rebuild.
Prediction: Seahawks 30, Jaguars 17
New England Patriots Take Advantage of Reeling Buccaneers
The New England Patriots have struggled in consecutive weeks against AFC East opponents. The team hardly escaped Buffalo in Week 1 with a 23-21 victory and then struggled to defend Gillette Stadium against the New York Jets, winning late 13-10.
But none of that compares to what Tampa Bay is going through.
The Buccaneers lost to the Jets in a Week 1 upset thanks to a boneheaded personal foul penalty late in the game. Keeping with that trend, Tampa Bay was penalized 10 times for 118 yards against New Orleans in a 16-14 loss, and safety Dashon Goldson was initially smacked with a suspension for consecutive illegal hits, but won his appeal and will only be hit with a fine per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The theme here is clear—Tampa Bay is as undisciplined as it gets, and coach Greg Schiano is having issues with quarterback Josh Freeman.
Tampa Bay is in a tailspin, and the last thing the Buccaneers need is a trip to New England.
Prediction: Patriots 28, Buccaneers 14
New Orleans Saints Put Down Cardinals
The New Orleans Saints are a consistently tough out at home—just ask the Atlanta Falcons, a team that lost its first game of the season in large part because of the amplified noise in the dome.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the cards are stacked against them. Arizona has won just three road games since 2011.
Granted, with new head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer, this is a much different Cardinals team. But the new-look Cardinals didn't exactly exorcise demons in their Week 1 road loss to St. Louis.
Between the home-field advantage, the return of head coach Sean Payton and the team's 2-0 start this season, the Saints won't have an issue defending their home turf.
New Orleans went undefeated in 2011 at home before the scandal-laden campaign that was last season. Things are back to normal for the Saints, which is a serious issue for a dreadful road franchise like Arizona, regardless of its changes.
Prediction: Saints 35, Cardinals 28
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