The last thing a struggling team wants to do is go away from home.
In 2012, home teams were 146-119, meaning they won 55.1 percent of the time and were just about as successful as the 9-7 New York Giants.
Simply put, winning on the road is extremely difficult, no matter who you're playing against. Winning on the road when nothing seems to be going right can seem downright impossible.
Nevertheless, desperation can lead to motivation, which can in turn lead to success.
Let's take a look at a couple 0-3 squads with favorable road matchups along with a gander at all Week 4 picks.
|Away Team||vs.||Home Team||Predicted Winner|
|San Francisco 49ers||vs.||St. Louis Rams||Rams|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||vs.||Minnesota Vikings||Steelers|
|Baltimore Ravens||vs.||Buffalo Bills||Ravens|
|Cincinnati Bengals||vs.||Cleveland Browns||Bengals|
|Indianapolis Colts||vs.||Jacksonville Jaguars||Colts|
|Seattle Seahawks||vs.||Houston Texans||Seahawks|
|Arizona Cardinals||vs.||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Buccaneers|
|Chicago Bears||vs.||Detroit Lions||Lions|
|New York Giants||vs.||Kansas City Chiefs||Chiefs|
|New York Jets||vs.||Tennessee Titans||Titans|
|Dallas Cowboys||vs.||San Diego Chargers||Chargers|
|Washington Redskins||vs.||Oakland Raiders||Redskins|
|Philadelphia Eagles||vs.||Denver Broncos||Broncos|
|New England Patriots||vs.||Atlanta Falcons||Falcons|
|Miami Dolphins||vs.||New Orleans Saints||Saints|
Much has been made about how rusty and tentative quarterback Robert Griffin III has looked in his return from major knee surgery. While those concerns are valid, what's more alarming is that it has been more like Washington C through the first two games. You know, because the "D" has been non-existent.
(I'm so sorry.)
Through the Redskins' first three games (all losses), they have given up 488 yards per game, 9.8 yards per passing attempt and 4.8 yards per rushing attempt. The first two numbers are worst in the league, while the last is a sparkling 28th.
But don't forget they've faced the fast-paced Philadelphia Eagles, the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions, all top-four teams in yards per game this season. A matchup against the Oakland Raiders—likely without dynamic quarterback Terrelle Pryor, per ESPN's Adam Schefter—is going to be a breath of fresh air:
Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor, who suffered a concussion Monday night, is unlikely to play Sunday vs. Washington, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 26, 2013
Even this colander-like defense can serve as resistance to Matt Flynn and Co.
And on the other side of the ball, Mike Shanahan's team can move the ball just fine. Even with RGIII still working his way back to full strength, Washington ranks 14th in pass offense and 11th in rush offense according to Football Outsiders' advanced statistics.
Prediction: Redskins 28, Raiders 24
Note: This game is in London, but the Steelers are playing away from home and are technically the "road team." So I'm going to allow it. Because I'm the writer.
With the NFL increasingly becoming a passing league, you'd think a team that ranks 10th in the league in passing yards and third in passing yards allowed would have at least notched one win through the first three games.
Not The Black and Gold, though, who have been plagued by a pathetic running game and an NFL-worst minus-9 turnover differential.
Part 1 of that should be somewhat improved on Sunday, as bulldozer rookie running back Le'Veon Bell is set to make his debut and start, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Mark Kaboly:
No official word from #Steelers, but Le'Veon Bell will start against the Vikings— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly_Trib) September 26, 2013
That should only further open things up for Ben Roethlisberger, who threw for 406 yards and an impressive 9.9 yards per attempt against the Chicago Bears last week, against a Vikings secondary that just gave up 321 yards and three scores to Mr. Brian Hoyer.
Which road team will get the desperate win?
On the other side of the ball, Christian Ponder's status is uncertain, and whether it's him or Matt Cassel, it's going to be ugly against the Steelers' still-stingy secondary.
Prediction: Steelers 27, Vikings 17