The Seattle Seahawks have the best home field advantage in the league. I wrote about some reasons why that is before the season began. Last night, we just witnessed another demolition by Seattle at home, as they handled New Orleans 34-7. That is the fourth time they have beaten a team by 20+ points at home this year, tying the mark they achieved last year. Seattle still has two more home games to surpass it.
So far, Seattle is undefeated and has outscored opponents by 112 points at home (+18.7 points a game), while they are +42 on the road (+7.0 points per game). If Seattle matches the same pace in the last two games, it will finish at 8-0 and +149 in points. That would not rank as the best margin for an undefeated team at home since 1978. Here are the teams that went 8-0 at home and outscored opponents by at least 150 points in those games.
- St. Louis Rams (1999) +197
- Minnesota Vikings (1998) +189
- New Orleans Saints (2011) +186
- Denver Broncos (1997) +176
- New England Patriots (2007) +172
- Pittsburgh Steelers (1979) +163
- Chicago Bears (1985) +156
- Dallas Cowboys (1980) +154
- Green Bay Packers (1996) +151
- Green Bay Packers (2011) +150
Seattle, at the current pace, would fall just outside that list. Half of those teams made the Super Bowl. If you are blowing teams out like that in half your games, you are probably pretty good.
What if we looked at all undefeated home teams in the regular season, and then compared them internally by dominance at home vs. on the road? Seattle actually moves a little further down the list if we look at home vs. road point differential, because winning by an average of 7 points is pretty good for a playoff team on the road. Seattle is still in the top half of the group (pro-rating out the home/road splits).
The split occurs at +88, with 24 teams that went undefeated at home being at least that much more dominant at home than the road (out of 47). Interestingly, we get the following in the playoffs:
- The undefeateds that showed the strongest home/road split were 19-9 at home in the postseason;
- The undefeateds that showed the weaker home/road splits were 25-7 at home in the postseason.
If I can offer some measure of hope on this day when the Saints cannot win on the road and the Seahawks are the most unstoppable team ever, teams that get a second crack in the postseason at the same venue show improvement. Of course, New Orleans will need a lot of improvement.
The Saints got blown out, but didn’t even get beat by 30 points. A few years ago, before the Jets’ rematch with the Patriots, I noted that teams that get a playoff rematch after being blown out by 30+ points are 6-10 in the second chance.
As strange as it feels, you would have more accurately predicted the playoff results if you ignored the effect of the blowout, treated it as a solid two touchdown win, and looked at the overall record of both teams, rather than focusing on what happened in that one game.
The Saints, or any other team, will have a difficult task to win. Last night, though, may not be the best reflection of how a rematch will go.