Statistics rarely shock me. After all, they’re just numbers. It’s the NFL, and any team can win on any given Sunday. So, when I learned that the Buccaneers are 3-26 in team history when traveling to the west coast, I wasn’t too surprised.
Historical perspective can often cloud future judgement; however, I don’t think the stats lie this time. And that’s because this Sunday's game is in Seattle, arguably the most difficult stadium for opposing teams to play in.
Tucked comfortably up in the northwest, 800 miles away from the nearest NFL city, the cold, drizzly confines of Qwest Field amplifies crowd noise because of it’s metal bleachers in the end zone and the steep overhangs redirecting noise onto the field before it can escape into the rainy Seattle sky. Opposing teams commit false start penalties on average almost three times each game, the highest average in the league. Since 2005, a season in which the visiting Giants committed 11 false starts in one game, visiting teams have tallied 92 false starts, 12 more than anyone in the league.
Seattle’s five wins have come against opponents with a combined record of 17-49, with four of those wins coming at home and two of them against the division rival Rams (1-12). So, when the Seahawks decide to show up, it’s against bad teams and it’s in front of their home crowd, where they’ll entertain the Bucs on Sunday.
Earlier this year I suggested that this game should be circled on the schedule as a game the Bucs would have a reasonably good chance of winning. However, the performances in recent weeks has led me to back off that assumption. And with the draft lottery in full swing, and the winning numbers 1 and 15, I’m not upset about it.
For the Buccaneers, this weekend’s plane ride home may be far longer than the trip there. So buckle up, because this Sunday, victory will likely be for the birds.
Prediction: Seahawks 24, Buccaneers 14.