Yardbarker Horiz

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Buccaneers Building Home Field Advantage

For years, NFL teams have enjoyed a home winning percentage of 55-60% on average (that's the bad included with the good).  Winning at home is a hallmark of a good team.  Winning on the road is the hallmark of a great team.

Since the beginning of the 2010 season, the Buccaneers have compiled a 14-10 record. Last season, the Buccaneers were 4-4 at home and an amazing 6-2 away from Raymond James Stadium. This season, Tampa Bay is 3-1 at home but just 1-3 away from home.

It's extremely odd for the youngest teams in the NFL to have a significantly better record away from home, and 2010 is clearly an exception to the norm in pro football. The 2011 season has swung the other way at the halfway mark.  But it's the home record that is most important.

A young team generally starts to win consistently at home before getting used to the travel and environment of away games.  The home record this season will mark the team's progress now that rebuilding is (or is nearly) over.

The remaining home games include 6-3 Houston this weekend (first game at home since October 16th), 4-4 Dallas on Saturday night, December 17th, and 2-6 Carolina on Christmas Eve.  It will be a sign of great progress if Tampa Bay can continue to win at home this season.

Another good sign:  the Buccaneers are 2-0 in the division at home this season.  Tampa Bay has not gone 3-0 at home against the division since 2008.  The formula to win a division is to win at home first, then learn to beat those same teams on the road.

It's all about experience and maturity now.  The Buccaneers can't get any younger, and winning out at home would be a great way to show progress this season.

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