Seattle is 2-0, has the largest home field advantage in the NFL, and is hosting the worst team in the NFL, Jacksonville, on Sunday. The Jaguars have scored one touchdown through two games, and are woefully inept offensively. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert was atrocious in the season opener, then got hurt; Chad Henne fared slightly better against Oakland (25-of-38, 6.3 YPA) but that ain’t saying much.
How bad was it against Oakland? The Jaguars went about 35 minutes of gametime between first downs. They had five straight three-and-outs between the 2nd and 4th quarters.
Their best skill player, Maurice Jones-Drew, was injured against the Raiders, and it is unclear if he’ll play this weekend. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the Jaguars won’t even sleep in their own beds or enjoy a home cooked meal this week – they decided to stay on the West Coast, rather than make two cross-country trips in a week.
All of this adds up to … the Seahawks being 19.5 favorites in week three. It is the 10th largest spread in NFL history. (The game opened at 21 on one site, but was quickly bet down to 19.5.) Here are some of the other largest spreads in NFL history, with the result.
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay (+27) – 12/4/1976: Pittsburgh 42, Tampa 0
Philadelphia at New England (-24) – 11/25/2007: New England 31, Philadelphia 28
Cincinnati Bengals at San Francisco (-24) – 12/5/1993: San Francisco 21, Cincinnati 8
San Francisco at Atlanta (+23.5) – 10/11/1987: San Francisco 25, Atlanta 17
Tampa Bay at Dallas (-23) – 10/3/1977: Dallas 23, Tampa Bay 7
Miami at New England (-22) – 12/23/2007: New England 28, Miami 7
New England at Tampa Bay (+21) – 12/12/1976: New England 31, Tampa Bay 14
N.Y. Jets at New England (-20.5) – 12/16/2007: New England 20, N.Y. Jets 10
Indianapolis at New England (-20.5) – 12/4/2011: New England 31, Indianapolis 24
Carolina at St. Louis (-19.5) – 11/11/2001: St. Louis 48, Carolina 14
Houston at Philadelphia (-19) – 9/29/2002: Philadelphia 35, Houston 17
New England at Baltimore (+19) – 12/3/2007: New England 27, Baltimore 24
As you can see, being a massive favorite doesn’t ensure an easy cover. In the 12 games listed here, favorites covered just twice. If you take away the 1976 game and the 2001 game, no NFL favorite of 19 points or more has covered the spread in the last decade.
And as noted on twitter yesterday, the Seahawks play the 2-0 Texans the following week in a potential AFC title game Super Bowl preview. [Ed. Oof.] And Gus Bradley, the Jaguars coach, was the defensive coordinator of the Seahawks in 2012, so he’s familiar with Seattle.
You’ve been warned.