Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 10/19/12
The Patriots found out the hard way that CenturyLink Field is a tough place to play football games. But does Seattle truly have the NFL's biggest home-field advantage? According to Andrew Mooney from the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective, they do. According to the study, the Seahwaks gain the most from playing at home while the Patriots hardly gain anything at all. Mooney compared point differentials from home and away games since each team opened their current stadiums, throwing out the new stadiums in Indianapolis, Dallas, New York and the newly renovated Soldier Field in Chicago. Comparing the home and away differentials, the Seahawks game an average of 79.9 points per season since opening CenturyLink -- or Qwest Field as it was -- in 2002. Joining them in the top five are Baltimore (75.5), St. Louis (64.1), Arizona (60.0) and Kansas City (58.3). The Patriots (16.1) sit at the bottom of the list with some curious company. Long-believed to be one of the NFL's loudest stadiums, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans comes in with the second-lowest average, gaining just 19.2 points per season for the Saints. What this proves -- besides that the Seattle is a tough place to play -- is that while most teams play better at home, the better teams have less of a drop off when they go on the road. For instance, the Patriots are more likely to win on the road than the Chiefs, contributing to a lower points-gained number for New England. It also does not take into account wins and losses -- which would likely skew the list toward teams like the Patriots and Saints -- or the strain that traveling all the way up to Seattle can have on East Coast and Midwest opponents. The "12th man" will keep rocking CenturyLink no matter how good or bad the Seahawks are. But with the way Pete Carroll has this team playing, that league-best number could keep climbing in years to come.
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