The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)

Home not so sweet in NFL this season despite return of fans

- By Josh Dubow

The fans are back and the crowds are loud, but home-field advantage still isn’t a factor early in this NFL season.

Road teams have won 33 of the 64 games over the first four weeks, extending a trend that began in 2019 and continued through the pandemic-impacted 2020 season when games were played in front of few, if any, fans.

The .484 winning percentage for home teams is the sixthworst since the merger through four weeks of game action. This is the third straight season that home teams failed to have a winning record through four weeks, something that hadn’t happened before that since 1983.

Since the beginning of the 2019 season, road teams are 284-290-2 for a .495 winning percentage.

There was some expectatio­n

that would change this season when road teams again would have to deal with loud crowds that forced silent counts and made running offense more difficult. But that hasn’t contribute­d to more home wins.

Perhaps no team has exemplifie­d the homefield woes more than the San Francisco 49ers the past two years. The Niners are 1-6 at Levi’s Stadium in that span, lost all three games as the designated “home team” in Arizona when they relocated last year because of COVID-19 protocols and are 7-3 in true road games.

The Niners look to improve to 3-0 on the road this season when they travel to Arizona this week. Denver also puts its 2-0 road mark on the line this week at Pittsburgh. BLANKED

The Bills posted their second shutout already this season, following up a 35-0 Week 2 win against Miami with a 40-0 victory over Houston.

Buffalo joined eventual Super Bowl champions Baltimore (2000) and Washington (1991) as the only teams since 1990 to record two shutouts in the first four games.

The Bills were also the first team since the 2009 Jets to have two shutouts of 35-0 or better in the same season. New York beat the Raiders 38-0 and Bengals 37-0 that season.

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