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It's old home week in NFL, but those homes may not be hospitable

Jaguars Coach Gus Bradley returns to Seattle, as a 191/2–point underdog. Raiders' Dennis Allen is back in Denver vs. mighty Broncos.

September 16, 2013|By Sam Farmer
  • Jacksonville Coach Gus Bradley will try to somehow make his return to Seattle a successful foray when the Jaguars line up against the Seahawks on Sunday.
Jacksonville Coach Gus Bradley will try to somehow make his return to Seattle… (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty…)

Welcome back to Seattle, Gus Bradley!

Your Jacksonville Jaguars are 191/2-point underdogs!

What kind of homecoming is that? The 0-2 Jaguars, unquestionably the NFL's worst team, are heading into the wood chipper that is the Seattle Seahawks, a team fresh off a 29-3 thrashing of mighty San Francisco.

Las Vegas clearly doesn't think Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll is going to take it easy on Bradley, his old defensive coordinator, who is in his first season as coach of the Jaguars.

What's more, the Seahawks are playing at CenturyLink Field, where the home crowd — nicknamed the 12th Man — secured a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for noise Sunday night with a decibel reading of 136.6, roughly as loud as a military jet taking off from an aircraft carrier.

"From the perspective of Las Vegas, Seattle and New Orleans have the biggest home-field advantages," said betting expert R.J. Bell of "I think the case can be made that Seattle's home field is worth four points. The average home field is worth three."

According to Bell, an NFL team has been favored by 20 or more points 10 times since 1990; in four of those instances the team was the 2007 New England Patriots, who finished the regular season 16-0.

The last eight of those 10 teams failed to cover the gigantic spread.

In the case of the Seahawks, they're playing host to a Jacksonville team that totaled 11 points in losses to Kansas City and Oakland. The Jaguars finally reached the end zone Sunday with 2 minutes 53 seconds to play. They nearly became the first team since the 2006 Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to go without a touchdown for the first two games of the season.

Bradley, who oversaw Seattle's defense the previous four seasons, isn't the only coach making a homecoming in Week 3.

Oakland's Dennis Allen will return to Denver for an AFC West game against the Broncos, for whom he was once defensive coordinator.

The return that's sure to be the most ballyhooed is Andy Reid's comeback pattern to Philadelphia for a Thursday night game. His Chiefs are 2-0 and have already matched last season's victory total.

Reid coached the Eagles for 14 seasons and will square off against his replacement, Chip Kelly, whose team has lots of offense but almost no defense.

Kelly said Monday that he isn't concerned about Reid's return — which coincides with the Eagles' retiring Donovan McNabb's jersey — being a distraction for his players.

"I think they're locked in," Kelly said.

On Sunday, quarterback Andrew Luck will lead the Indianapolis Colts against the 49ers and his old Stanford coach, Jim Harbaugh. Both teams are 1-1 after Week 2 defeats.

The Luck-Harbaugh connection runs even deeper. Harbaugh was a quarterback for the Colts and is in the club's ring of honor, and the current Indianapolis offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton, was on Harbaugh's staff at Stanford.

Harbaugh said Luck is even better than most people think he is.

"He's a terrific player and you see it on the tape," Harbaugh said Monday. "The ball comes out quicker than it looks like it comes out. The velocity on the throws is more than what it looks like. As good as he looks and as physical as he looks in the pocket and tough to bring down, he's even harder to bring down than you think.

"He looks fast when he's running with the ball and he's out of the pocket and can make a throw on the run or run. But he's faster than he looks."

Take a seat

The NFL continues to crack down on helmet-to-helmet hits, and Monday the league handed Tampa Bay safety Dashon Goldson a one-game suspension for his hit on New Orleans running back Darren Sproles, who was considered a defenseless player when Goldson lowered his head to hit him.

Losing Goldson for a game is a blow to the Buccaneers, who play at New England on Sunday, especially because the Patriots might be getting recuperating tight end Rob Gronkowski back for that game.

twitter: @latimesfarmer

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