Last week, in advance of the Buccaneers’ trip to the other Bay area, we noted that traveling to the West Coast hadn’t been a particular disadvantage for Eastern teams in 2012. Teams based in cities in the Eastern Time Zone had played nine games in the Pacific Time Zone during the first eight weeks of the season and won four of them, which seems pretty much like regular home field advantage at work. Then the Bucs went to Oakland and evened up that mark at 5-5 with a 42-32 victory over the Raiders.
This week, the situation is reversed. The Buccaneers are waiting at home for a West Coast team that has to fly cross-country, as Tampa Bay plays host to San Diego at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday. So, has that trip been a particular disadvantage this year?
Actually, the story is pretty much the same. Teams based in the Pacific Time Zone (including Arizona, which is essentially on Pacific time until Daylight Savings ends), played a total of seven games in Eastern Time Zone locations during the first nine weeks of the season. They won three and lost four.
San Francisco memorably throttled the Jets in the Meadowlands, 34-0, in Week Four, but given the diverging paths of those two teams, that has become less surprising since. Seattle won a close one at Carolina in Week Five, but the most eye-popping result on this list was Arizona’s 20-18 win at New England in Week Two, a victory that decimated knockout pools all over the country.
San Diego has already made one such trip, losing 7-6 at Cleveland two weeks ago. Obviously, the Buccaneers are hoping to send the Chargers home on another unhappy flight, but it’s unlikely the trip to Tampa will have much to do with that.