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The Ravens probably have the AFC's best home-field advantage

The Ravens have almost never enjoyed home-field advantage in their past decade of playoff appearances. Which is a bit of a waste, really.

According to a new ESPN analysis, M&T Bank Stadium has the second-best “observed home-field advantage” among current NFL venues, behind only the Seattle SeahawksCenturyLink Field.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell determined the advantage by calculating every team’s average point differential in regular-season home and road games since 1990, adding the values together and dividing by two. Observed point differential is preferable to win-loss record because, Barnwell explains, it predicts future success better than winning percentage.

Even with the Ravens’ 2015 season, in which their home-field advantage was no advantage at all (minus-1.6 points per game), the franchise has an observed HFA of 4.4 points per game since M&T Bank Stadium opened in 1998. Only the Seahawks, at CenturyLink Field since 2002, have done better (4.6 points). The New York Jets are third (3.7).

Elsewhere in the AFC North, the Pittsburgh Steelers are 14th (3.0) at Heinz Field, the Cleveland Browns are 24th (2.0) at FirstEnergy Stadium, and the Cincinnati Bengals are 28th (1.8) at Paul Brown Stadium. The Washington Redskins rank dead last, with 1.2 points per game of observed HFA at FedEx Field.

Over the past decade, the Ravens are even stronger in Baltimore (4.6). Only the Seahawks (5.1) and Green Bay Packers (4.7) have fared better in that period, but even they haven’t protected their house as the Ravens have. Barnwell found that since 2007, the Ravens have won 72.5 percent of their home games, best in the league.

“It’s always magical playing in that stadium, no matter what the record is,” former defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan told ESPN last year.

jshaffer@baltsun.com

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