How Important are the 1st 2 Weeks of the NFL?

As a Minnesota Viking Fan I found out the hard way that a quick start doesn’t always mean a playoff appearance! Last year the Vikings started the season 5-0 but injuries caught up to them and they failed to make the playoffs. So if a 5-0 team can miss the playoffs should we even worry about a team’s record after just 2 weeks? Because of Hurricane Irma we have eight 2-0 teams after Week 2 and nine 0-2 teams. So lets take a look at what history has told us about these teams and what to expect.

Lets start with the good. Looking at the eight 2-0 teams this year. They are Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Denver, Kansas City, Oakland, Detroit, Atlanta and Carolina. If we look at recent history we see that your odds are decent but not a sure thing to make the playoffs. There are 12 of 32 teams (37.5%) that make the playoffs each year. Taking a look back over the past 10 years, 48 of the 83 teams that have started 2-0 have made the playoffs (57.8). When just taking the last 5 years and things don’t really change. 22 of 38 (57.9%) have made the playoffs. So what about if a team keeps winning. Odds of making the playoffs continue to rise but you don’t really want to stay undefeated the longest. Last year it was my Vikings at 5-0 that went the longest and they didn’t even make the playoffs. The year before that the 14-0 Panthers ended up losing in the Super Bowl. In 2014 3 teams lasted the longest at just 3-0. 2 of those teams, The Cardinals and Bengals lost in the Wildcard Playoff game while the Eagles missed the playoffs. The last team to be the last team to lose a game and win a Super Bowl was the 2006-07 Indianapolis Colts and they are the only ones to do it since 2000.

So if going 2-0 gets your team in the playoffs just over 50% of the time can going 0-2 be that terrible for your team? Actually, Yes! Looking back over the past 10 years and the record of 0-2 teams to make the playoffs is just 9-74 (9.2%). That has gone up a bit over the past few years. Over the last 4 years we have had 5 0-2 teams make the playoffs out of 32 (15.6%). Though that isn’t a great percentage, it still a better sign for this year’s 0-2 teams (NY Jets, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, LA Chargers, NY Giants, Chicago, New Orleans and San Francisco). Now the pressure really goes up if these teams don’t get a win this week. There have only been 3 teams since 1990 to make the playoffs after starting the season 0-3. They were the 1998 Buffalo Bills, the 1995 Detroit Lions and the 1992 San Diego Chargers. The ’92 Chargers are the only team in NFL history to start the season 0-4 and still make the playoffs.

We have this years 2 week Have and Have Nots. So who are the 2-0 teams I don’t expect to continue to win and the 0-2 teams that could still make a run. Three 2-0 teams that I think will have the hardest time making the playoffs are the Broncos, the Lions and the Ravens. The Broncos have a great defense but I am still unsure of the offense, especially at QB with Trevor Siemian. Besides that, they also have 2 other 2-0 teams in their division (Raiders and Chiefs). Next is the Lions. They have had 2 good Ws to start the year but if you look at their next 6 weeks – vs. (2-0) Atlanta, @ Minnesota, vs. (2-0) Carolina, @ New Orleans, vs. (2-0) Pittsburgh and @ Green Bay, and they may be 3-5 or 2-6 at mid-season. I don’t expect them to be favored in any of those games. Finally Baltimore has already taken some major hits due to injury. RB Danny Woodhead is on IR, RB Terrence West is nursing a bum leg and probably the biggest hit is the loss of OT Marshal Yanda for the season. The Ravens make the tough trip to London this week followed by games vs. (2-0) Pittsburgh and at (2-0) Oakland. On the other side of things I would still have hope in the Bengals, Giants and Saints. All 3 have huge potential on offense but haven’t gotten things together yet. Things could be tough for Cincy going to Green Bay this week and falling to 0-3 but after that they have Cleveland, Buffalo and Indianapolis in the following 4 weeks. The Giants have struggled without a 100% OBJ, but Beckham got a little playing time Monday and as he gets back in the lineup more the O will start scoring plenty. Finally the Saints. You can’t keep Drew Brees down for too long. If they can figure out how to use AP with Brees in that offense it could be a real threat. The biggest problem for the Saints is they are in a division there the other 3 teams (Panthers, Falcons and Buccaneers) are a combined 5-0 so far.

So who are the 2-0 teams that you see as pretenders and who are the 0-2 teams that could still be contenders? We would love to hear your opinions on this. Make sure you don’t miss out on any of our RED HOT Football selections here at Razor Sharp Sports! Get all of our College and Pro Football action plus don’t forget about the Baseball! Keep it going with all of our winning action at http://www.freeplays.com/handicapper.asp?serviceID=8010 . Good Luck!

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