In the ultra competitive National Football League, it can be incredibly difficult for a team to overcome a slow start to their season. In fact, history would suggest that several teams are already out of playoff contention after only two weeks of the regular season. If you don’t believe us, consider this eye-opening statistic. Since the NFL adopted the current 12-team playoff structure in 1990, only 23 out of the 204 teams, or 11.2%, that have started a season 0-2 have gone on to play their way into the playoffs.
This year, nine teams have gotten off to an 0-2 start. Among them are three of the last four Super Bowl champions and four 2014 playoff teams. Statistics would suggest that one of the nine teams will go on to qualify for the 2015 NFL Playoffs. Here is a look at our take on which 0-2 team has the best chance at defying the odds and making a run to the playoffs in 2015.
Better Luck Next Year…
1. Houston Texans
The Texans may have one of the league’s better defenses, but no Arian Foster and an ongoing quarterback controversy will prove to be too much for them to overcome. We are forecasting a sub-.500 overall record for the Texans in 2015.
2. Chicago Bears
It’s beginning to look like the Bears are indeed the worst team in the NFC North, just as many experts had predicted this offseason. It appears as though highly regarded offensive coordinator Adam Gase can’t even help quarterback Jay Cutler, as the 32-year-old quarterback was again battling inconsistencies before suffering a hamstring injury that knocked him out of the Bears’ Week 2 game against the Arizona Cardinals. This is a team that could contend for the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
3. Detroit Lions
Make no mistake about it, the Lions are one of the more talented teams in the NFC. However, talent alone won’t get them to the postseason in 2015. Their quarterback, Matthew Stafford, is banged up, and their defense just isn’t the same without defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh causing havoc up front. If that weren’t enough, the Lions have a brutally tough schedule over the next three weeks with games against the Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals. If they go winless over that stretch, they will be sitting at 0-5 with practically no chance at making the playoffs.
4. New Orleans Saints
The saving grace for the Saints the last couple of years has been the fact that they have Drew Brees (pictured above, right) at quarterback. That could all change in 2015. Brees is currently nursing a shoulder injury, and his play so far this season has us believing that Father Time could be getting the best of the 36-year-old quarterback. If Brees is healthy, we see this as an 8-8 or 9-7 team. If Brees isn’t at full strength, this is a sub-.500 team.
Still Alive and Fighting…
1. New York Giants
The Giants are winless right now, but they could just as easily be undefeated after letting each of their first two games of the season slip through their fingers during the final minute of play. Now that the 2-0 Dallas Cowboys will be without quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant for the foreseeable future, the NFC East is up for grabs, and we firmly believe that the Giants will one of the top contenders.
2. Philadelphia Eagles
The state of the NFC East is really the only reason that we are giving the Eagles a fighting chance at this point. If head coach Chip Kelly (pictured above) can get things turned around on offense, this team will be much more competitive. That said, if their offense continues on their current path, the Eagles will struggle to win eight games in 2015.
3. Baltimore Ravens
We are giving the Ravens a chance based on their impressive track record over the last decade. That being the case, the Ravens need to turn things around in a hurry to have a chance at making a run to the postseason. Their division, the AFC North, is deep and home to two other playoff-caliber teams – the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers – in 2015. Ironically enough, Baltimore’s next two games will be against the Bengals and Steelers. If they lose one or both of them, they will have dug themselves into a hole that may be too much for them to overcome.
No Worries, Playoff Bound in January…
1. Seattle Seahawks
Over the last two weeks, it has become painfully clear that the Seahawks simply don’t have a dominating defense when they are playing short-handed. That should change going forward now that strong safety Kam Chancellor has decided to end his holdout and will report to the team in time for their Week 3 game against the Chicago Bears. The Seahawks have a tough schedule remaining, but this is hands down the best 0-2 team in the league, and we fully expect them to continue their run of postseason success this January.
2. Indianapolis Colts
We would be singing a different tune about the Colts playoff chances if they played in just about any other division in the league. Nonetheless, they play in the AFC South and we just can’t imagine the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Tennessee Titans, or the Houston Texans overtaking them for the division title. Come playoff time, though, this team won’t last very long if their offensive line doesn’t improve in a hurry.
All statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.