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What an 0-2 start means for an NFL team’s playoff chances

The dreaded 0-2 start has hit 5 teams so far in Week 2. The Titans and Packers will try to fight away 0-2 in primetime.

Sunday update: As we’ve seen below, an 0-2 record is a scary one for any team, especially of late. Let’s see which teams have that black mark so far in Week 2.

Las Vegas Raiders 0-2
Cincinnati Bengals 0-2
Carolina Panthers 0-2
Atlanta Falcons 0-2
Houston Texans 0-2

The Panthers, Texans and Falcons aren’t a big surprise, but the Bengals, after making it to the Super Bowl last season and the Raiders after adding Davante Adams, are two possible playoff teams that will need to get their acts together.

We still have a few teams left who will do their best to keep from falling 0-2. The Packers tonight vs. the Bears and the Tennessee Titans against the Buffalo Bills on Monday night. Both teams were their conference’s No. 1 seed last year.

The 2022 NFL season has kicked off Week 2 with the Chiefs coming back to beat the Chargers on Thursday Night Football. Kansas City improved to 2-0 with the win while LA dropped to 1-1. Both are going to be playoff contenders, and even with the loss, the Chargers have no reason to panic.

Every year, the dawn of Week 2 brings with it some version of the following stat about 0-2 teams making the playoffs. In this case, the last time an 0-2 team made the playoffs was in 2018 when the Texans and Seahawks both accomplished the feat.

There is one notable change that has to be considered when we look at the 0-2 stat. The NFL season increased from 16 to 17 games last season, so an 0-2 team has an extra week available to get a needed win. Of course, more often than not an 0-2 start often indicates significant underlying issues that explain why a team might not turn things around.

Looking back at last year’s NFL standings coming out of Week 2, six teams were 0-2. The list includes the following, with their final record in parenthesis:

Atlanta Falcons (7-10)
Indianapolis Colts (9-8)
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-14)
Minnesota Vikings (8-9)
New York Giants (4-13)
New York Jets (4-13)

The Colts had a chance to claim a playoff berth in the final week of the season. All they had to do was beat the 2-14 Jaguars, and somehow they screwed that up with a 26-11 loss. They could have made it with losses by the Chargers, Steelers, and Dolphins, but Pittsburgh claimed an overtime win over Baltimore to eliminate Indianapolis.

Here’s a list of the 15 teams with an 0-1 record. The Colts and Texans tied so they are 0-0-1, while the remaining 15 teams are 1-0.

Arizona Cardinals
Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers
Cincinnati Bengals
Dallas Cowboys
Denver Broncos
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Jacksonville Jaguars
Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Rams
New England Patriots
New York Jets
San Francisco 49ers
Tennessee Titans