clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What an 0-4 start means for an NFL team’s playoff chances

We break down teams in a must-win position four weeks into the 2023 NFL season.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates his first down against the Los Angeles Chargers in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium.  Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL season is in full swing as we have already reached Week 4. Teams are starting to show who is a legitimate contender and who is not. The worst teams in the league right now include the Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, and Carolina Panthers, all making up the winless teams.

There have been six teams to make the playoffs after starting 0-3 in NFL history. Most recently, the Houston Texans started 0-3 in 2018 and went onto win the AFC South before losing in the Wild Card round. No team has done it since the NFL schedule expanded to 17 games in 2021. Only one team has made the playoffs starting 0-4 in NFL history. That was the San Diego Chargers in 1992.

This year, four teams are 0-3 heading into Week 4, and they all happen to be playing each other on Sunday.

Broncos (0-3) @ Bears (0-3)
Vikings (0-3) @ Panthers (0-3)

Both the Broncos and Bears had high hopes coming into the 2023 season. Sean Payton was taking over as the head coach for the Broncos and everybody thought that would immediately make them a contender in the AFC. The Bears were coming off an encouraging season and Justin Fields finished the year strong. Both teams have been awful so far and I wouldn't expect either team to have a chance to turn things around and sneak into the playoffs.

The Vikings had the biggest expectations heading into the season amongst the 0-4 teams. The offense was one of the best of the NFL last season and they have the best offensive player in football with Justin Jefferson. They made some moves to save some money on their defense, but starting the season 0-3 is disappointing. The Panthers were the most expected to struggle compared to the other three. They have a rookie quarterback and are in the middle of a rebuild. You can’t expect this team to be good this year.