Tuck: NFL 0-2 Holes Tough To Dig Out Of

Making the playoffs after an 0-2 start is insanely difficult.  Usually the 0-2 start is the result of the team simply not being very good.  Occasionally there are exceptions, but not often.  0/7, 0/8, 0/9.  Those are the number of teams that advanced to the playoffs the last three seasons after beginning o-2.  2009-2011 teams starting 0-2 are a combined 0/24.

So for the 16 teams sitting at 0-1, history says this a big week.  The good teams, or even great teams will get to 1-1 most often.  The most notable teams staring history in the eyes are the Super Bowl champion Giants, the 2010 Super Bowl winners, Green Bay, the 2009 Super Bowl champs, the Saints, and the 2008 winners, the Steelers.  In fact, the last 7 champs are 0-1, consisting of just those 4 teams.

So what are the odds a team could go 0-2 and make the playoffs?

Since 1990, 184 teams have started 0-2.  Just 22 have made the playoffs.  That is a miniscule 11.96%.

So you’re saying there’s a chance?

Yes, small one.  In the last 13 years, just 9 teams bounced back.  So, although 3 teams did it in 2008 (Miami, Minnesota, San Diego), you probably shouldn’t bank on multiple teams pulling off the feat.  So look around at the group after this week, and figure maybe one can do it.

So how have teams done it?

They possessed a common denominator: All of the teams countered their shaky 0-2 record by each slapping together winning streaks of four or more games at some point in that season.  New England won six straight in 2001.  The Eagles carved out nine straight wins in 2003.  The Giants had a six-game winning streak in 2007, and Miami managed two winning streaks, one of four, and one of five games.

They also did less losing.  Obviously, they couldn’t afford to.  Of those nine teams, only four lost consecutive games again following their 0-2 starts.

Furthermore, hope grows beyond just making the playoffs.  You may have noticed the Pats and Giants went on to win Super Bowls in those years.

Bottom line, the Packers will be in trouble if they lose tonight.  Same with the other 15 teams if they lose over the weekend.  So if it happens, don’t necessarily fold the tent and call it a day, but don’t believe that it won’t be an issue either.