Wow, this season has certainly started off with the have and have nots. For all of the high hopes, hype, months of therapy and healing, and finally the anticipation of opening day kickoff of a season that ends with your team hoisting the Lombardi trophy, it sure seems like a really bad ROI for about 31% of the fans around the country as ten teams have started the season 0-2 and reduced their chances of making the playoffs to just over 11%. Conversely, a quarter of the fans around the country will be a bit more eager to get the sports bar each week as they actually have 66% chance of making the playoffs.
Damn, really seems like we’re dramatically diminishing the importance of the remaining 14 games and next three months but number never lie. In fact, since 1978, exactly 224 teams have dropped their first two games and only 26 of those teams were able to climb out of that hole and make the playoffs. Doesn’t that seem strange in an era where 9-7 will usually get you to the second season, especially in the NFC? It should, because if you win your fist two games all you have to do is play .500 ball the rest of the way and you’ll get to the low bar. Since 1978, a 9-7 record has been good enough to earn a playoff berth 41 times. (However it should be noted that the number of 9-7 teams to make the playoffs and go on to win the Super Bowl is zero. The aberration that was the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers who became the first 6-seed to ever win the Super Bowl, entered that playoff season at 11-5.)
Ok, so obviously we’re speaking in hyperbole and 2-0 doesn’t mean they should start making reservations for the Bay Area, but it does look bad for some of the 0-2s and not just quantitatively. The Cowboys may be 2-0 but they’ve lost their starting Q,B and top wide receiver in well into winter, that bodes for a very cold and long off season. The defending NFC champions are 0-2 and look like they are still reeling from “the call” and the sting of falling one yard short of your ultimate goal. Michael Irvin is often not too profound but he did hit the nail on the head when he made the observation that the “Legion of Boom” is just a legion without Cam Chancellor. They also play in a very tough division. The Saints look to be in some serious trouble, without a lot of their firepower traded to the Seahawks in Jimmy Grahm, and now Drew Breese looks to injured and sailing at half-mass. The NFC North seems really soft so that gives the Lions some hope but they will need to get much better play from Matthew Stafford, but the Bears look like a team destined to be in line for the top draft choice as they’re staring down an 0-4 start with Jay Cutler being out for the next two games. Although in turmoil, if their were two teams that could possibly make it out of mire it would be the Eagles and Giants. Both 0-2, the Eagles still have Chip Kelly and a ton of fire power, and this is familiar territory for the GMen who have not only been here before but have even made it to the Super Bowl after starting 0-2. The Texans could possibly be the most disappointing of all the winless teams as they were a consensus sleeper pick by many, as were the Colts who were one-time favorites to come out of the AFC. After getting manhandled by the Jets in their own dome it’s looking like the Patriots aren’t the only ones deflating footballs when taking on the Colts. The Ravens find themselves in a huge hole already in arguably the toughest division in the NFL already down 2 games. Their defense looks like it sorely misses Terrell Suggs and upcoming divisional games with the Bengals and Steelers could easily mean an 0-4 start, making the 2015 season one big write-off.
For the winless teams it’s not time to put the fire out, and the eternal flame of hope still burns thanks to “They Might Be Giants” that shocked the Patriots but history and stats show that it will be an uphill battle.