The 0-2 Nail in the Coffin and Your Team’s Odds to Get There

The Update: The Explanatory
September 7, 2017
Thursday Bright Football (Week 1): Kansas City’s Shovel Option and Overreacting to Brady
September 9, 2017

The 0-2 Nail in the Coffin and Your Team’s Odds to Get There

Since 2009, 62 NFL teams have gone 0-2 to start the season. Of those 62 teams, only five (8.06 percent) have made the playoffs. Two of those teams (2014 Indianapolis and 2015 Houston) played in the lowly AFC South and one other (2016 Miami Dolphins) is tabbed as one of Setting the Edge’s regression candidates for this season.

To put it simply, getting into the playoffs after a 0-2 start is incredibly unlikely. 91 of 96 playoff teams (94.79 percent) over the last eight years have avoided that type of start to the season. Think about it this way: To get to 10-6, the typical record that would get you in the playoffs, you need to go 10-4, winning more than 71 percent of your remaining games, to punch a ticket in.

71.14 percent of 16 games would be 11.42 wins. Of the 256 team records since 2009, only 36 (14.06 percent) were 12-4 or better. It’s incredibly hard to win at that clip in the “parody” league that is the NFL. It’s even harder to do it if you play to a level that gets you to 0-2 in the first place.

In an attempt to flag teams that have the potential to fall into the hole that is a 0-2 start, let’s take a look at Football Locks‘ lines. They have early lines for Week 2 up. With Week 1 and Week 2 lines up, we can make a combined line that will give us what books currently think of the opening two-week stretches for teams. We can rank teams 1st through 29th (excluding the Kansas City Chiefs who won against the New England Patriots to kick off the season and the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers who will open the season in Week 2.)

RankTeamWeek 1 LineWeek 2 LineCombined Line

Teams that are underdogs in both games: New York Jets, Cleveland, San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis and Jacksonville (Washington is not a favorite in Week 1 or Week 2, but they are a pick ’em in Week 2.)

Teams that are favorites in both games: Pittsburgh, Carolina, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Dallas, Arizona and Tennessee (Los Angeles Rams are not underdogs in Week 1 or Week 2, but they are a pick ’em in Week 2.)


Teams that are handicapped as 3+ touchdown underdogs over the next two weeks: New York Jets

Teams that are handicapped as 2-3 touchdown underdogs over the next two weeks: Cleveland and San Francisco

Teams that are handicapped as 1-2 touchdown underdogs over the next two weeks: Chicago, New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Jacksonville

Teams that are handicapped within a touchdown over the next two weeks: Minnesota, Philadelphia, Washington, Green Bay, Buffalo, Los Angeles Chargers, Denver, Houston, New York Giants, Baltimore, Los Angeles Rams, Tennessee, Arizona, Dallas, Cincinnati and New England

Teams that are handicapped as 1-2 touchdown favorites over the next two weeks: Seattle, Atlanta, Carolina and Oakland

Teams that are handicapped as 2+ touchdown favorites over the next two weeks: Pittsburgh

SUNDAY UPDATE: Spreads (via Jeff Sherman of the Westgate) for 0-1 teams (teams playing for their playoff lives in the coming week)

New York Jets@ Oakland+14.5
San Francisco@ Seattle+12.5
Cleveland@ Baltimore+7.5
Indianapolisvs Arizona+6.5
Chicago@ Tampa Bay+6
Houston@ Cincinnati+3
Washington@ Los Angeles Rams+2.5
Tennessee@ Jacksonville-1
Cincinnativs Houston-3
New England@ New Orleans-5
New York Giantsvs Detroit-5.5
Arizona@ Indianapolis-6.5
Seattlevs San Francisco-12.5

This gives us three clear “loser goes home” matches this week:

  • Houston @ Cincinnati (-3) on Thursday Night Football
  • Indianapolis @ Arizona (-6.5)
  • San Francisco @ Seattle (-12.5)