Making the NFL postseason is a difficult task for any team, and it becomes that much harder when you don’t get off to a clean start.
Since 2007 there have been 83 teams to start their season 0-2, and just nine of them have turned their season around to make the postseason.
For most, the rarity of making the playoffs can just be chalked up to bad teams being bad. But not all 0-2 teams are the same and some have a better shot to buck the trend than others.
After two weeks of the 2017 campaign, nine teams across the NFL currently sit winless, meaning if the trend holds, there’s a good chance at least one of them can shift their fortunes and find themselves playing in January.
Below we’re taking a look at every team that still hasn’t won a game this season, and breaking down their chances of righting the ship and making a playoff push.
1. Indianapolis Colts
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Losses so far: 46-9 at Rams, 16-13 vs. Cardinals
2017 outlook: Colts fans are surely disappointed with the way their year has started, but they can at least say confidently that they’re not as bad as their record makes them look. With star quarterback Andrew Luck on the sidelines, the Colts have had to turn to Scott Tolzien and Jacoby Brissett to run the offense. But despite their 0-2 start, Indianapolis is still just a game back in their division and have not played a divisional opponent yet. With a matchup against the Browns this week the Colts will have a good chance to take a win, and depending on when Luck can take back the starting role, the Colts could put together a run to win the relatively weak AFC South.
2. New York Giants
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Losses so far: 19-3 at Cowboys, 24-10 vs. Lions
2017 outlook: The Giants’ offense has sputtered to open the season, with just 13 points to their name after two games of effort. Odell Beckham Jr. came back from injury to play on Monday against the Lions, and while he wasn’t a huge factor in the game, any football fan knows that he has the power to change the course of a game in an instant. Like the Colts, they’re only a game back in their division, although they do already have a divisional loss on their record. Luckily, Eli Manning has been here before – in 2007 the Giants also got off to an 0-2 start before going on to win the Super Bowl. With the NFC East looking like a potential slugfest, 9-7 might be enough to punch a postseason ticket.
3. Los Angeles Chargers
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Losses so far: 24-21 at Broncos, 19-17 vs. Dolphins
2017 outlook: There’s an argument to be made that the Chargers should be at the top of this list – they’ve lost both of their games on missed field goal attempts in the final seconds of the fourth quarter. Simply put, the Chargers are just one blocked kick and one miss wide away from being 2-0. While there’s no doubt that the Chargers have the talent to make a run (they might be the most talented team on this list), playing in a division with the Raiders, Broncos, and Chiefs is a tough hole to climb out of, no matter how good you are. There’s a good chance that both AFC wild card teams come out of the AFC West, and the Chargers will have a lot of work to do to get themselves up to third in the division.
4. Chicago Bears
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Losses so far: 23-17 vs. Falcons, 29-7 at Buccaneers
2017 outlook: Whether or not the Bears contend this year depends on how long they decide to wait before starting rookie Mitch Trubisky and how good he is once he’s on the field. For now, he’s an unknown, and if he has a breakout season like we’ve seen in the past from stud rookies, he could lead the Bears to something special. But as it stands, Chicago is not escaping a 0-2 hole with Mike Glennon under center.
5. New Orleans Saints
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Losses so far: 29-19 at Vikings, 36-20 vs. Patriots
2017 outlook: Drew Brees and Sean Payton have made football magic together in the past, but it’s tough to win when your defense is giving up 30 points a game, even if you’re one of the most notoriously pass-happy teams in the league. With the Falcons looking back to their dominant selves and the Panthers looking to rebound off a down year, the division is already pretty crowded. They’re only shot will be to keep firing a win every shootout they play for the res of the season.
6. Cleveland Browns
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Losses so far: 21-18 vs. Steelers, 24-10 at Ravens
2017 outlook: The Browns are not just already 0-2 on the year, but 0-2 in the AFC North, with losses to the Steelers and Ravens already on their record. That said, they’ve hung tough with both teams for the most part, despite a rash of turnovers against the Ravens in Baltimore in Week 2. With a better defense than anyone would expect from a franchise so historically bad and an exciting rookie quarterback under center, the Browns will be a fun team to watch develop over the year, but 2017 doesn’t look like it will be their breakthrough season.
7. San Francisco 49ers
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Losses so far: 23-3 vs. Panthers, 12-9 at Seahawks
2017 outlook: The Niners defense has been fairly robust, notably holding the Seahawks to just 12 points in Seattle last week. But it’s tough to expect anything out of a team that’s starting Brian Hoyer at quarterback, so this probably isn’t the year that San Francisco comes back to shock the world.
8. Cincinnati Bengals
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Losses so far: 20-0 vs. Ravens, 13-9 vs. Texans
2017 outlook: Despite having already played two games at home, the Bengals have still not scored a touchdown in the 2017 season. With some players reportedly questioning Andy Dalton’s job security, it would take a lot to rally this team back from the hole they currently find themselves in. While the team has more talent than the first two weeks have shown, unless the Steelers have a breakdown halfway through the year, the Bengals can probably be removed from the discussion as a potential playoff factor.
9. New York Jets
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Losses so far: 21-12 at Bills, 45-20 at Raiders
2017 outlook: Josh McCown has looked better than expected, but even if he was playing perfectly the Jets would still likely be last on this list. In a division with the Patriots, the Jets have no chance at winning their division, and a wild card berth in the AFC would likely mean getting to at least 10 wins in a year the Jets would be lucky to get to four. On the bright side, the 2018 NFL Draft is only seven months away.
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