Winless NFL Teams Have History on Side

Posted on: September 24, 2020, 08:58h. 

Last updated on: September 24, 2020, 11:13h.

Although it may sound like a theme from a “30 for 30” documentary on ESPN, over the previous 30 NFL seasons, 30 teams overcame 0-2 starts to reach the playoffs.

Philadelphia Eagles Carson Wentz
Quarterback Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles have been sacked with back-to-back losses to start the season. (Image: Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports)

Three of those teams — the Dallas Cowboys in 1993, New England Patriots in 2001, and New York Giants in 2007 — won the Super Bowl.

That means all is not lost for the 11 teams that are 0-2 entering the start of Week 3 on Thursday: the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, and Denver Broncos in the AFC, and the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers in the NFC.

The expanded playoffs, going from 12 teams to 14, should help at least one of those teams overcome a poor start.

Eagles Have Best Chance

Of the winless teams, the Philadelphia Eagles have the best Super Bowl odds at Westgate SuperBook at 50/1.

0-2 in today’s NFL really doesn’t mean anything, given we have an extra playoff spot in each conference,” said Ed Salmons, the vice president of risk management and oddsmaking at SuperBook, to “I agree that Philly has the best chance among this group, partly because the NFC East is a complete dumpster fire, and they could win the division and get at least one home game.”

Here are the Super Bowl championship odds for the 0-2 teams, with opening odds in parentheses, at SuperBook.

  • Eagles 50/1 (20/1)
  • Texans 100/1 (30/1)
  • Vikings 100/1 (30/1)
  • Falcons 100/1 (40/1)
  • Broncos 200/1 (60/1)
  • Dolphins 300/1 (100/1)
  • Bengals 300/1 (100/1)
  • Lions 300/1 (80/1)
  • Giants 500/1 (80/1)
  • Jets 1,000/1 (60/1)
  • Panthers 1,000/1 (100/1)

One team should break through this week, with Cincinnati playing at Philadelphia in a clash of the not-titans. Meanwhile, the winless Vikings will host the undefeated Tennessee Titans, the winless Texans will visit the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers, and the winless Lions will travel to the surprisingly undefeated Arizona Cardinals.

We wrote decent money on the Texans, Falcons, and Vikings to win the conference and the Super Bowl,” Salmons told “The Jets, Lions, and Broncos have been destroyed by injuries already. If somehow the Lions can get back their players, I think they would have a chance to make the playoffs. But it needs to happen fast.”

Since 1990, four teams with 0-3 starts reached the playoffs, including the Texans in 2018.

“The Texans look like a team that traded away their best receiver and have zero weapons now. They need to fire Bill O’Brien and move on, the sooner the better,” Salmons said.

Thursday Night Game

One of those 0-2 teams, the Miami Dolphins, will play at the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) to kick off the Week 3 action on Thursday Night Football. The Jaguars, who had minimal expectations to open the season, are three-point favorites, with a money line of -160.

The Jaguars upset the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1, but lost to the Tennessee Titans last week, despite quarterback Gardner Minshew throwing for 339 yards. He’s one of three quarterbacks in the NFL with a completion percentage of greater than 75 percent and a passer rating of at least 115.

Miami quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 328 yards last week and has a three-game winning streak against Jacksonville.

The early money’s on the Jags,” Nick Bogdanovich, the director of trading at William Hill, told “Jacksonville’s a fun team to watch. Minshew’s put up huge numbers the first two weeks and Miami’s competitive.”

“I think Brian Flores is the right man for the job (as coach). I think the handle will be stronger on that game than you’ll think, even though it’s not a big, sexy game,” he continued.

While the line hasn’t moved since Monday, the total has gone from 45 to 48.5.