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Sports

NFL Preview: Week 3

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NFL Preview: Week 3

2020-09-24 15:07:03

 

-NFL release posted by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Arizona's Kyler Murray scores a touchdown against Washington. (Image Source: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)​

2-0 TEAMS ABOUND: Across the league, 11 teams have started 2-0, tied for the most in NFL history and most in 12 years. In addition to 2008, the NFL also had 11 clubs start the season 2-0 in 2006 and 1998.

Five of those 2-0 clubs – the ARIZONA CARDINALSCHICAGO BEARSLAS VEGAS RAIDERSLOS ANGELES RAMS and PITTSBURGH STEELERS – missed the playoffs in 2019. The Cardinals (5-10-1) finished last in the NFC West in 2019.

In 15 of the past 17 seasons, at least one NFL team won its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. In fact, of the 48 teams in league history to go from “worst-to-first,” 25 of them have done so in the past 17 years (2003-19), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006. Two teams during that span, the 2009 New Orleans Saints and the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles, won the Super Bowl after finishing in last place in their divisions the season before.

Last season, both Green Bay (NFC North) and San Francisco (NFC West) won their divisions after missing the postseason in 2018. At least two teams have won their divisions the season after missing the playoffs in 16 of the past 17 years.

COVERING THREE TIME ZONES: This week, three Pacific Time Zone clubs meet foes in the Eastern Time Zone on Sunday: SAN FRANCISCO at the NEW YORK GIANTS (1:00 PM ET, FOX), the LOS ANGELES RAMS at BUFFALO (1:00 PM ET, FOX) and LAS VEGAS at NEW ENGLAND (1:00 PM ET, CBS).

Teams from the West Coast traveling to play teams from the Eastern Time Zone are 5-0 this season, with one win by each of the five teams that practice, eat and sleep three hours behind the teams they defeated. Over a longer stretch, since the beginning of 2019 and including playoffs, those teams are 20-4 (.833).

Won-loss records of Pacific Time Zone teams playing road games against teams from Eastern Time Zone, since 2019:

TEAM

W

L

PCT

Seattle

7

0

1.000

L.A. Rams

4

1

.800

San Francisco

4

1

.800

L.A. Chargers

3

1

.750

Las Vegas

2

1

.667

Totals

20

4

.833

 

BATTLES OF THE UNBEATENS: This weekend’s slate includes two matchups of 2-0 teams: The Los Angeles Rams at Buffalo (1:00 PM ET Sunday, FOX) and Kansas City at Baltimore (8:15 PM ET Monday, ESPN). The Chiefs and Ravens actually met a year ago on Week 3 as 2-0 teams, with the Chiefs handing the Ravens one of their two regular-season losses in narrow fashion, 33-28. Mahomes passed for 374 yards and three touchdowns.

Since 2006, 17 games have featured 2-0 teams meeting in Week 3. The winners of those games have been harbingers of playoff fortunes.

And during that span, including the Chiefs last season, the winner of a matchup of 2-0 teams in Week 3 has gone on to the win the Super Bowl three times (Kansas City won Super Bowl LIV in 2019, New England won Super Bowl LI in 2016, and Indianapolis won Super Bowl XLI in 2006). Two other teams, the 2006 Chicago Bears and the 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers, lost the Super Bowl. And one team that lost a matchup of 2-0 teams, the 2010 Green Bay Packers, went on to win the Super Bowl.

IT’S NOT HOW YOU START, IT’S HOW YOU FINISH: While 11 teams have started 2-0, another 11 teams have opened 0-2. Every football season brings adversity. Overcoming that adversity has been a characteristic of NFL teams since first-year Packers coach VINCE LOMBARDI replaced an injured LAMAR MCHAN with a 17th-round draft choice named BART STARR. Lombardi and Starr went on to win five NFL championships and capture the first two Super Bowls en route to enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Forty-two years later, TOM BRADY, the 199th overall selection in the prior year’s draft, took over for injured starter DREW BLEDSOE and led the 0-2 Patriots to a Super Bowl victory.

The NFL begins a 14-team playoff format this season, with two additional Wild Card teams, one each in AFC and NFC. From 1990-2019, during the era of the 12-team playoff format, at least four teams every season qualified for the playoffs after failing to make the postseason the year before. Last season, five teams that missed the postseason in 2018 – Buffalo (10-6), Green Bay (13-3), Minnesota (10-6), San Francisco (13-3) and Tennessee (9-7) – earned playoff berths.

Over the last 30 seasons, since 1990, 30 teams have overcome 0-2 starts to secure playoff berths. Three of those clubs – the 1993 DALLAS COWBOYS, the 2001 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS and the 2007 NEW YORK GIANTS – won the Super Bowl. And four of those clubs – the 1992 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS, the 1995 DETROIT LIONS, the 1998 BUFFALO BILLS and the 2018 HOUSTON TEXANS – made the playoffs after an 0-3 start.

The 30 teams to advance to the playoffs after an 0-2 start, since 1990:

YEAR

TEAM

FINISH

 

YEAR

TEAM

FINISH

1990

Houston Oilers

9-7

 

2002

Pittsburgh

10-5-1

1990

New Orleans

8-8

 

2003

Philadelphia

12-4

1990

Philadelphia

10-6

 

2006

Kansas City

9-7

1991

Atlanta

10-6

 

2007

*New York Giants

10-6

1992

+San Diego Chargers

11-5

 

2008

Miami

11-5

1993

*Dallas

12-4

 

2008

Minnesota

10-6

1993

Pittsburgh

9-7

 

2008

San Diego Chargers

8-8

1994

New England

10-6

 

2013

Carolina

12-4

1995

+Detroit

10-6

 

2014

Indianapolis

11-5

1996

New England

11-5

 

2015

Houston Texans

9-7

1998

Arizona

9-7

 

2015

Seattle

10-6

1998

+Buffalo

10-6

 

2016

Miami

10-6

1998

New York Jets

12-4

 

2017

New Orleans

11-5

2001

*New England

11-5

 

2018

+Houston Texans

11-5

2002

Atlanta

9-6-1

 

2018

Seattle

10-6

*Won Super Bowl    +Started season 0-3

 
 

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