Several teams with Super Bowl aspirations could not have envisioned a worse start to the beginning of their seasons and now face a difficult road to get back into contention. Vegas, the experts and myself were very high on the Seahawks, Ravens and Colts this season because of their recent success, hungriness of just coming up short last season and who they had coming back this year. These teams made up three out of my four teams that I included in the conference championship games in my preseason predictions. It is not a good start but there is precedent for teams overcoming an 0-2 start and each one of these teams have viable reasons why they can as well.
It is going to be a difficult challenge however. Only 24 teams out of 205 have made the playoffs since the league expanded to 12 teams in 1990. That is not a very encouraging stat for not only these teams but other teams with preseason playoff hopes like the Giants, Eagles, Lions and Saints. While the hopes of making the playoffs for these teams might be dim, history shows that once an 0-2 team makes the playoffs there is a strong likelihood that they will make a deep playoff run or even win the super bowl. The 1993 Cowboys, 2001 Patriots and 2007 Giants each won the Super Bowl after starting 0-2. The 1996 Patriots played in the super bowl and the 1998 Jets, 2003 Eagles and last season’s Colts each made it to the conference championship game after starting 0-2. What does that mean for the Seahawks, Ravens and Colts?
Let’s start with the NFC Champion Seahawks. Seattle did not get off to a good start last season either and after six games they were 3-3. Like many teams with winning cultures, they typically play their best football after Thanksgiving. So far this year they have played in St. Louis, where they have now lost three out of the last four years and at Green Bay, where the Packers almost never lose during the Aaron Rodgers era. The Seahawks have yet to play a game at home, where like the Packers at Lambeau, they just don’t lose and will get one of their best defensive players back this week with safety Kam Chancellor ending his holdout. Despite being 0-2, Seattle is still one of the better teams in the league and they should turn their season around starting this Sunday.
The Ravens are in a more difficult situation than the Seahawks because of the division they play in that also features last season’s AFC North division champion Steelers and the current division leading Bengals. All three teams have the players to make the playoffs this season and each has the history of making it numerous times in recent years. So far the Ravens have yet to play an opponent from the AFC North, which can be a negative and a positive. The negative aspect of course is that the Ravens already have two losses and will have more difficult games ahead. The positive is that they can still control the direction of their season by winning those divisional games. Also, the Ravens are notoriously slow starters and often barely get into the playoffs. The good news for Baltimore fans is that once they are in they generally do well, which is why they are still a super bowl contender.
It may not seem like it but the Colts probably have the least to worry about out of these three teams after starting the season at 0-2. This is the same exact scenario they faced last season after they fell to 0-2 when they lost at home to the Eagles on Monday Night Football. That start didn’t affect the Colts much because they were able to make it to within one game of the super bowl. The Colts have the good fortune of playing in the softest division in the league. Their competition is the Texans, Titans and Jaguars. None of those teams has an elite quarterback at this time. The Titans and Jaguars may in the future but Marcus Mariota and Blake Bortles are first and second year quarterbacks and don’t yet have the ability to lead their teams past the Colts. Even if the Colts slip to 10-6 or 9-7, they should still win their division easily. Despite their 0-2 starts, the Seahawks, Ravens and Colts still have the ability to get into the playoffs and make a run.