Can 0-2 NFL Teams Make the Playoffs?

Can 0-2 NFL Teams Make the Playoffs?
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

We’re one week into the 2023-24 NFL season and 0-1 teams with Super Bowl aspirations are already facing a must-win game. The New England Patriots are one of them.

After a 25-20 home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Game 1, the Patriots get to stay at home to face the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots are slight underdogs at Massachusetts sportsbooks.

The numbers are daunting for teams that start the season at 0-2 and wanted to take a closer look. Utilizing, we looked at how teams ended up the rest of the NFL season after starting with an 0-2 record since the 1970 merger. There have been 406 teams that have started 0-2 since the 1970 NFL merger. Here are the numbers:

Performance of NFL Teams Starting 0-2

Result # of Teams Percentage
Winning Season 57 14.0%
Making The Playoffs 399.6%
Making The Super Bowl 4 1.0%
Winning The Super Bowl 3 0.7%


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Much at Stake for New England

The Patriots are going to need their defense in top Bill Belichick form as the Dolphins went to the West Coast and hung 36 points on the Los Angeles Chargers in a Tua-riffic offensive performance. Unfortunately for the Patriots, no snow is in the forecast for this mid-September game. A loss Sunday would be a severe blow to the Patriots’ playoff chances.

Going 0-2 in a 17-game season is never good, but it’s especially problematic in the AFC East, where the Buffalo Bills, also 0-1, are looking to make another playoff run and the Dolphins and Jets appear to be improved even if the Jets have the same quarterback issues as last year. But if Jets RB Bryce Hall and the defense can stay healthy, the Jets could win a bunch of low-scoring games even with Aaron Rodgers on the shelf.

But no matter the division, since the NFL merger in 1970, 406 teams have started the season 0-2 (a little more than nine per season). Only 14% of those teams have ended up with a winning record. Less than one in 10 have made the playoffs. And only around one in 10 of those has made the Super Bowl. Twice it was the Patriots, who lost to the Green Bay Packers in 1996 after starting 0-2, and they did it again to end the 2001 season when they beat the Los Angeles Rams behind some new kid named Tom Brady. That was the last time the Patriots started 0-2. The Patriots are a 2.5-point and +115 underdog to Miami Sunday at BetMGM Massachusetts.

The 2013 Carolina Panthers and 2022 Cincinnati Bengals have the best regular season records of any 0-2 team. Each finished at 12-4. Last year’s 0-2 teams were the Indianapolis Colts, those 12-4 Bengals, the Las Vegas Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers. Only the Bengals finished over .500.

Interestingly, the other two teams to make it to the Super Bowl after starting 0-2 – the 1993 Dallas Cowboys and the 2007 New York Giants – also won the big game. But in bettor’s terms, if you start the season 0-2, your odds of making it to the Super Bowl are 100-to-1.

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Howard Gensler
Journalist / Reporter

Howard Gensler is a veteran journalist covering the Massachusetts sports betting market for Before his focus on U.S. sports betting, Howard worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Howard is also a founding editor of

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