Tuesday, September 17, 2013

2-0 NFL Teams vs. 0-2 Teams

After two weeks of the NFL season, there are eight teams that are 2-0 and eight teams that are 0-2.  I have seen the statistic several times today stating that 63% of teams that start 2-0 make the playoffs, while only 12% of 0-2 teams do. Now that 12% of the season is already done, which of the 2-0 teams should start printing out playoff tickets and which of the 0-2 teams should start working on their draft board?

First take a look at the eight teams that are off to a fast start, in multiple categories:

Since statistically only 63%, or 5 of these 8 will make the playoffs, which ones will advance? What is the best indicator of team success? The easiest trend is if the team made the playoffs last year, then they should make it again. However, half the teams on this list did not make it last year. Maybe last year was a fluke and the five year records will be a better predictor. Well Teams D and B have great percentages, while C and H have had several losing seasons recently. If “defense wins championships”, then certainly Teams C and H are in since they are among the tops in defensive yards and points allowed. The NFL is an offensive league now though, so the top offenses of Teams F and G are strong bets to make the playoffs. Game by game, winning the turnover battle is key, therefore Team C and H are starting the season off well, while Team A, B, and F need some work to do. After looking at these metrics overall, Teams C and G are playoff bound, while Teams A, B, and E will be the 3 in the 37% that do not make it.

Now for the teams on the other end of the spectrum, which started off 0-2:

Looking at the same metrics as before, Teams I and K made the playoffs last year and have above average scoring offenses, so maybe they can turn their seasons around. Team L and M are even in the turnover battle, and have above average scoring defenses. Teams J and O have great records in the past five years, so maybe they just got off to a rough start this season. Looking at the rankings overall, it looks like Team L has the best chance of being the one team to make the playoffs after a 0-2 start.

Here is the team key:

It’s not surprising that Seattle and Denver are the two best, but Chicago and New Orleans need more than history and fan base to get in. There is no guarantee Pittsburgh, NY Giants, or Washington are turning it around, while Tampa Bay’s defense and turnover margin can give their fans some hope.

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