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History of NFL Teams That Start 0-3 and 3-0

The Steelers, Broncos, Dolphins, Jets and Bengals are absolutely toast. The fat lady is singing and the only thing left to play for is pride. Or, instead of pride, maybe just embrace the shame that comes with throwing away a season to chase the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Yes, it looks like it’s over for the NFL’s 0-3 teams as history hasn’t been kind to slow starters. Going way back to 1980, there have been 176 teams to start a season 0-3, with only six of them going on to make the playoffs — a whopping 3.4 percent! If you’re a fan of one of the 0-3 teams and that 3.4 percent number is giving you hope, it shouldn’t.

Since 1980, only 3.4% of teams to start 0-3 made the playoffs!

Of course, this argument was contradicted by last year’s Texans, who defied the odds to make the playoffs after an 0-3 start, but that’s an enormous outlier. Prior to that, the last team to start 0-3 and make the playoffs was the 1998 Bills, who followed up their 0-3 start with five straight wins.

It’s pretty tough to make an argument for any of the 0-3 teams making a playoff push. The Steelers would have to be the top candidate with home games in three of their next four games, including matchups with the Bengals and Dolphins, but they’ll need Mason Rudolph to elevate his game at a rapid pace. As for the other teams on the list, expect to see them in the top five of the 2020 draft.

If you’re a fan of one of the 3-0 teams – the Patriots, Bills, Cowboys, Rams, 49ers, Packers and Chiefs – you should be feeling pretty good about your team’s chances of making the playoffs. Since 1980, 136 of the 180 teams (75.5 percent) to start 3-0 made the playoffs.

While the Patriots, Cowboys, Rams and Chiefs look like shoo-ins, the 49ers, Bills and Packers have some doubters after narrow victories and inconsistent play. We’ll see what the 49ers are made of with some tough divisional matchups ahead of them. It’s a similar story for the Packers with the Eagles coming to town, followed by a trip to Dallas, while the Bills haven’t really been challenged yet with victories over the two New York teams and a home win over the Bengals.

As the Texans (and Dolphins, who somehow started 3-0) showed us last season, history isn’t always a rock-solid indicator at predicting the future, but there’s no doubt that a fast or slow start has a dramatic impact on what’s to come.