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Teaser:DeFranks: Two games do not make a season (Sept. 17)

Matthew DeFranks | Tuesday, September 17, 2013

 

Calm down. Step away from the keyboard. Take a deep breath.

I’m talking to you Redskins fans, Giants fans and Vikings fans. All is not lost. It’s only two games into the season, which means your 0-2 squad has 14 more opportunities to show the league what it is truly made of.

As for you Dolphins fans, Chiefs fans and Bears fans, don’t quite pencil your name in as Super Bowl champions. In fact, don’t even book your flights and hotels for playoff games. All is not won. It’s only two games into the season, which means your 2-0 squad has 14 more opportunities to show the league what it is truly made of.

As surprising as some of the results from the first two weeks have been, they are hardly indicative of the way the rest of the season is going to shake out, right? Well, if you believe that the past is a predictor of the future, then the first two weeks are indicative of the rest of the season. All we have to do is look to last season.

In 2012, six teams started out 0-2 and all six of them finished the season under the .500 mark. In fact, four of them finished in last place. But most importantly, none of them made the playoffs.

Last season, six teams also started out 2-0 and half of them won their division. The other three squads – San Diego, Philadelphia and Arizona – managed a combined 10 wins the remainder of the season on their way to early vacations and no playoff berths.

Historically, since 1990, when the playoffs expanded to 12 teams, only 11.6 percent of teams that started 0-2 have gone on to make the playoffs.

So maybe 2013 is not the year of the Panthers, Browns or Buccaneers. But that does not mean all hope for next year is lost already (yeah, that’s right, I’m already talking about next year).

A year after starting 0-2, Kansas City and New Orleans have turned it around to start this season 2-0. Okay, so maybe those two teams’ fortune can be attributed to new (or old, in the Saints’ case) coaching regimes and tight week two wins, but 2-0 starts in the NFL are always welcome.

The moral of the story is if you want to start 2-0 after starting 0-2, you need to get a new coach. Sounds easy enough to do.

As for the undefeated teams still left standing, four of them made the playoffs last year and one team – Houston – is boasting back-to-back 2-0 starts (Pop the champagne already!). While the Texans are clearly destined to win the Lombardi Trophy, the most impressive 2-0 start may belong to Miami.

The Dolphins have dispatched of the lowly Browns and then the Colts, so it was not the toughest slate in the league (that would belong to San Francisco, who has faced Green Bay and Seattle), but both contests were on the road.

Miami owns a plus-three turnover margin and has held opponents to 90 rushing yards per game. Last season, the Dolphins finished minus-nine and allowed 108 yards per game on the ground. But don’t expect Miami to go undefeated again – the Dolphins play four playoff teams in their next six games.

Don’t expect any of these teams to go undefeated. Don’t even expect all of them to make the playoffs.

You should expect some to make the playoffs and some to miss them. So not really much has changed after two games.

 

Contact Matthew DeFranks at mdefrank@nd.edu

The views expressed in this Sports Authority are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.