3-0, 0-3 NFL Teams (09/29/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
What 3-0 team is most likely to win the Super Bowl? Which 0-3 team will make the playoffs?



There are seven teams that have started the season undefeated. There are the usual suspects, the Packers, Patriots and Broncos and then some surprises – the Falcons and Panthers.

Which 3-0 team is most likely to win the Super Bowl?

Aaron Rodgers is in MVP form, his five touchdown performance against Kansas City on Monday night brings the reigning MVP's numbers to ten touchdown and no interceptions on the season. The Packers are the most likely team to make the playoffs (95.9 percent) and win the Super Bowl (17.9 percent).

The Patriots are the No. 1 team in our Power Rankings after three weeks with the league's top offense but New England is only the second most likely AFC team to reach the Super Bowl.

Denver, the most balanced team in the NFL – top ten offensively and defensively, wins it all 17.5 percent of the time. Peyton Manning might not be a top five quarterback anymore but he doesn't need to be with a great defense backing him.

Many expected the Cardinals to regress after a surprising 2014 campaign. A healthy Carson Palmer and a rejuvenated Larry Fitzgerald have helped Arizona to the best point differential in the NFL. Bruce Arians' team has the fourth best chance (9.1 percent) to lift the Lombardi Trophy.

The Bengals, Panthers and Falcons are off to hot starts. All three teams are now greater than 75 percent likely to reach the postseason and each has greater than a four percent chance to win the Super Bowl.

Team Playoff Chance Super Bowl Chance
Green Bay Packers 95.9% 17.9%
Denver Broncos 91.6% 17.5%
New England Patriots 90.6% 16.4%
Arizona Cardinals 80.0% 9.1%
Cincinnati Bengals 83.6% 6.7%
Carolina Panthers 74.8% 5.0%
Atlanta Falcons 81.6% 4.4%

Will an 0-3 team make the playoffs?



The last team to start 0-3 and make the playoffs was the 1998 Buffalo Bills. Since then 82 other teams have gone winless in the first three weeks of the season and none of them have reached the postseason. We not saying one of the four teams that are 0-3 won't make the playoffs, it's just improbable.

The most likely winless team to find its way to the postseason is Baltimore. The Ravens caught a big break when Ben Roethlisberger got injured Sunday against the Rams. Baltimore went from being an underdog to a favorite against the Steelers on Thursday night. Joe Flacco and company has better than a 9 percent chance to bounce back from a rough start.

The Lions are staring down an 0-4 start with their next game in Seattle against the two-time defending NFC Champions. Since the AFL-NFL merger, only one team has made the playoffs after starting 0-4.

It used to be hard to win in the Superdome but the Saints have dropped six straight at home. New Orleans catches a break this Sunday by hosting a Brandon Weeden led Cowboys squad. If Nola is going to make the playoffs (3.4 percent chance) it starts Sunday against Dallas.

The Bears are bad. Chicago, along with the Jaguars, are the only teams with no chance to win the Super Bowl.

Team Playoff Chance Super Bowl Chance
Baltimore Ravens 9.2% 0.3%
Detroit Lions 5.1% 0.1%
New Orleans Saints 3.4% 0.1%
Chicago Bears 1.5% 0.0%