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How much trouble are 0-2 NFL teams really in given expanded playoff setup?

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 9/21/2020 Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY
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There are 11 teams with 0-2 records following the NFL's second week of action. 

 The Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers have not won in the 2020 season. 

a baseball player swinging a bat at a ball: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) is tackled by Los Angeles Rams linebacker Obo Okoronkwo (45) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. © Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) is tackled by Los Angeles Rams linebacker Obo Okoronkwo (45) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field.

But an 0-2 start might not be as detrimental to a team's playoff hopes as it once was because of the expanded playoff field.

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Let's explain, looking at some stats from the old setup courtesy of Nate Davis' "32 things we learned" feature:

► Since the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format in 1990, 88% of teams that started 0-2 missed the postseason, while 62% of the teams that started 2-0 advanced to the playoffs. 

► But since the NFL realigned in 2002, nearly 61% of the teams that emerged from an 0-2 or 1-1 start went on to reach the Super Bowl. The 2007 New York Giants, for example, started 0-2 and went on to win the Super Bowl. According to OddShark, since 2007, 98 teams have started 0-2 and only 12% of them have the playoffs.

► The biggest reason for optimism: the league expanded to 14 playoff teams from 12, giving each conference an extra wild-card berth. This means a team's slow start in the first two weeks might not be as disastrous as it initially seemed. . 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How much trouble are 0-2 NFL teams really in given expanded playoff setup?

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