9 NFL teams still have shred of hope even after winless start

on Sep22
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There are nine teams entering the third week of the 2023 NFL season winless, and while in the past it may have seemed like any team starting 0-2 is completely out of it, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

The New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals have yet to enter the win column this season. According to NFL Research, these teams and their fans shouldn’t fear.

An 0-2 team has made the playoffs in seven of the last 10 seasons, including the Bengals last season. Cincinnati lost in overtime to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys to begin the 2022 season. The team then won 12 out of its next 14 games and won the AFC North. Cincinnati ended that season on an eight-game winning streak and made it to the AFC Championship for the second straight time.


Joe Burrow warms up

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow stands on the field during warm-ups prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, on Sept. 17, 2023. (Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports)

After Sunday’s loss, Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor asked fans to be patient.

“Stay patient with us. I know that’s hard to say and listen to,” Taylor said. “They want wins. There’s a lot of excitement going into this season. We have a lot of excitement, and we still do. It’s Sept. 17, and we plan on this being a long season. We’ll be excited to make corrections, put this one behind us, and have us an electric ‘Monday Night Football’ crowd as we’ve ever had here.”

“I feel like we’re in great shape,” he added. “We got good performances from guys. There are things we can correct and adjust and just continue to move forward.”

The Bengals aren’t the only surprises at 0-2. The Chargers, Broncos, Patriots and Vikings have all started the season winless. The Texans and Panthers have started the year with rookie quarterbacks while the Bears and Cardinals have had generally low expectations for the 2023 season. Though, Arizona had a 21-point lead on the New York Giants and couldn’t finish the game.

Los Angeles has lost its first two games by at least three points or fewer. Justin Herbert has had 481 passing yards and three touchdown passes in those games without an interception.


Justin Herbert vs Titans

Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers looks on prior to a game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on September 17, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

“Things haven’t gone our way the past couple games, but panicking is never going to fix anything, so it’s up to us to be able to fix that as an offense, score more points,” Herbert said Wednesday.

While Herbert pinned the losses on failing to execute in late-game scenarios, head coach Brandon Staley said there were other things the team needed to correct.

“There’s not just one ingredient, but I think the key thing is being able to capitalize on our opportunities,” Staley said. “And I think people are looking at the ends of the game, just like I think we’ve had opportunities at the beginning and middle part of the game to separate, and I don’t think we’ve been able to do that.”

Here’s the schedule for the 0-2 teams entering Week 3.

  • Broncos @ Dolphins
  • Chargers @ Vikings
  • Patriots @ Jets
  • Texans @ Jaguars
  • Panthers @ Seahawks
  • Bears @ Chiefs
  • Cardinals vs. Cowboys
  • Bengals vs. Rams
Kirk Cousins vs Eagles

Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings warms up against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on September 14, 2023. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

According to NFL Research, eight of the 14 playoff teams last season started the year 1-1 or 0-2. Each of the six teams that began the year 2-0 made the playoffs.


All hope is not lost.

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