NFL 3-0 Teams Hoping for Playoffs and Title Run
Three teams—Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans—are the only unbeatens as the NFL gets ready for Week 4. For each of these three, a 3-0 start has been rare.
Atlanta: The Falcons are 3-0 for the first time since 2004, when they started the season 4-0. Atlanta won the NFC South that season and went on to lose to the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.
Arizona: This is Arizona’s first 3-0 start since 1974. The Cardinals went 7-0 to start the season that year and eventually won the NFC East. They lost their first-round playoff game to the Vikings.
Houston: This is the first 3-0 start in franchise history.
Last season, three teams started 3-0: Buffalo, Detroit and Green Bay. Both the Lions and Packers ended up in the playoffs, while the Bills faltered to a 6-10 season.
Of the 12 playoff teams in 2011, two (Detroit and Green Bay) started the season 3-0, seven were 2-1 in their first three games, and three teams (Cincinnati, Denver and Atlanta) started the year 1-2.
Taking a look at the 92 Super Bowl teams, a 3-0 or 2-1 start has been most common of the title game opponents. 82 of the 92 Super Bowl teams were either 3-0 or 2-1 to start that season, (89.1 percent). If you add in the two teams that started 2-0-1, then 84 of the 92 (91.3 percent) Super Bowl teams were either 3-0, 2-0-1 or 2-1 in the first three games in their Super Bowl year.
Which of the three unbeaten teams is most likely to reach the Super Bowl?
Here’s a breakdown of the record of the Super Bowl teams after Week 3 of that season.
Record after three games, Super Bowl teams
3-0: 48 teams (22 won the Super Bowl; 26 lost the Super Bowl)
2-0-1: 2 teams (one won the Super Bowl; one lost the Super Bowl)
2-1: 34 teams (18 won the Super Bowl; 16 lost the Super Bowl)
1-1-1: 3 teams (one won the Super Bowl; two lost the Super Bowl)
1-2: 5 teams (four won the Super Bowl; one lost the Super Bowl)
Note: The last team to win the Super Bowl after starting the season 1-2 were the New York Giants in the 2007 season.
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