Avoiding Humiliation: Can the NFL's Four Remaining Winless Teams Get One?
Just a few years ago, the notion of an NFL team going either undefeated or winless was dismissed as crazy talk. Now with the 2007 Patriots going 16-0 and the 2008 Lions doing the opposite, it is a distinct possibility for teams to reach these heights (or lows).
Today, I'll look at the four winless teams. Due to matchups between these teams, a maximum of three of them could go winless. So what are the chances that each of these teams could lose all their games? Let’s take a closer look at each one and find out.
Tennessee Titans (0-5)
I can’t believe they are 0-5 either, but the Titans have struggled defensively as a result of the loss of Albert Haynesworth. This in turn has caused the offense to play from behind and neutralize their running attack of Chris Johnson and LenDale White.
However, whether or not the Titans turn to Vince Young to replace Kerry Collins at QB shouldn’t matter. This team is too talented to go winless, and their schedule is too easy.
After facing New England this Sunday, the Titans have five straight winnable games against Jacksonville, San Francisco, Buffalo, Houston and Arizona. And if all else fails, St. Louis comes to town in Week 14, and I don’t see any way the Titans fall to the Rams.
Chances of Going Winless : Zero Percent
Kansas City Chiefs (0-5)
The Chiefs are winless, but have lost to three extremely tough teams in Baltimore, NY Giants, and Philadelphia. They’ve also lost to Oakland, but that’s beside the point for now. The Chiefs are a solid team, and have just barely missed out on wins on two separate occasions.
KC is currently 24th in the league in both points per game and rushing offense per game, two stats which, in this writer’s opinion, are highly correlated to one another. If the Chiefs finally hand the starting RB job over to Jamaal Charles and relieve Larry Johnson of his duties, the improved running game should open up the passing game and lead to wins.
And if that doesn’t work, the Chiefs can always beat Washington, Oakland, Buffalo or Cleveland.
Chances of Going Winless : Two Percent
St. Louis Rams (0-5)
The Rams have scored 34 points in five games this season. Over that same span they have committed 39 penalties. Combine that with their -12 turnover differential, good for second worst in the league, and you’ve pretty much summed up the Rams season to date in three sentences.
When I asked my friend Boxer, a St. Louisian, his thoughts on the chance the Rams went winless, he said: "95 percent without looking at the schedule." So there you have it.
The Rams have been atrocious through five games, but they do have signs of life in their offense. Running back Steven Jackson is a great talent, and young wide receivers Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton have shown promise. Although they were shut out twice already this season, I believe this offense is capable of scoring enough points on a bad defense to win a game or two.
The Rams’ schedule isn’t pretty, as they have dates with undefeated Indianapolis and New Orleans in their next four games, but during that span they also travel to Jacksonville and Detroit. If the Rams catch Jacksonville still in a funk from their Seattle loss or the Lions without Matthew Stafford or Calvin Johnson, they could steal a win from one or both of these teams.
If not, it doesn’t look pretty, and their best shot would be Week 15 when they host the Texans.
Chances of Going Winless : 70 percent
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-5)
Whether it’s Byron Leftwich, Josh Johnson or Josh Freeman under center, Cadillac Williams, Derrick Ward or Earnest Graham running the ball, or Antonio Bryant or some other guys at wideout, this Bucs offense is bad. The Buccaneers are in the bottom third in the league in most offensive categories, including 29th in points per game, 26th in rushing offense, and 23rd in passing.
The schedule makers didn’t do them any favors either, as they drew the AFC and NFC East as their divisions to face this season. Having already lost to Washington, it doesn’t appear that Tampa has the firepower to take out any other team from either of those divisions.
Tampa finished third in the NFC South last season, and as a result draw the Packers and Seahawks, neither of which they are likely to be able to keep pace with. That just leaves their division. Tampa still has all six divisional games remaining, and barring any unforeseen injuries, I would cross Atlanta and New Orleans off the list of potential victories.
So that leaves us with the Carolina Panthers. The Buccaneers host the Panthers this Sunday, and frankly, if they don’t win this game at Raymond James Stadium, I find it hard to see them winning any games at all.
Chances of Going Winless : 85 percent
This article originally posted on Cubicle GM.
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