There are five 0-2 teams in the NFL right now — Falcons, Bengals, Panthers, Raiders, and Titans. While some of these clubs have low expectations (Atlanta and Carolina), the others have playoff aspirations. And the outlook for those teams isn’t great. Since 1970, only 9.5% of NFL teams have made the playoffs after starting the season 0-2. So, how do the Falcons stack up against these other defeated teams?
The Bengals might be the most disappointing of all these teams. Coming off a Super Bowl appearance, they were always a candidate for regression but not this much. They rank near last in every offensive metric as Joe Burrow flees for his life every drop back. Thankfully, the Bengals aren’t in as difficult of a division as the Raiders, so the road to the postseason remains easier for Cincinnati.
The Raiders have looked terrible thus far but have the talent on the roster to pull themselves out of this hole. Derek Carr needs to be better with an offense that features Darren Waller, Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow. Unfortunately for Las Vegas, they’re in the toughest division in football and will have to play catch-up.
The Titans are coming off yet another first-round exit in the playoffs and looked absolutely helpless against the Bills on Monday Night Football. Ryan Tannehill isn’t the guy he was a couple of seasons ago with Arthur Smith as offensive coordinator. Mike Vrabel is one of the better coaches in the league, and being in the AFC South will always give them a chance to make the postseason. Unfortunately, the pressure is on them more so than any 0-2 team because of their weak division.
The Panthers are a dumpster fire, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Matt Rhule didn’t make it to the end of the season. Baker Mayfield has been horrendous with Carolina, but much like Atlanta, they’re playing very inconsistent football. They have some impressive players on both sides of the ball, but Rhule and Mayfield will hold this team back.
First and foremost, the Falcons have been much more competitive this season compared to 2021, despite the same 0-2 start. Still, this team is missing consistency on both sides of the ball. Marcus Mariota has flashed at times and been horrendous in others, but that’s exactly what was expected. Their first-round rookie Drake London has been excellent thus far, but Kyle Pitts remains dormant. The Falcons have remained feisty in each of their matchups this season, but the key difference between this team and the other 0-2 clubs is expectations.
The Falcons (and Panthers) didn’t have high expectations coming into the year, so there is less pressure on Arthur Smith’s staff to win ball games. I’d argue there’s way more pressure on Carolina, Mayfield, and Rhule to figure things out before Atlanta, which will likely bring out the worst in the Panthers.
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