0-2 start is not the death sentence it used to be and the Bengals proved why

Miami Dolphins v Cincinnati Bengals
Miami Dolphins v Cincinnati Bengals / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

In years past a team starting 0-2 was essentially a death sentence. Since the NFL-AFL merger in 1966, there have been 400 teams to start the season 0-2. Of those 400 teams, only 38 made the playoffs. Those are not good odds.

The NFL expanded the season from 14 regular season games to 16 beginning in 1978. The first team to ever make the playoffs after starting 0-2 were the Philadelphia Eagles in 1978. It’s clear that an 0-2 start was too much to overcome in a 14-game season. But expanding to 16 games changed things forever.

Beginning in 2020 the league expanded the playoffs to include a seventh playoff team with four division winners and three wildcard teams. Then in 2021, the league implemented the first 17-game regular season.

These two concepts are still very new so everyone is still figuring out what are the trends. Is dropping your first two games the death sentence it used to be? With an extra game in the regular season and an extra slot in the post-season. 0-2 doesn’t seem so dire anymore.

AFC North still wide open for Bengals despite 0-2 start

In 2022 so far there were five teams that loss their first two games: Titans, Raiders, Panthers, Falcons, and our Bengals. Three of these five teams were on most people’s list to make the playoffs before the season started.

Josh McDaniels unlocking the high-powered offense in Las Vegas, which has yet to be seen. The Titans were a popular pick to win the AFC South, along with the Colts. Cincinnati was a favorite to win their division.

It is unlikely the Falcons or Panthers put enough wins together to make the postseason so them starting 0-2 didn't really mean much to people but the other three teams are far more likely. In fact, the Titans and Bengals are both tied for the lead in their division despite starting the season with an 0-2 record.

Jacksonville looks like a much-improved team under Doug Pederson, but the Colts and Texans do not look good. It’s fathomable to think the Titans still have a likely shot at winning the division.

As for the good guys in black and orange, they could take sole possession of the North with a win against the Ravens on Sunday night plus a loss by Cleveland to the Chargers. After stating 0-2 with panic in the streets, Cincy could be sitting pretty at the top of the division.

With only one season under the NFL’s belt with a 14-team postseason and a 17-game regular season, it is still early to tell the lasting effects this has had on the league and its trends. But, with how this season has started. It’s clear that an 0-2 start isn’t the nail in the coffin that it once used to be.

Oldest NFL Players to Ever Wear a Bengals Uniform. dark. Next

What do you think? Do you think any of these five teams will make the postseason?