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What is in a 1-2 Record?

The Colts' bye week has now come and gone, and hopefully Coach Dungy, along with Tom Moore, Ron Meeks, and the rest of coaches have figured out what has gone wrong, and have made the necessary changes to make the 2008 Colts look like the 2003-2007 Colts.  I heard an interview with Peyton last week, and he said they were working a lot on fundamentals, and not really taking the week off.  He said they knew they had a lot to do, in all phases of the game. 

It's been mentioned here a couple times (BBS here for example) of other teams that have started 1-2 and made the playoffs.  One need not look very far in the past to see this, as the Giants started 1-2 last season, and their season turned out ok.  I decided to make up a list of teams that finished 1-2 or 0-3 to start a season since 2002, since that is when the Texans started, and we've had the current playoff format.  Pre-2002, I believe it was easier to make the playoffs for a couple reasons:

  1. Less Teams
  2. More Wild Card spots

I found it a little strange that in every year, exactly 16 teams were 1-2 or worse.  I can't explain it.  But here goes, the list of teams who have made the playoffs the past 6 years after starting 1-2 or worse:


Year Team Record Bye Week Seed Lost in?
2002 Falcons 9-6-1 4 6 Divisional
2002 Titans 11-5 7 2 Conference
2002 Jets 9-7 6 4 Divisional
2002 Steelers 10-5-1 3 3 Divisional
2003 Packers 10-6 8 3 Divisional
2003 Rams 12-4 5 2 Divisional
2003 Eagles 12-4 3 1 Conference
2004 Packers 10-6 9 3 Wild Card
2004 Chargers 12-4 10 4 Wild Card
2004 Rams 8-8 8 5 Divisional
2005 Panthers 11-5 7 5 Conference
2005 Bears 11-5 4 2 Divisional
2006 Chiefs 9-7 3 6 Wild Card
2007 Giants 10-6 9 5 Won SB
2007 Chargers 11-5 7 3 Conference

A couple things jumped out at me from this:

  • All of these teams started 1-2, which means since 2002, no team has started 0-3 and made the playoffs.  It was asked here what is the big difference between 1-2 and 0-3?  It's been since 1998 since a team started 0-3 and made the playoffs (Buffalo).  I'd say that is a big difference.
  • Check out 2003.  The top 3 seeds in the NFC all started 1-2 that year, including two teams who finished 12-4.  There is still hope.
  • Ten of the 15 teams in this group won at least 1 playoff game.  However, the Giants were the only ones to reach the Super Bowl in this stretch.
  • Taking this list as a percentage, we have 6 years x 16 teams with 1-2 or worse = 96 total teams.  15 / 96 ≈ 16%.  The odds aren't great, but is definitely possible.  Each year there has been at least 1 team to accomplish this.

These next two weeks are critical games that are must wins.  I think the Colts will respond and be 3-2 before heading to Lambeau.