clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Considering playoff odds for the 49ers and 8 other 0-2 teams

New, comments

An 0-2 start is not ideal for getting to the playoffs, but three 0-2 teams have made the playoffs the last two seasons. Time to consider the odds.

Jim Burt

The San Francisco 49ers are one of nine teams that have opened the 2017 NFL season with an 0-2 record. Teams that start the season 0-2 generally do not make the playoffs, but it is not unheard of for such a team to turn things around and keep playing in January. Since the NFL changed to 12 playoff teams in 1990, 12 percent of 0-2 teams have made the playoffs. Since the NFL switched to eight divisions in 2002, 10.5 percent of 0-2 teams have made the playoffs.

So what does that mean for this year? Football Outsiders took a look at the nine teams sitting at 0-2, and offered up odds on each team’s playoff chances. They run 50,000 season simulations to determine playoff odds, and in 41.2 percent of their simulations this week, one of the 0-2 teams gets into the playoffs.

The Los Angeles Chargers lead the way with a 14.2 percent chance, followed by the New York Giants at 12.1 percent. The remaining teams are in the single digits, including the 49ers at 4.6 percent. The 49ers have the worst odds among the NFC’s 0-2 teams. After the Giants, the New Orleans Saints are at 7.5 percent and the Chicago Bears are at 7.2 percent. Here’s what they had to say about the 49ers.

Like the Bengals, the 49ers have been surprisingly strong on special teams through two games (fourth in DVOA). However, they rank 30th on offense and 18th on defense. A moral victory for keeping things close against Seattle was nice for the young players on the San Francisco roster, but it's only the lack of a 2-0 team in the NFC West that keeps their playoff odds higher than those for the Browns and Jets.

It is worth noting that their simulations are currently 20 percent based on performance so far and 80 percent based on preseason projections. The idea being that teams are changing each week, but it’s too early to say a team is clearly how they’re playing at this very moment. I think that is one reason the 49ers defense ranks 18th thus far. I suspect we see that number improve as it becomes less about preseason projections and more about performance this season.

If the 49ers can get Eric Reid and Reuben Foster back sooner rather than later, this 49ers team will be interesting. The offense has a lot of work to do, but if this defense gets healthy, they will at least give teams plenty of fits the rest of the way. I don’t think it will be enough to snag a playoff spot, but they won’t be an easy W like some might have thought prior to the season.