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49ers avoided dreaded 0-2 start to the season

The 49ers have their work cut out for them, but playoff odds drop considerably for 0-2 teams.

The San Francisco 49ers improved to 1-1 on the season on Sunday, defeating the Detroit Lions by a final score of 30-27. Week 2 comes to a close later tonight when the Chicago Bears host the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football.

MNF is a huge game, and really this week was a huge one for any team that opened the season 0-1. Entering Week 2, we regularly heard the stat about 0-2 teams not making the playoffs. Something like 90 percent of teams that start the regular season 0-2 do not make the playoffs. The Seahawks and Bears both lost last week, so the loser of Monday Night Football gets to fall into that category.

In reality, the stat is kind of bogus for purposes of discussion. Most teams that start 0-2 are not good football teams, and when a good team stumbles out of the gate, they’ve likely got better than 10 percent odds of making the playoffs. And yet, it is still something worth tracking because, why not?

There are six teams that now sit at 0-2 following Sunday’s contests: Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Houston Texans, Buffalo Bills. Barring a tie, either the Seahawks or Bears will join this list.

Meanwhile, the list of 2-0 teams features a mix of expected and unexpected teams. On the one hand, the Kansas Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams make sense. The Denver Broncos are not entirely shocking given their schedule to open the season, and the same holds true for the Cincinnati Bengals. The Kansas City Chiefs seem a spot below that, unless you were big on Patrick Mahomes.

That leaves us with the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Dolphins beat the Tennessee Titans at home and then beat the New York Jets on the road. Neither were gimmes, but they were not shocking wins. The Bucs, on the other hand, are a whole different beast. They went into the Big Easy and beat the New Orleans Saints in a shootout, and then welcomed the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles with a victory. How for real are the Bucs?

Our 49ers sit at 1-1, a game back of the Rams in the NFC West. I am fascinated to see what comes of tonight’s Seahawks-Bears game. I am picking the Bears to win and cover the 4.5 point spread, in part because I think their defensive front will decimate that Seahawks offensive line. Of course, underdogs were 10-4 against the spread on Sunday, so I would not be at all surprised to see the Seahawks go on the road and knock off the Bears. Chicago could have a great defense this year, but they still have a second-year quarterback facing a lot of questions. But a 1-1 Seahawks team is a lot different than an 0-2 Seahawks squad in my mind.