NFL's last 30 0-2 teams have missed playoffs
With two losses in the final two seconds to open the Bucs' season, you may have read that since 1990, just 11.6 percent of the NFL's teams that start 0-2 (22 out of 190) have bounced back to reach the playoffs. More recent numbers aren't even that promising.
In the past four NFL seasons, 30 teams have opened 2-0, and none of them have reached the playoffs. The last teams to go from 0-2 to the playoffs came in 2008, when three eams pulled it off -- Miami (11-5), Minnesota (10-6) and San Diego (8-8) won division titles.
Since then, however, only two teams have mustered an 8-8 record -- the Titans and Chargers in 2009, who both missed the playoffs. (Tennessee actually bounced back from 0-6 that season.) Six others have made it to 7-9, including last year's Saints. The average wins for a 0-2 NFL team in the past four seasons? It works out to 4.87 victories, essentially a 5-11 record.
In Bucs history, an 0-2 has largely had the same rate of overall success. Tampa Bay has had 0-2 starts 15 times before this season, and the only playoff berth was in 1982, when a 5-4 record got the Bucs in the playoffs during the strike-shortened season. In those 15 seasons, the Bucs have managed more than six wins just once, going 8-8 in 1998. The Bucs had just three 0-2 starts in the 14 seasons preceding this one. For their history, Tampa Bay averages 3.87 wins in seasons where they start 0-2, a win lower than the league's recent average.
Keep in mind, the Bucs are two last-second field goals away from being 2-0, and by that should have as much optimism as a 2-0 team can have. Their remaining schedule won't help, however, with four games against 2-0 teams (Sunday at New England, plus Miami, Seattle and New Orleans again) and only two against a fellow 0-2 team, both against Carolina.
The glass-half-full view? Three teams in NFL history -- the 2007 Giants, 2001 Patriots and 1993 Cowboys -- opened 0-2 and went on to win Super Bowls that same season.