Eight teams are off to strong starts at 2-0: Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, Oakland and Pittsburgh. Two others – Miami (1-0) and Tampa Bay (1-0) – will attempt to join them this week.
Among the undefeated teams are the Ravens, Panthers, Broncos and Buccaneers, who each missed the playoffs last season and are candidates to be turnaround teams in 2017. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.
The chances of making the playoffs after a 2-0 start are good but far from a sure thing. Since 1990, when the current playoff format was adopted, 138 of the 220 teams (62.7 percent) to start 2-0 have qualified for the postseason.
However, with 14 games remaining, there’s plenty of time to turn things around. Since realignment in 2002, 60 percent of the playoff teams (108 of 180) started the season at either 1-1 or 0-2, including eight of 12 last year.
Week 3 gets underway on Thursday night (8:25 PM ET, NFL Network) when the San Francisco 49ers host the Los Angeles Rams in an NFC West showdown between two teams with rookie head coaches – San Francisco’s KYLE SHANAHAN and Los Angeles’ SEAN MC VAY.
Also this week, the NFL returns to London for the first of a record four games in the UK this season. On Sunday (9:30 AM ET), the Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Baltimore Ravens at Wembley Stadium. The Jaguars are returning to London for the fifth consecutive year while the Ravens are making their first trip to the UK for the franchise’s first international game.