An Zero-2 begin is a near-death gap within the NFL

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As soon as once more this yr the NFL is promoting hope, onerous, for slow-starting groups.

“Since realignment in 2002,” an merchandise in a information launch previewing Week 2 says, “116 of the 192 playoff groups (60.Four%) started the yr both 1-1 or Zero-2, together with eight [of 12 playoff] groups final season and 6 [of eight] division champions…”

The supposed takeaway? Because the merchandise’s all-caps lead-in phrases state:

“NO NEED TO PANIC.”

Effectively, sure, there bloody nicely is that if your report is Zero-1 proper now.

As a result of for those who separate the groups over the previous 10 years that began Zero-2 from the 1-1s, you’ll discover that just about all Zero-2 groups failed to achieve the post-season.

A dive by Postmedia into NFL data from 2008-17 reveals that solely 7.5% of playoff groups (9-of-120) misplaced their first two video games. And for those who return solely 9 seasons, not 10, the playoff chance for Zero-2 groups drops to five.6% (6-of-108).

This Sunday and Monday, 14 NFL groups that misplaced in Week 1 hope to keep away from that Zero-2 near-death gap. They’re:

  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Buffalo Payments
  • Chicago Bears
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Detroit Lions
  • Houston Texans
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • New Orleans Saints
  • New York Giants
  • Oakland Raiders
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Tennessee Titans

5 Week 2 video games function nothing however Zero-1 groups: Chargers at Payments, Texans at Titans, Lions at 49ers, Giants at Cowboys and Seahawks at Bears.

A sixth recreation pits Zero-1 New Orleans vs. Zero-Zero-1 Cleveland, which tied Pittsburgh final Sunday.

Gamers and coaches on these groups this week spoke about their doubtlessly ominous predicaments, and the significance of avoiding the dreaded Zero-2 begin.

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Texans edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney mentioned one secret is to come back out storming in Week 2. Houston’s foe is Tennessee, an AFC South rival.

“(Tempers are) going to be excessive,” Clowney mentioned. “You recognize we’re not attempting to lose a division recreation. We’re not attempting to go Zero-2 this season. I’m anticipating us to come back out rolling and attempt to get after these guys early.”

The Giants play at equally winless Dallas on Sunday evening. New York security Landon Collins, whose crew began Zero-2 final yr earlier than shedding the following three and ending Three-13, didn’t sugar-coat what a loss at AT&T Stadium would imply.

“It’s an enormous gap, particularly on this convention,” Collins mentioned. “So we’d like this recreation. We’d like this win. It’s positively large to us.”

Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., in labeling Sunday evening’s recreation “very” essential, mentioned that barring a tie, somebody has to lose to fall to Zero-2.

“May as nicely not be you,” he added. “There’s no feeling like profitable. Simply the general feeling of everyone within the locker room realizing we did what we needed to do … We all know the significance of this recreation. We all know you don’t wish to get Zero-2 and begin the season off that method.

“We plan to come back out and win.”

Ah, however how finest to go about doing it? Giants receiver Sterling Shepard mentioned it’s very important to not dwell on the frustration of the Week 1 loss.

“You simply obtained to flush it down the bathroom and get proper again to work,” he mentioned. “I believe that’s the principle factor – having guys which have a brief reminiscence. You’re taking a loss, you study from it. Are available, and also you put together for subsequent week.”

New Lions head coach Matt Patricia is feeling the warmth already in Detroit, after a disastrous debut defeat, at dwelling, to the New York Jets on Monday evening. As horribly as his crew performed in all phases in its 48-17 defeat, Patricia by Wednesday was performed speaking about it, waving off query after query pertaining to the debacle.

“You may’t let one week lead into one other week,” he mentioned by the use of rationalization. “You need to study, and sadly, on a really quick week we have now to study shortly.”

In different phrases, it’s on to San Francisco.

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The Payments might need the steepest mountain to climb of any of the winless groups, much more than Detroit. The Payments obtained smoked 47-Three in Baltimore by the Ravens, in a recreation when nearly nothing went proper for Buffalo on both offence or defence. Now the membership is asking rookie quarterback Josh Allen to win his first NFL begin, within the Payments’ dwelling opener vs. the Chargers.

“The toughest half (is) simply how we misplaced the sport, and coming dwelling (pondering), ‘Rattling, we simply obtained our butts kicked,’ ” mentioned working again LeSean McCoy, a Payments captain. “I used to be attempting to remind guys that we misplaced like that final yr, put it collectively (and) turned a playoff crew. Irrespective of the way you take a look at it, it could be embarrassing how we misplaced, nevertheless it’s only one loss. We’re not Zero-5, Zero-6; it’s Zero-1, and the way in which you reply to a loss like that’s win.

“To place issues in perspective, we’ll be 1-1 after this recreation if we go on the market and play nicely and win the sport. You retain rolling. It’s the NFL. These groups are good; we didn’t come to play (in Baltimore), easy as that. They did, we misplaced. Now it’s the way you reply.”

McCoy mentioned captains offered the swath of younger Payments gamers with this extra message:

“Guys have pleasure; that’s the largest factor. Additionally, one factor about this league, when a crew does nicely, when a crew wins, you overlook about every little thing else up to now. We’d’ve gotten beat by 43 factors, 40 factors, we come out right here and win a recreation by one level, win recreation by a discipline objective – we’re transferring on. It’s a win. We win the following recreation by some extent, all that earlier than doesn’t even matter.”

Coaches of Zero-1 groups this week principally talked in clichés – OK, when don’t they? – however a typical chorus gave the impression to be not specializing in what occurs in the event that they lose Sunday or Monday, however relatively on the quick process earlier than them, hourly and every day, all through the week. The very fact the Giants and Cowboys are divisional arch-rivals, which raises the significance of Sunday evening’s recreation one other rung or two, can’t have any bearing on a participant’s preparation, both, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett mentioned.

“If we have been 1-Zero at this level, we’d need the identical factor from our crew, we’d anticipate the identical factor from ourselves as coaches – the main focus it is advisable to have every day in making ready for the problem that we have now Sunday evening in opposition to the Giants. No matter what’s occurred up thus far, you actually simply attempt to get everyone to remain locked in and put together the proper method, so we will go play our greatest soccer.”

Two NFL groups are tied for the longest lively streak of Zero-2 begins. No, certainly one of them isn’t the Browns, surprisingly. Quite, it’s the Saints and Colts. Each are at risk of starting the fifth consecutive season at Zero-2.

“It’s actually one thing that you just take note of, and also you take a look at from a training perspective,” Saints head coach Sean Payton mentioned. “I believe that just a few years prior, we weren’t superb. Final yr, we began off with two robust opponents. We didn’t play significantly nicely within the second recreation, and happily, we began profitable some video games. This clearly is a aggressive league.

“Regardless … it nonetheless comes all the way down to each psychological and bodily preparation and (being) able to play nicely early. (All) groups proper now are in a race to enhance. Usually instances, that may occur loads within the early a part of a season.”

As for the lowly Browns – who ended their 17-game shedding streak that had begun in 2016 with their 21-21 tie in opposition to the Steelers, however prolonged their winless skid to 18 video games – this Sunday’s recreation in New Orleans is “one other alternative to earn a victory,” head coach Hue Jackson mentioned.

Then he added an pointless level for somebody whose report as Browns head coach since 2016 is 1-31-1 (.045) and whose general NFL teaching report is 9-39-1 (.194):

“Clearly, victories are onerous on this league.”

Sure they’re. Particularly for those who open the season Zero-2.

The ‘Owen Two’ parade …

NFL groups that began Zero-2 in every of the previous 10 seasons, with playoff groups in CAPITALS:

2017

NEW ORLEANS

Cleveland

LA Chargers

Cincinnati

NY Jets

NY Giants

Indianapolis

Chicago

San Francisco

2016

MIAMI

Buffalo

Jacksonville

Cleveland

Washington

Indianapolis

Chicago

New Orleans

2015

HOUSTON

SEATTLE

Baltimore

Indianapolis

NY Giants

Philadelphia

Detroit

Chicago

New Orleans

2014

INDIANAPOLIS

Jacksonville

Kansas Metropolis

Oakland

NY Giants

Tampa Bay

New Orleans

2013

CAROLINA

Cleveland

Pittsburgh

Jacksonville

Washington

NY Giants

Minnesota

Tampa Bay

2012

Cleveland

Jacksonville

Kansas Metropolis

New Orleans

Oakland

Tennessee

2011

Carolina

Indianapolis

Kansas Metropolis

Miami

Minnesota

Seattle

St. Louis

2010

Cleveland

Dallas

Detroit

Buffalo

Minnesota

Carolina

St. Louis

San Francisco

2009

Carolina

Detroit

Tennessee

Kansas Metropolis

St. Louis

Jacksonville

Tampa Bay

Cleveland

Miami

2008

MIAMI

MINNESOTA

SAN DIEGO

Cincinnati

Cleveland

Detroit

Houston

Jacksonville

Kansas Metropolis

Seattle

St. Louis

Payments-killer Rivers, Chargers search for win No. 1

For the 11th time in Philip Rivers’ 13 seasons as beginning quarterback, the Chargers aren’t going to start out 2-Zero.

With a win Sunday in Buffalo, the most effective Zero-1 Los Angeles (nee San Diego) can do is open 1-1, for the ninth time within the Rivers period.

Solely twice within the Rivers period have the Chargers opened 2-Zero: in 2006 (his first yr of beginning) and in 2012. And solely as soon as since 2013 have the Chargers entered October with a profitable report.

Secure to say, this crew sometimes doesn’t get off to rip-roaring begins.

However, solely twice have the Rivers-piloted Chargers opened Zero-2 (final yr and in 2008) they usually’re at risk of doing so a 3rd time if they will’t beat the Payments of their dwelling opener.

A minimum of Rivers often performs at a excessive stage in opposition to Buffalo. As a starter he’s Four-1 in opposition to the Payments, throwing 10 touchdowns with a shiny 110.1 passer score. The final time he performed at what’s now named New Period Discipline, in 2014, he performed fabulously, finishing 18-of-25 in a robust wind for 256 yards and two touchdowns in a 22-10 Chargers victory. That was in September, too.

“In Buffalo you by no means know what (climate) you’re going to get,” Rivers mentioned this week. “However yeah, I’d a lot relatively be there in September relatively than December.”

JoKryk@postmedia.com

twitter.com/JohnKryk





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