After Week 2 there are nine teams in the NFL that are currently without a win: New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, and Los Angeles Chargers. Three of these nine teams (Cinci, the Vikes, and the Chargers) were in the playoffs last year. In Week 3, seven of these teams are facing off against a team that was in the playoffs last year. So how many of them will get into the Win Column this week, and how many 0-3 teams will there be going into Week 4?
New England Patriots
The Patriots may be the best 0-2 in the NFL right now with the Bengals. In Week One, New England lost a close game to the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles, and in Week Two they dropped a tough game at home to the Miami Dolphins, who are a Top Five team in the NFL. This was a tough way to start the season, and if their Week Three opponents, New York Jets, still had Aaron Rodgers, the Pats may not have been on this list to get their first win. If the Buffalo Bills hadn’t practically handed the Jets their win in week one, they would be the tenth 0-2 team on this list.
Bill Belichick hasn’t been 0-3 in over 20 years. Zach Wilson is NOT going to be the QB that breaks that streak for Belichick. Also, Mac Jones is not a bad QB; I’m not saying that he’s a great QB (because he’s not), but he will have success against a Jets defense that has given up 46 points in their first two games, including 30 points last week to the Dallas Cowboys. I can’t imagine that Wilson’s play so far (54% pass completion, 2 TDs, 4 INTs) has convinced anyone that he can lead this team to a winning season. Patriots will win 23-17.
Here’s the other team right now who could be argued to be the best 2-0 team in the league. What is with the Bengals starting off the season 0-2? The same thing happened last year, and they ended up winning the AFC North. Plot twist! Joe Burrow isn’t healthy this year. Burrow hurt his calf at the end of July, had over a month to get ready for the first game, and now he’s still having problems with that same calf. Exactly, what is wrong here, and why isn’t he getting better? Is this like a hamstring injury that just lingers on for an entire season? If so, we might get to see what Jake Browning is really make of. I’ll bet Cinci is wishing that they had hung onto Trevor Siemian. At least HE had some NFL experience.
Do not discount the Los Angeles Rams though. They beat the Seahawks in Week One and lost to arguably the best team in the NFL (San Francisco 49ers) by one score in Week Two. IF Joe Burrow can play, I think the Bengals will win this game with confidence. If Burrow can’t go, I think we’re looking at a Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets in Week One kind of game with Jake Browning at the helm. Either way, I like the Bengals and I can’t see a team with these kinds of offensive weapons being held down to 0-3. Bengals will win 24-21.
Los Angeles Chargers OR Minnesota Vikings
Unfortunately, these two teams play each other this week. When NFL fans are tuning into this game it’s not going to be about “who’s going to win?”, but “who’s going to be 0-3?”. BOTH teams were in the playoffs last year, granted both also lost at home in the first round (ouch…sorry). Both teams are grossly underperforming so far. Minnesota definitely should have beaten the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home in Week One, and the Chargers probably should have beaten the Titans last week. But THAT’S why they play the games!
Minnesota’s running game has been so bad after letting Dalvin Cook go, that they signed a new OG (Dalton Risner) and traded for Cam Akers this week. The Vikes also rank dead last in rushing yards in the NFL. Because Minnesota is so bad at running the ball, they are inevitably the second-best passing team. The Chargers on the other hand are more balanced. They are 5th in rushing yards, 11th in passing yards and are 5th in overall yards. Defensively though, Los Angeles is dead last in yards allowed. Home Field Advantage means nothing for me here since the Vikings lost to the Bucs at home. What matters more to me is the Turnover Differential, in which the Vikings are at -6 (after TWO GAMES) and the Chargers are a +2. For this reason, I must pick LA to win in a high-scoring, last minute win, 34-31.
Everyone Else Who Is 0-2
Every other 0-2 team will drop to 0-3. Houston will not beat the Jaguars in Jacksonville, and Denver will not win in Miami. Chicago is a dumpster fire that will lose in Kansas City, Carolina can’t beat the Seahawks in Seattle, and Arizona couldn’t win against Dallas anywhere on the face of the earth in any condition. Thanks for “read”!