Can Bears Avoid 0-2 Start And How That Affects Their Playoff Hopes

Can Bears Avoid 0-2 Start And How That Affects Their Playoff Hopes
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

Compared to other professional sports leagues, the NFL season is relatively short. With just 17 games in the regular season, getting off to a fast start is incredibly important to making the playoffs, which is something that folks using Illinois sports betting operators to place a wager will want to keep in mind. A few early losses means a team’s highest aspiration – reaching and winning the Super Bowl – is in serious jeopardy before the campaign has hardly begun.

In the NFL, a “slow start” is defined in stark terms, an 0-2 record. Of course, that means after the opening week of play, there are 16 teams that are in danger of getting off to the dreaded “slow start” and the Chicago Bears are one of them.

So is losing the first two games really a death knell for an NFL team, or is there life after 0-2? Using Stathead.com, IllinoisBet.com (where the best sportsbook promos Illinois can be found) looked at how teams fared after losing their first two games in each season since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. Here are the results:

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Season Performance Of NFL Teams Starting 0-2

Result No. of Teams Percentage
Winning Season 57 14.0%
Making Playoffs 39 9.6%
Making Super Bowl 4 1.0%
Winning Super Bowl 3 0.7%

Bears Have A Glimmer of Hope

There have been 406 teams that started 0-2 since the merger. As you can see, a small percentage of them turned their seasons around to make the playoffs. The question is pertinent for the Bears and their fans after Chicago was waxed by NFC North rival Green Bay, 38-20, in Week 1. But statistically, there is a glimmer of hope for Windy City fans and the Chicago Bears playoff chances.

Of those 406 teams who lost their first two games, 57 of them, or 14%, finished with winning seasons. And 39, or 9.6% of the 0-2 teams, made the playoffs. So, there it is. Start 0-2 and, historically, a team’s chances of making the playoffs are about 1 in 10. That’s not great but it’s still a chance.

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2023 Chicago Bears Odds

But how about advancing through the playoffs? Well, then the odds get a lot slimmer, especially in terms of how success is defined in the NFL, which is winning the Super Bowl. Granted, the Bears Super Bowl odds were long even before the loss to the Packers.

Only four teams lost their opening two games and reached the Super Bowl. Of those, three went on to win it all.

The best records for 0-2 teams were the Carolina Panthers, who went 12-4 in 2013, and the Cincinnati Bengals, who went 12-4 last season. Those Bengals reached the AFC Championship game, where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, 23-20. The 2013 Panthers had a first-round postseason bye, but lost in the Divisional Round to San Francisco, 23-10.

Folks using Illinois sports betting apps can get odds between +245 and +380 on the Bears to make the playoffs (or odds varying from -400 to -525 for Chicago to miss out).

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Bears At Buccaneers Odds

Bears quarterback Justin Fields will have to evolve his game from being mainly a running threat to a winning quarterback. His career record as a starter is 5-21. In Sunday’s loss to Green Bay, he passed for 213 yards and one touchdown with an interception. He also ran for 59 yards on nine carries and lost a fumble.

Going back to last season, the Bears have lost 11 straight and head coach Matt Eberflus is feeling the heat. Next Sunday, the Bears are on the road to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Chicago is a 3-point underdog at BetMGM Illinois Sportsbook as of Tuesday morning, but it’s still a winnable game for the Bears. In the case of Chicago, an 0-2 start might have ramifications beyond what it means statistically for making the playoffs.

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Author

Bill Ordine covers state gambling issues for IllinoisBet.com. He was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years.

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