What are the chances the Bengals make the playoffs after 0-2 start?

Using the past 27 NFL seasons as the sole source of data, the Cincinnati Bengals have a 12.2 percent chance of making the playoffs this year after losing home games to the Baltimore Ravens 20-0 and Houston Texans 13-9 to start the season 0-2.

Since the NFL went to the current playoff format in 1990, there have been 221 teams start 0-2, and only 27 have gone on to make the playoffs.

And the odds of the Bengals becoming the 28th are even slimmer when taking into account a few other variables.

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First, of the 27 teams that have rallied from 0-2 starts to reach the postseason, only one — the 2003 Philadelphia Eagles — had both losses come at home.

Also, only five of the 27 teams suffered a shutout as part of the 0-2 start. And only one, those same 2003 Eagles, had that shutout come at home.

The future also is bleak for teams that have a loss by at least 20 points as part of the 0-2 start. That has happened eight times, with 2003 Eagles again being a part of the club. The others were the 2008 Dolphins, 2007 Giants (Super Bowl champions), 2002 Steelers, 1998 Cardinals, 1993 Steelers, 1990 Oilers and 1990 Saints.

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Of the eight that endured 20-point losses, only the the 2007 Giants and 2003 Eagles did so at home.

Another factor working against the Bengals is the fact that both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are 2-0.

Of the 27 teams that have made the playoffs following 0-2 starts, only seven have done so after falling two games back of at least two division opponents — the 2008 Dolphins, 2007 Giants, 2002, Falcons, 2001 Patriots, 1996 Patriots, 1994 Patriots and 1993 Cowboys.

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One slight glimmer of hope from that stat is that three of those eight teams went on to win the Super Bowl (2007 Giants, 2001 Patriots, 1993 Cowboys) and another (1996 Patriots) reached the big game.

Another cause for optimism is the fact that at least one team has rebounded from an 0-2 start to make playoffs in each of the last four seasons — 2016 Dolphins, 2015 Texans, 2015 Seahawks, 2014 Colts, 2013 Panthers.

But when the scope is narrowed to simply Bengals teams that have started 0-2 and rallied to make the playoffs, the success rate is 0.0 percent.

Since 1990, the Bengals have started 0-2 nine times. Their average win total in those seasons was 4.3. Their best finish was 8-8 (in 1996 and 2003).

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Those nine 0-2 starts are one shy of being the most in the league during that time span. The Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks each have 10.

Since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978, the Bengals have started 0-2 15 times, with an average win total in those seasons of 5.0.

The 15 0-2 starts are one short of being the most in the league over that stretch behind the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts.


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