3-0 Start Would Be Playoff Beacon

The Packers are one of three teams in the NFC and one of seven in the NFL who are undefeated. What does it mean historically?

The Green Bay Packers are among seven teams that are undefeated through the first two weeks of the season.

If the Packers can beat rival Chicago on Sunday, they'll be 3-0, which historically is good news for a team's playoff aspirations. Since 1990, 75.9 percent of teams (82 of 108) that won its first three games reached the postseason tournament.

The other six undefeated teams are Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, New England, the New York Jets and Washington. Two of these clubs, the Bills and the Lions, look to begin this season at 3-0 after starting 0-3 last season. Moreoer, the Bills, Lions, Texans and Redskins did not make the playoffs last season.

Unpredictability a hallmark in the parity-driven NFL. In each of the past 15 seasons, at least five clubs made the playoffs that were not in the postseason the previous year. Plus, the Lions and Redskins are coming off 6-10 seasons and are aiming to extend the NFL's record streak of eight consecutive seasons with at least one team going from "worst to first" – finishing in first place in its division the season after being in last.

A look at the NFC's three 2-0 teams:

Green Bay Packers

The defending Super Bowl champions have picked up right where they left off. Green Bay has scored 72 points in its first two games and the Packers have won eight in a row, including the playoffs.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers leads the NFC with a 126.4 passer rating and has thrown for 620 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. Rodgers has spread those five touchdowns out to three different receivers – Greg Jennings (two), Jordy Nelson (two) and rookie Randall Cobb (one).

Defensively, the Packers have forced five turnovers, tied for the second-most in the NFC. Veteran Charles Woodson leads the team with two interceptions and has also added a fumble recovery. Linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive tackle B.J. Raji are among the six Packers who have recorded a sack this season.

Detroit Lions

The Lions have outscored opponents by 52 points (75 scored, 23 allowed), the best mark in the NFL. In Week 2, Detroit recorded a 48-3 victory over Kansas City, tied for the largest margin of victory in franchise history (1957 NFL Championship, 59-14, December 29, 1957).

Quarterback Matthew Stafford has a 112.0 passer rating and ties for the NFL lead with seven touchdown passes. He has thrown at least four touchdowns three times in 15 career games and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton as the only players in NFL history with at least four touchdown passes in three of his first 15 career games. Second-year running back Jahvid Best is one of only three players in the NFL this season with at least 100 yards rushing (129) and 100 yards receiving (108). And wide receiver Calvin Johnson, a Pro Bowl selection last year, ties for the NFL lead with four touchdown receptions. 

The Lions rank second in the NFC in total defense (291.0 yards per game). Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who was selected to the Pro Bowl last year as a rookie, has 11 sacks in his first 18 games. Detroit has forced eight turnovers this season, tied for the most in the NFL.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins sit atop the NFC East with a 2-0 record and head coach Mike Shanahan has recorded 162 career victories, passing Bill Cowher to move into 15th place in NFL history.

Quarterback Rex Grossman has been effective, especially in the fourth quarter, when he ranks third in the NFC with a 116.1 passer rating. Fred Davis leads the team with 191 receiving yards, the second-most by a tight end. Davis and Santana Moss share the club lead with 11 receptions each. Running back Tim Hightower has 168 rushing yards.

Washington's two interceptions have come from linebackers – rookie Ryan Kerrigan, who returned his for a touchdown, and London Fletcher. Six Redskins have recorded at least one sack, including two from rookie defensive tackle Chris Neild and one each from Kerrigan and linebacker Brian Orakpo.

Meanwhile, seven teams are winless entering this weekend. History shows that 0-2 teams advance to the playoffs more often than people might think. Since the current playoff format was instituted in 1990, 22 teams started 0-2 but qualified for the postseason.

The 1993 Dallas Cowboys started 0-2 before winning Super Bowl XXVIII. The 0-2 New England Patriots of 1996 played in Super Bowl XXXI, and in 2001, the 0-2 Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI. The 2007 New York Giants started 0-2 before winning Super Bowl XLII.


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