We all know it's nearly impossible to make the playoffs after starting 0-3. How about after starting 3-0? There are nine teams currently at 2-0: Arizona, Atlanta, Carolina, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Green Bay, New England and the New York Jets. The Cardinals, Panthers, Broncos, Packers, Patriots and Jets are all favored this week. The Bengals are underdogs at the Ravens, while the Falcons and Cowboys play one another, so there won't be more than eight unbeatens following Week 3.
Three head coaches -- Atlanta's Dan Quinn, Denver's Gary Kubiak and the Jets' Todd Bowles -- are trying for 3-0 starts. The last time three first-year coaches started 3-0 was 2009 (Colts' Jim Caldwell, Broncos' Josh McDaniels and Jets' Rex Ryan)..
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Meanwhile, since 1990, the advent of the current playoff system, 75 percent of teams (93 of 124) that started 3-0 since 1990 made the playoffs. By comparison, since realignment in 2002 94 of the 156 playoff teams (60.3 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2 made the playoffs.
Here are some line moves or potential game-changing injury notes for Week 3.
Bears at Seahawks (-14.5): This line hasn't moved, and in a way I'm surprised. When I looked at this game in my Opening Line Report on Monday, it wasn't clear if Bears quarterback Jay Cutler would play due to a hamstring injury. And while Coach John Fox hasn't officially ruled him out yet, he's just playing games. Cutler will not play and actually could miss up to a month. Also out for the second straight week is Bears No. 1 receiver Alshon Jeffery. The Seahawks, meanwhile, get the boost of the return of Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor, who ended his holdout on Tuesday. That will help not just on the field -- the pass defense has been a problem -- but from a leadership standpoint as he's arguably the No. 1 guy in the locker room. But from one perspective I do understand why the Seahawks aren't taking a huge lean because teams that get at least two touchdowns cover more often than not.
Eagles at Jets (-2): This opened as a pick'em. How are the Eagles going to score against that New York defense? Sam Bradford hasn't been very good yet, and the Philly run game is averaging all of 35.0 yards per game. No. 1 tailback DeMarco Murray tweaked a hamstring in practice this week but apparently will play. The 2014 rushing king has been the NFL's biggest bust in 2015 with 11 carries on 21 yards. I mean, just fall forward at the line of scrimmage and you should gain a yard each time. The Jets have had five takeaways in each of the first two games, the first team to accomplish that since the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1992 (they made playoffs but lost in divisional round). With at least five more vs. the Eagles, the Jets would become the first team since the 1962 Packers (won NFL championship -- before Super Bowl era) to do it in the first three games.
Saints at Panthers (-3.5): This opened at -3, and I'm presuming the Panthers are taking a big lean because of the uncertainty of Saints QB Drew Brees, who has a bruised rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder and is questionable. He has never missed a start with New Orleans. If possible, he will play because a loss essentially ends New Orleans' season -- and perhaps ensures this is Brees' final year in a Saints uniform as he carries a massive cap number in 2016. How lucky might the Panthers be? They faced Blake Bortles in Week 1, Ryan Mallett in Week 2 and now perhaps Luke McCown. So who knows if Carolina is any good. Oh, and next week it's Bucs rookie Jameis Winston.
Steelers at Rams (+1): St. Louis opened at -1. We could see two season debuts here. For sure it will be the debut of Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, maybe the best all-around back in the league, off his two-game suspension. Check out Bovada for some specials on how he fares in his return. And we might see the NFL debut of Rams first-round pick Todd Gurley, the former running back star at Georgia. Gurley will be a game-time decision but says he's ready to return off ACL surgery that ended his collegiate career. With 223 passing yards against St. Louis, Ben Roethlisberger would become the fifth active quarterback to reach 40,000 passing yards, which would be the most active QBs ever to have 40,000+ passing yards at one time. The others are the Manning brothers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
Colts at Titans (+5.5): This opened at a field goal. Indianapolis is taking the biggest lean of any club. And from one perspective that make some sense because the Colts are totally desperate at 0-2. Plus, the Colts have won seven straight games against the Titans and 12 of their last 13 meetings. Indianapolis also has won 13 straight games against AFC South foes. Indy star cornerback Vontae Davis will play. Davis suffered a concussion while making a tackle late in the first half of Monday's loss to the New York Jets but has been cleared. Fellow starting cornerback Greg Toler is still "week-to-week" because of a neck injury. But Indy is going to lose again if that offensive line doesn't improve.
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