Week 3 in the NFL is an interesting week because it is the first week after which the first teams are basically eliminated from playoff contention. Only three times since 1990 ('92 Chargers, '95 Lions, '98 Bills) has a team made the playoffs after starting 0-3. Since realignment in 2002, not one of the 69 teams that started the season 0-3 made the playoffs, which means the 0-2 teams (the Redskins, along with seven other teams we don't really care about) face must-win games this weekend.
Week 3 is also interesting for 1-1 teams like the Cowboys (and eight other teams), because advancing to 2-1 keeps them on track for a playoff berth, while a 1-2 record decreases those odds significantly, as the table below illustrates.
|Playoff odds based on Week 3 W/L records, since 2002|
|Record after Week 3||3-0||2-1||1-2||0-3|
All of which shouldn't really be a huge surprise. If you start the season 3-0, odds are you are a good team, and good teams make the playoffs more often than not. If you start 0-3, odds are your team just plain sucks.
All 10 front-pagers are picking the Cowboys to win this weekend, a sentiment they share with most of the experts and algorithms aggregated at NFLPickWatch.com, where 92% of the picks currently favor the Cowboys over the Bears, the highest vote of confidence any team received this week.
Have a look at the picks below. Agree, disagree? Let us know in the comments section below.