Week 3 is an interesting week in the NFL 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. More importantly though, not once has that feat been achieved since realignment in 2002. Since 2002, 73 teams started 0-3 and not a single one of them made the playoffs, which means the 0-2 teams (the Giants, along with eight other teams we don't really care about) face must-win games this weekend.
Week 3 is also interesting for the three other NFC East teams. The Cowboys, Eagles, and Redskins all sit at 1-1, and while advancing to 2-1 will keep them on track for a playoff berth, dropping to 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 12 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 81% of the picks currently favor the Cowboys over the Cardinals.
Have a look at the picks below. Agree, disagree? Let us know in the comments section below.
|LAR (-2.5) @ SF||LAR||LAR||LAR||LAR||LAR||LAR||LAR||LAR||LAR||LAR||LAR||LAR||LAR|
|BAL (-3.5) @ JAC||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||JAC||BAL||BAL||JAC||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL|
|CLE (-1) @ IND||CLE||IND||CLE||CLE||IND||CLE||CLE||CLE||CLE||CLE||CLE||CLE||CLE|
|PIT (-7.5) @ CHI||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT|
|MIA (-6) @ NYJ||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA||MIA|
|DEN (-3) @ BUF||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN||DEN|
|HOU @ NE (-13.5)||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE|
|NO @ CAR (-6)||CAR||CAR||CAR||CAR||CAR||NO||CAR||CAR||NO||CAR||CAR||CAR||CAR|
|TB @ MIN (-1)||TB||TB||TB||MIN||MIN||TB||TB||TB||TB||TB||TB||TB||TB|
|ATL (-3) @ DET||DET||ATL||ATL||DET||ATL||ATL||ATL||ATL||DET||ATL||ATL||ATL||ATL|
|NYG @ PHI (-6)||PHI||PHI||PHI||NYG||PHI||PHI||PHI||PHI||NYG||PHI||PHI||PHI||PHI|
|SEA @ TEN (-2.5)||TEN||TEN||SEA||TEN||TEN||SEA||SEA||TEN||TEN||TEN||TEN||TEN||TEN|
|KC (-3) @ LAC||KC||KC||KC||KC||KC||KC||KC||KC||KC||KC||KC||KC||KC|
|CIN @ GB (-9)||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB||GB|
|OAK (-3) @ WAS||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK|
|DAL (-3) @ ARI||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL||DAL|