Week 3 in the NFL is an interesting week, because it is the first week after which the first teams are effectively eliminated from playoff contention.
From 1990 to 2020, 146 teams started the year 0-3, and only four of them (‘92 Chargers, ‘95 Lions, ‘98 Bills, ‘18 Texans) made the playoffs (2.7%). Which means the 0-3 teams (Giants, Vikings, Falcons, Jets, Broncos, and Texans) can start doing mock drafts.
Week 3 is also interesting for teams like the Cowboys that started the season 1-1, because the third game often points such teams in one or the other direction. Had the Cowboys won against the Seahawks and improved to 2-1, their historic chances of making getting one of the seven playoff spots this year would have jumped to 58%. Instead, the Cowboys dropped to 1-2 and their playoff odds dropped to 33%.
But did they really?
When you want to make the playoffs, it helps to play in a crappy division. The Patriots, though they’ll vigorously deny it (as they habitually deny everything), are living proof of that, as they’ve walked all over the decrepit AFC East for nearly 20 years.
For the Cowboys, the surest route to the playoffs this year is to win the lowly NFC East division, and it may be easier this year than it’s ever been in recent memory.
Don’t need no playoff math to figure that one out.