Starting the season 0-2 usually kills an NFL team’s playoff chances. Seven of the league’s 32 teams find themselves behind the eightball in 2021, having started the year with a pair of losses.

Only 11.6% of teams that started with a 0-2 record have made the postseason in the last 30 years, according to USA Today. That includes the 2020 season, during which the playoff field in each conference was expanded from six to seven teams. All 11 teams that started 0-2 a season ago failed to reach the playoffs.

You can already count out a few teams before Week 3 even begins. The New York Jets, Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars were projected to be among the league’s worst teams, and they’ve justified expectations through two weeks. All three teams have been outscored by at least 24 total points.

No one has played worse than the Atlanta Falcons. The only winless NFC South team, Atlanta has an NFL-worst minus-49 point differential. The Falcons might be learning that it’s time to move on from Matt Ryan, who has an 18-31 record in his last 49 starts.

The Falcons visit the 0-2 New York Giants Sunday afternoon. The loser of that matchup can likely say goodbye to any hopes of reaching the postseason.

The Indianapolis Colts are the only 2020 playoff team that finds itself in an 0-2 hole. The Minnesota Vikings are 0-2, but every team in their division has at least one loss.

If an 0-2 team is going to make this year’s playoffs, it’s going to be one of them. 

Indianapolis’ playoff chances are boosted by a schedule that gets easier as the season moves along. 

In Week 4, the Colts will visit the Miami Dolphins, who could be without Tua Tagovailoa as he recovers from fractured ribs. Most of the Colts’ toughest opponents in the second half, such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots, are set to play in Indianapolis. One-third of the Colts’ remaining schedule features the Jaguars, Jets or Houston Texans.

The AFC South is viewed as the NFL’s weakest division. If Indianapolis can manage to upset the Tennessee Titans in Week 3, the AFC South race could look much different.

The Colts lead all 0-2 teams with +144 odds to make the playoffs, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Carson Wentz is questionable in Week 3 with two ankle injuries.

Indianapolis has lost to a pair of Super Bowl contenders in the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams. Minnesota could easily be 2-0, losing two games that have been decided on a field goal as time expired.

The Vikings have a playoff-caliber roster, returning the key pieces of a top-five offense, which ranks sixth after two games. Kirk Cousins has a 112.9 passer rating. Dalvin Cook leads the NFC with 192 rushing yards.

Minnesota hosts Seattle and the Cleveland Browns in Week 3 and Week 4, respectively. The Vikings play teams that missed last year’s playoffs in each of the following three contests, giving them a chance to right the ship and stay in contention.

The Vikings have yet to play their first game in Minnesota. Few teams have a bigger home-field advantage than the Vikings. 

The Green Bay Packers remain the heavy NFC North favorites, despite a 35-point season-opening loss. The 1-1 Chicago Bears are considered long shots to win the division.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, right, celebrates with Adam Thielen, left, after the Vikings defeated the New Orleans Saints 26-20 in the NFL playoffs Sunday Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, right, celebrates with Adam Thielen, left, after the Vikings defeated the New Orleans Saints 26-20 in the NFL playoffs. Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Chris Graythen