How Many 0-2 NFL Teams Made the Playoffs?

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings started their 2023 season at 0-2, along with seven other NFL teams who followed in their footsteps on Sunday. It’s not the way any team or fanbase wants to start the season but, with 15 games remaining on each schedule, there’s plenty of room for hope, right?

League History: Have any 0-2 NFL teams made the playoffs?

Well, yes… kind of. Wildcard teams were added to the playoff format back in 1990. Since then, 270 teams (not including the eight teams this year) have started their seasons 0-2. Just 31 of those teams (11.5%) have fought back to make the postseason.

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So… you’re saying there’s a chance? Yes. In fact, since we’re being optimistic, it’s worth noting that 0-2 teams in 2023 have a better chance of making the playoffs than past 0-2 teams. Why?

The NFL added two more wild card spots in each conference, starting in 2020, meaning the NFL now has 14 playoff teams, instead of 12. On top of that additional NFC Wildcard slot, the league added an extra game to the regular season schedule in 2021.

Instead of 16 games (17 weeks), teams now play 17 games (18 weeks), meaning the Vikings and other 0-2 teams will have more time to recover from their bad start, than most of the 270 teams before them.

0-2 nfl teams made the playoffs minnesota vikings
Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Jordan Davis (90) hits Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota should look up to the 2022 Cincinnati Bengals, who started their season 0-2, but rebounded to a 12-5 finish and an appearance in the AFC Championship Game.

How many 0-2 NFL teams won the Super Bowl?

It hasn’t happened in a while but there are three teams since 1990 who have started their season 0-2, and gone on to win the Super Bowl:

  • 1993 – Dallas Cowboys def. Buffalo Bills 30-13 (Super Bowl XXVIII)
  • 2001 – New England Patriots def. St. Louis Rams 20-17 (Super Bowl XXXVI)
  • 2007- New York Giants def. New England Patriots 17-14 (Super Bowl XLII)

What are the current chances that the Minnesota Vikings make the playoffs?

It would be easier to use 0-2 NFL history to figure out whether or not the Minnesota Vikings stand a chance at making the playoffs this season, if playoff formats and season length had remained the same.

Since it hasn’t, it’s worth looking at prediction models like the one at, which, as of Monday morning, gives the Vikings a 24% chance to make the postseason. Hell, a 1 in 4 chance isn’t too bad, right?

I understand if some Vikings fans are ready to give up on the season. But for those seeking hope, here’s to 24%.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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