The NFL just began but eyes are on the big game in Minnesota. Who do you think has the best betting odds to win Super Bowl? That question probably sounds a little premature. Only a few games have been played thus far.
Then again, there is so much that can be inferred from the first two or three games of the season if you know what to look for.
At such an early stage in the new season, it helps to look at the manner in which teams are kicking off their campaigns. It technically doesn’t matter how poorly you start. A team that starts with a 0-2 record could easily dominate for the rest of the season.
But it is always better to start 2-0 than 0-2. The majority of teams that start 0-2 never achieve their playoff dreams. In fact, only 12 percent of those 0-2 teams have struck playoff gold since 1990.
Of course, some teams have extenuating circumstances that might have led them to start 0-2. The Indianapolis Colts, for example, have had to proceed without Andrew Luck or Ryan Kelly. That means things could change in the near future if those two athletes return to the field. So it wouldn’t make sense to count the Colts out of playoff contention just because they are 0-2.
The Colts are actually a great example of why it doesn’t pay to judge a season based on the first few games. The Colts might be 0-2 but they also have a very easy schedule ahead, which means their chances of bouncing back are very high.
On the other hand, it is difficult for Denver Broncos’ fans to celebrate their 2-0 record when the team has the most difficult string of matches waiting ahead. Teams with the easiest schedules tend to go the long haul.
Sure, it is a little difficult to imagine the Colts reclaiming their 2014 glory by reaching the AFC title game but their easy schedule makes that a great possibility.
The biggest obstacle to accurately predicting a team’s success using the first couple of games is the presence of rookies and sophomores, especially quarterbacks. It takes time to break in a new quarterback. The position has a lot of responsibility and rookies rarely get the time they need to adjust from a college football mindset to a professional football mentality.
On the one hand, you have quarterbacks who will genuinely break under the weight, dragging their teams down with them. On the other hand, some rookie quarterbacks will shine brighter than they ever did in college. Rookies are such an unpredictable factor. You never know which direction they will sway.
But that is the fun of the game, though not for players and coaches.
At the end of the day, it is generally expected that the Patriots, the Seahawks, and the Steelers will be in the playoffs. There is no denying the dominance those sides will most likely bring to bear this season.
The Patriots, in particular, understand the importance of focusing on their next game and never looking behind or even too far forward. That focus will take them far.
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