If Commanders Start 3-0, How Would Their Playoff Chances Look?

If Commanders Start 3-0, How Would Their Playoff Chances Look?
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

The Washington Commanders playoff chances certainly have gotten a boost with their 2-0 start. Coach Ron Rivera’s team faces a tough challenge this weekend against the Buffalo Bills, but a potential 3-0 start is in the balance.

Recent history shows that, though it’s no guarantee, a team that wins its first three games is very likely to make the playoffs and has a decent chance of doing some damage while in the postseason. BetVirginia compiled a list of every team to start 3-0 since 2018 and how they fared for the rest of the regular season and beyond.

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How NFL Teams Starting 3-0 Finish

Year Team Final Record/Result
2022 Philadelphia Eagles 14-3, Lost in Super Bowl
2022 Miami Dolphins 9-8, Lost in AFC Wild Card Round
2021 Arizona Cardinals 11-6; Lost in NFC Wild Card Round
2021 Denver Broncos 7-10; Missed Playoffs
2021 Carolina Panthers 5-12; Missed Playoffs
2021 Los Angeles Rams 12-5; Won Super Bowl
2021 Las Vegas Raiders 10-7; Lost in AFC Wild Card Round
2020 Green Bay Packers 13-3; Lost in NFC Championship Game
2020 Kansas City Chiefs 14-2; Lost in Super Bowl
2020 Seattle Seahawks 12-4; Lost in NFC Wild Card Round
2020 Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4; Lost in AFC Wild Card Round
2020 Chicago Bears 8-8; Lost in NFC Wild Card Round
2020 Buffalo Bills 13-3; Lost in AFC Championship Game
2020 Tennessee Titans 11-5; Lost in AFC Wild Card Game
2019 New England Patriots 12-4; Lost in AFC Wild Card Game
2019 Dallas Cowboys 8-8; Missed Playoffs
2019 San Francisco 49ers 13-3; Lost in Super Bowl
2019 Kansas City Chiefs 12-4; Won Super Bowl
2019 Los Angeles Rams 9-7; Missed Playoffs
2019 Green Bay Packers 13-3; Lost in NFC Championship Game
2019 Buffalo Bills 10-6; Lost in AFC Wild Card Game
2018 Los Angeles Rams 13-3; Lost in Super Bowl
2018 Kansas City Chiefs 12-4; Lost in AFC Championship Game
2018 Miami Dolphins 7-9; Missed Playoffs

Recent History Encouraging For Commanders

BetVirginia, as part of its Virginia sportsbooks coverage, delved into the recent history (in the past five seasons) of NFL teams starting 3-0. As you can see from the chart, it’s usually a strong indicator of a team on its way to good things.

There have been 24 teams to win their first three games since the 2018 season. Of those, 20 went on to reach the playoffs, or 83.3%. Again, it’s not a guarantee, but a pretty strong indicator.

And in that span, 41.7% of teams that started 3-0 won at least one playoff game to reach the conference championship round, with six of those teams getting to the Super Bowl. Research came from ChampsorChumps.com.

But there are a few cautionary tales on our list. As recently as 2021, two teams that started 3-0 – the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers – both missed the playoffs. You can track the Washington Commanders Super Bowl odds all season at BetVirginia.com.

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Commanders Vs. Bills Odds

Washington, which last started 2-0 in 2011, aims to win its first three games in a season for the first time since 2005. The Commanders began this season by rallying for victory twice; they entered the fourth quarter trailing in their home opener against the Arizona Cardinals and again this past Sunday in Denver.

Getting off to a 3-0 start this season will be a challenge. The Bills come into FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, with a 1-1 record. But despite having a worse start than Washington, and being the visitor for Sunday’s 1 p.m. Eastern start, Buffalo is favored by 6.5 points at various Virginia sports betting apps.

But there’s reason to think Washington can make life difficult for Buffalo. The Commanders defense ranked fourth in fewest passing yards allowed in 2022 and ranks No. 12 in that category through two games this year. Washington, led by star defensive lineman Chase Young, also is tied for the league lead with 10 sacks.

And the offense has gotten a boost from young quarterback Sam Howell, who has 501 passing yards and is 46-of-70 (a 65.1% completion percentage) with three touchdowns. Perhaps most crucially, Howell, a fifth-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, only has one interception. On Sunday, a day after he turned 23, Howell threw for 299 yards and two scores to lead a comeback from a 21-3 deficit in Washington’s 35-33 victory against the Broncos.

The BetMGM Virginia Sportsbook had Washington at +8000 odds to win the Super Bowl just before the season and, despite the team’s 2-0 start, that number has not moved as of Wednesday morning.



Jim Tomlin has nearly 30 years of experience in journalism, having worked at such publications as the Tampa Bay Times, FanRag, Saturdays Down South and Saturday Tradition. He is a contributing writer and editor for BetVirginia.com.

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