All five rank in the top 10 in this week’s power rankings.
But will all five of these teams be around after Jan. 1 when only the top-12 teams in the NFL are still playing? Recent history suggests that will not be the case. Over the last five seasons, at least one team that started 3-0 failed to make the playoffs in each season.
Let’s use ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) simulations as a guide and look at which of these five teams is least likely to make the postseason.
Ravens: 52 percent chance to make the playoffs
FPI rank: No. 21
Baltimore is the only team in this group that ranks outside of FPI's top-seven teams in the NFL, and they are all the way down at 21.
Their three wins have come by a combined 13 points. That’s the third-lowest points differential for a 3-0 team in the last 15 seasons. Only the 2005 Washington Redskins (plus-six) and the 2004 Jacksonville Jaguars (plus-seven) had lower point differentials in their 3-0 starts.
The Ravens’ wins have been over the Buffalo Bills (No. 13 in FPI), Cleveland Browns (No. 32) and Jaguars (No. 28). They trailed Cleveland by as many as 20 points and needed to block a Jacksonville field goal before Justin Tucker’s game-winner with just over a minute to go Sunday.
Baltimore is the FPI favorite at home in Weeks 4 and 5 against the Oakland Raiders and the Redskins, but their schedule gets much tougher after that. They are the favorites in just three of their final 11 games and close the season at New England, versus Philadelphia, at Pittsburgh and at Cincinnati.
Eagles: 82 percent chance to make the playoffs
FPI rank: No. 7
FPI’s preseason simulations had the Eagles making the playoffs 14 percent of the time, the fourth-lowest percentage in the NFL.
Three weeks later they rank second in points scored, first in points allowed, and seventh in FPI. Their 82 percent chance to make the playoffs ranks fifth in the NFL.
Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz is off to an incredible start. His 102 pass attempts without an interception rank second in NFL history through a player’s first three career games, according to Elias Sports Bureau research.
The Eagles’ defense has allowed 27 points through three weeks, tied for their fewest through three games since they allowed 16 points through three games in 1980. Philadelphia ranks second in defensive efficiency behind the Vikings.
Broncos: 87 percent chance to make the playoffs
FPI rank: No. 2
Denver has FPI’s No. 3 ranked defense and a very easy schedule moving forward. They are the FPI favorites in all but one of their 13 remaining games (Week 16 at the Kansas City Chiefs).
Vikings: 92 percent chance to make the playoffs
FPI rank: No. 5
As Bill Barnwell noted on Monday, great play on the defensive side of the ball is what the five 3-0 teams have in common. The Vikings might have the best defense in that group.
They have added over 26 points to the team’s expected total, nearly twice as many expected points as the Eagles, who rank second on that list with 14.
Minnesota has allowed an NFL-low 4.4 yards per play this season.
Patriots: 94 percent chance to make the playoffs
FPI rank: No. 1
New England has one more game left before they get Tom Brady back from a suspension, and it’s at home against the Bills. The Patriots are 27-3 against the Bills since the start of the 2001 season, including 14-1 at home. The lone home loss during that span came in Week 17 of the 2014 season after New England had already locked up the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
Like the Broncos, the Patriots are FPI favorites in 12 of their 13 games moving forward. FPI gives the Broncos a 59 percent chance to beat the Patriots in Denver in Week 15.
The Patriots have the best chances of making the playoffs (94 percent) and winning the Super Bowl (21 percent), according to FPI.
There is a 21 percent chance they get Brady back with a three-game lead in the AFC East, according to FPI.