From 0-2 to playoffs? Not without a fix

Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

The Saints have a better chance of making playoffs at 0-3 than either the Chiefs or Colts at 1-2.“Winless” is never a good adjective for a team, but being winless through Week 2 doesn’t ruin a season. Since 1990, 12 percent of teams to start 0-2 have made the playoffs.

Week 3 is critical for an 0-2 team. Of the 288 teams to make the playoffs since the Wild Card was introduced in 1990, only three started 0-3 (the 1992 Chargers, 1995 Lions and 1998 Bills). No team has made the playoffs after starting 0-3 in the last 15 years.

Three playoff teams from last season are a surprising 0-2, putting a repeat postseason trip in early jeopardy. The Chiefs, Colts and Saints are all winless this year, and simulations from numberFire.com show trouble for all three even with a Week 3 win.

But one team in the trio is given a much stronger chance to advance. Here’s the impact Week 3 has on playoff hopes, and one thing each team needs to do to get back to the playoffs.

Chiefs (make playoffs in 12.6 percent of simulations at 0-2)

Make playoffs at 1-2: 18.8 percent

Make playoffs at 0-3: 7.0 percent

What to do? Improve the pass coverage. A two-game sample that includes the Broncos will hurt any defensive measures, but Jake Locker went 22-of-33 for 266 yards and two touchdowns against the Chiefs in Week 1.

Chiefs Pass Defense

The Chiefs pass rush hasn’t had a chance to make an impact.

Kansas City has sacked and pressured quarterbacks on a higher percentage of dropbacks this year than last year, even though their opponents are getting rid of the ball at the second-fastest rate in the league.

Part of that is facing Peyton Manning, but Locker released the ball three-tenths of a second faster than what the Chiefs faced on average in 2013.

Colts (make playoffs in 14.4 percent of simulations at 0-2)

Make playoffs at 1-2: 17.0 percent

Make playoffs at 0-3: 8.4 percent

What to do? Reverse the turnover trend. The Colts have struggled with preventing and forcing turnovers this season, and Indianapolis’ minus three turnover margin is tied for the third worst in the league. The Colts’ defense forced 27 turnovers in 16 games last year, but has one this season.

Since the start of 2013, the Colts are 0-5 in games with a negative turnover margin, including both losses this year. Indianapolis is undefeated (13-0) when winning the turnover battle since drafting Andrew Luck in 2012. This season, Luck has thrown interceptions on 3.4 percent of passes, more than doubling his percentage from a year ago (1.6 percent).

Saints (make playoffs in 33.3 percent of simulations at 0-2)

Make playoffs at 1-2: 37.8 percent

Make playoffs at 0-3: 22.3 percent

Saints Defense This Season

What to do? Give the offense some help. The projections give New Orleans the best chance of the three to reach the playoffs.

In fact, numberFire.com has the Saints more likely to reach the playoffs at 0-3 than either the Chiefs or the Colts at 1-2.

The offense has been clicking, but there are problems everywhere else.

The Saints defense and special teams have combined for a league-worst -34.0 efficiency. Only the Jaguars (75) have allowed more points than the Saints (63) this season.