Nine NFL teams have started the year 2-0, which is the most in any season since 2009. But there's a difference between a 2-0 team that has won close twice, such as Atlanta, and a 2-0 team that has dominated both opponents, such as ... wait, this can't be right ... the New York Jets? Actually, yes, the New York Jets.
Are the Jets for real as a serious playoff contender? What about the other 2-0 teams? Let's take a look at each one, along with the team's current odds of making the playoffs according to the Football Outsiders playoff odds report both now and in the preseason.
Important note: This analysis frequently mentions Football Outsiders' DVOA ratings, explained here. But we should point out that the opponent adjustments are not included in DVOA yet, because it is so early in the season. And that becomes a big issue in trying to figure out what to think of our nine 2-0 teams.
76.3 percent playoff odds, up from 18.3 percent
We wrote before the season that the Cardinals were the strongest candidate of any team to decline in 2015. Oops.
Last year, despite their 11-5 record, the Cardinals ranked only 22nd in the Football Outsiders' DVOA ratings. This year, the Cardinals are the No. 1 team through two weeks. Last year, the Cardinals built up their 11-5 record with close wins. This year, Arizona dominated New Orleans more than the 31-19 final score would otherwise indicate, then went to Chicago and brutalized the Bears by a final score of 48-23.
According to DVOA, Arizona has been 85 percent better than average in its first two games, making it the best team through Week 2 since the 2007 Patriots. Except ... that rating isn't adjusted yet to account for Arizona's opponents. Even when we thought Arizona was an average team before the season, these were still two games our simulations gave them a good chance to win. And while the Cardinals easily handled the Saints and Bears, so did Tampa Bay and Green Bay, respectively. New Orleans is a mess right now, and Chicago is worse. A dominating win over a bad team is often an indicator of a strong team, but not always. Ask yourself what we learned about Washington a year ago when it beat Jacksonville 41-10 in Week 2.