Has any NFL team made the playoffs after starting 0-3? Here's what history tells us

These four teams have mountains to climb if they hope to make the postseason in 2023

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Every NFL team enters a new season with some form of hope.

But dreams can quickly fade, especially if the opening weeks don’t go according to plan.

For four franchises, the first three weeks of the season have all ended in defeat. Luckily for them, there’s still plenty of season to go and postseason dreams aren’t dead just yet. There’s certainly no margin for error left, though.

Here’s a look at what the numbers say about teams that start the season 0-3:

What NFL teams are still winless in 2023?

Four teams have started the season 0-3:

  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Denver Broncos
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Chicago Bears

The 0-2 Cincinnati Bengals face the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night as they look to avoid joining that list.

Has an 0-3 team ever made the NFL playoffs?


The last 0-3 team to make the postseason was the 2018 Houston Texans. Since the league expanded to a 17-game regular season schedule in 2021, the feat has not been accomplished.

How many NFL teams have made playoffs after 0-3?

Since 1979, six teams have overcome an 0-3 start to make the postseason. Here’s a look at each instance:

1. 1981 New York Jets: Started 0-3, fell to 1-3-1, finished at 10-5-1, lost in the wild card round

2. 1982 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Started 0-3, finished 5-4 in strike-shortened season, lost in wild card round

3. 1992 San Diego Chargers: Started 0-3, fell to 0-4, finished 11-5, won the AFC West, won in the wild card round, lost in the divisional round

4. 1995: Detroit Lions: Started 0-3, fell to 3-6, finished 10-6, lost in the wild card round

5. 1998 Buffalo Bills: Started 0-3, finished 10-6, lost in the wild card round

6. 2018 Houston Texans: Started 0-3, finished 11-5, won the AFC South, lost in the wild card round

What are the odds of a 0-3 NFL team going to the playoffs?

Dating back to 1990, just four of 158 teams to start 0-3 make the postseason (2.5%). Just two of those 158 won their division (1.3%) and none won the Super Bowl.

Has a 0-4 NFL team made the playoffs?

Yes – only one, the 1992 Chargers. 

That team, led by quarterback Stan Humphries, is the only one to win a playoff game after starting 0-3 since 1979. They started 0-4 before rattling off 11 victories in 12 games to finish the regular season and win the AFC West.

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