Undefeated NFL Teams with Nice Odds in Futures Market

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 7:38 PM GMT

There are only seven unbeaten teams left as parity appears to have taken hold in the NFL. Here is a glance at each of the 2-0 clubs, their NFL odds to win their division and a best guess on playoff chances.

We all know how hard it is for 0-2 teams to make the NFL postseason (less than 12 percent). OK, then, how easy is it for clubs that start 2-0 to make it? The answer: Around 63 percent of them since the league expanded the playoff field in 1990.

 

Arizona Cardinals (+450 in NFC West at Bovada)
I am absolutely not sold on this team yet. The Cardinals rallied from 17-6 fourth-quarter deficit to edge the visiting San Diego Chargers in Week 1 and then from 14-10 down in the fourth quarter last week at the Giants in a 25-14 victory. In an unusual statistic, the Cards are the first team since the 1982 Packers to win its first two games after trailing entering the fourth quarter in both and not allowing a fourth-quarter point. The Cards defense was supposed to take a step back this year after losing three key guys off the 2013 No. 1-ranked run defense. But it's been great again, allowing just 66.5 rushing yards per game. That said, I believe the Cards lose at home to San Francisco on Sunday, especially if Drew Stanton starts for an injured Carson Palmer again. Arizona is still only the third-best team in the NFC West.

Playoff chances: 25 percent.

 

Buffalo Bills (+500 in AFC East)
Now this looks like a team that could be for real as Buffalo looks to end the longest playoff drought in the NFL. The talent was clearly there entering this season, but questions remained about second-year QB E.J. Manuel. He's not exactly lighting things up but is completing a solid 66.7 percent of his throws with just one turnover. That is all the Bills want him to do, manage the game. They have a good running game and defense. Buffalo is a slight favorite this week at home against San Diego and that's a tough game for the Bolts to win off beating Seattle and coming to the East Coast for an early start.

Playoff chances: 30 percent.

 

Carolina Panthers  (+150 in NFC South)
So far, I was vastly wrong on the Panthers. After losing their top three receivers and a handful of offensive linemen this offseason, I expected this team to have major regression from last year's 12 wins. However, the defense again looks like one of the best in the NFL. I do expect the NFL to intercede on the Greg Hardy mess and for the star defensive end to take a seat for a while. The team sat him Week 2 but with all the negative media surrounding Hardy, the league just can't let him play. His abuse of his ex-girlfriend was by all accounts worse than what Ray Rice did. And a judge already found Hardy guilty. So that will hurt a bit. It hugely helps Carolina's NFC South chances that the division-favored Saints have started 0-2. I expect the Cats to beat the visiting Steelers this week but lose their first game Week 4 at Baltimore. 

Playoff chances: 50 percent.


Cincinnati Bengals (-140 in AFC North)
So far so good on what I expected of the Bengals as I absolutely expected them to repeat as division champions. Cincinnati has looked as impressive as anyone in winning Week 1 at Baltimore and then thumping the visiting Falcons in Week 2. The Bengals also avoided potential disaster last week when star receiver A.J. Green left early with a foot injury. It's apparently not serious, although he's likely out this week vs. Tennessee and then the Bengals are on a bye. Cincinnati will beat the Titans without him.

Playoff chances: 90 percent.

 

Denver Broncos (-800 in AFC West)
I wouldn't say Denver has dominated, but the Broncos have taken care of business in their first two games, both at home, against 2013 playoff teams Indianapolis and Kansas City. Peyton Manning isn't putting up huge yardage yet but has thrown for three scores in each game. He could get Wes Welker back as soon as this week if the NFLPA and owners officially sign off on that new drug policy. That only makes the Denver offense better. However, expect loss No. 1 on Sunday at Seattle in the Super Bowl rematch. The AFC West is already over in my opinion.

Playoff chances: 100 percent if Manning stays healthy.

 

Houston Texans (+120 in AFC South)
Believe it or not, Houston started last season 2-0 as well before then dropping 14 straight games. The Texans' defense looks very solid and will only get better when rookie Jadeveon Clowney returns in four weeks or so. The running game has been good and should remain so as long as injury-prone Arian Foster stays on the field.  The Texans already have given him 55 carries, so he will break down if that continues. The main worry with this club was QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. He has only thrown for 345 yards but with three TDs and no picks. That will more than suffice. Houston also is beneficiary No. 1 of the Colts' 0-2 start.

Playoff chances: 40 percent.

 

Philadelphia Eagles (-275 in NFC East)
Are the Eagles lucky, good or both? They rallied from a 17-0 halftime deficit in Week 1 vs. Jacksonville and then from 20-6 down on Monday night at Indianapolis (Colts got robbed by refs on two late calls in that one). Philly is just the fourth team in the last 30 years to win consecutive games in which it trailed by 14 or more points in the second half. The Eagles are the first to start 2-0 in that scenario. Before placing NFL picks on divisions, think about the rest of the NFC East: The Giants are awful. The Redskins are on their backup QB. The Cowboys are average at best. I believe the Eagles would even be fine for a while if QB Nick Foles got hurt with how good Mark Sanchez looked in the preseason. Chip Kelly is a brilliant offensive coach.

Playoff chances: 80 percent.