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Because an NFL season is just 16 games long, every game carries an inordinate weight in determining a team’s playoff odds, so jumping out to 1-0 is a very good thing.
Every year, 12 out of 32 teams make the NFL playoffs. Which means that prior to Week 1, each NFL team had a 12 out of 32 chance (38%) of making the playoffs.
But those odds went out the window with the season openers. Because an NFL season is just 16 games long, every game carries an inordinate weight in determining a team’s playoff odds. And as a result, playoff odds have shifted significantly from the 38% all teams shared before kickoff weekend.
Since realignment in 2002, 50% of the teams (135 of 272 teams) that won their season opener also made the playoffs. Conversely, only 25% of the teams that lost their season opener (69 of 272) eventually made the playoffs over the same period.
The table below summarizes what the historic playoff odds look like over the first nine games of the season, depending on a team’s record at any given time.