We’re through four weeks of the 2020 NFL season, and four teams still haven’t won a game. When will they each win a game, if they will win one at all?
Here’s our best shot at predicting the first win for each winless team:
Atlanta’s losses in Weeks 2 and 3 were well-documented, hard-to-believe collapses against the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears.
The Falcons had a 99.9% win probability against the Cowboys and lost.
The Falcons had a 99.6% win probability against the Bears and lost.
Back to back weeks. pic.twitter.com/RoBag3lnHU
— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) September 27, 2020
Their other two losses came against what have been the NFC’s best teams, in the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers.
The Falcons are far from a good team, but they aren’t this bad either. Yes, their defense is bad and has injuries left and right. But an offense featuring Matt Ryan, Julio Jones (who’s finally getting healthy), Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst, and Todd Gurley should be good enough to carry Atlanta to at least a few wins.
And perhaps sooner than later, with several winnable games coming up in Weeks 5-9: vs Carolina Panthers, at Minnesota Vikings, vs Detroit Lions, at Carolina Panthers, vs Denver Broncos.
The Panthers are coming off two straight victories, including a very impressive 31-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4. However, these teams are pretty even on paper, and Christian McCaffrey is still out for at least one more week. The Falcons are overdue for some better luck.
The verdict: Week 5 vs the Carolina Panthers.
The Texans fired head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien on Monday, one day after losing 31-23 to a Minnesota Vikings team that also entered Sunday winless. It’s not surprising that the Texans are disappointing after O’Brien’s very questionable offseason as general manager. Additionally, he had “lost the team” in recent weeks, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
I spoke with sources in Houston and they tell me two weeks ago is when it really started to fall apart. One source said “that’s when OB lost the team”
The offense was beyond frustrated and it even turned into a verbal blowup at practice. #Texans
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) October 5, 2020
One player just told me “there’s actually a feeling of relief in Houston. Not that O’Brien is not a great guy, he was losing our trust and confidence…maybe even lost all of it” #Texans
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) October 5, 2020
The Texans are coming off seasons of 11 wins (2018) and 10 wins (2019). They’re not as good as the past two years, but the O’Brien mess and their rough schedule — Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Vikings — have made the Texans look much worse than they are in reality. After all, they still have Deshaun Watson at the most important position in sports.
Look for the Texans to get into the win column this week at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars. If they don’t, their first win may not come for a while; they have to travel to Tennessee to play the Titans in Week 6 and host the Packers in Week 7, before having a Bye in Week 8.
The verdict: Week 5 vs the Jacksonville Jaguars.
New York Giants
Now we get to the New York teams, where there’s a pretty clear talent drop-off. The Giants lost their best player for the season when running back Saquon Barkley tore his ACL in Week 2. Daniel Jones is a promising second-year quarterback, but he has a long way to go and doesn’t have a whole lot of help on this team. Over the last three games, the Giants scored a total of 31 points, topping out at 13.
It’s hard to see the Giants winning more than a few games, but then again they’re playing in a division where the first-place team has one win, and they have still haven’t played any of those teams. And they may be as good as one of those squads, the Washington Football Team.
The verdict: Week 6 vs the Washington Football Team.
New York Jets
As we wrote following their embarrassing Thursday night loss to a Denver Broncos team that started Brett Rypien at quarterback, it’s entirely possible that the Jets don’t win a single game. 0-16 is absolutely on the table. This team is awful, and most of their fans (and potentially even the front office, provided they aren’t fired themselves) are more interested in trying to get Trevor Lawrence than trying to win football games at this point.
And their schedule is rough, especially when you consider how difficult it will be for them vs *any* opponent.
They’re a seven-point underdog in a Week 5 home game against the Arizona Cardinals, then travel to Los Angeles to face impressive rookie quarterback Justin Herbert and the Chargers (who almost took down the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay on Sunday), then host the 4-0 Buffalo Bills, then face the Chiefs in Kansas City for what should be a total massacre, and then host the New England Patriots. You never know in the NFL, but it would be a surprise if the Jets won any of these games.
Their best chances on paper are definitely in Week 10 and 12 (with their Bye in between) against the Miami Dolphins, who still look a class above the Jets. Now, it’s very possible that rookie Tua Tagovailoa starts at quarterback by then, and it’s easy to see him having some early struggles that would make the Dolphins easier to beat short-term than they are with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Odds are still that the Jets somehow find a way to win a football game in 2020, even if that may seem unlikely entering each game (and *very* unlikely for many of the games).
The verdict: Week 12 vs the Miami Dolphins.