Through 10 weeks, the Packers were 4-6 with a -29 points differential, 8th-worst in the NFL. If Green Bay wins today, the Packers will become the 5th team to make the Super Bowl after being 2 games below .500 at any point during the season.
- In 1993, Emmitt Smith famously held out during the first two weeks of the season; Dallas lost both of those games (and a third game in November in which Smith left due to injury after just one carry), beginning the season 0-2. The Cowboys went on to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
- In 1996, the Patriots began the season with road losses to Buffalo and Miami. New England wasn’t a great team that year, but finished 11-5, and a Jaguars upset in Mile High cleared the path for the Patriots to make it to the Super Bowl.
- Five years later, the Patriots again began the season 0-2, with Drew Bledsoe of course being injured in the second game of the season. Enter Tom Brady, who won his first game but lost his second, meaning the Patriots were against two games under .500 at 1-3 after four games. New England, of course, won the franchise’s first Super Bowl that season.
- In ’07, the Patriots lost the Super Bowl to a Giants team that started the year 0-2 with two losses. New York allowed 80 points in those games, but it turned out to be a bit of a scheduling issue: those games came against the 13-3 Cowboys and 13-3 Packers, teams the Giants later beat in the playoffs.
The Packers would be a bit of a different case, of course, as 4-6 is different than 0-2 (although I’m not sure which is more “impressive” to come back from). The latest in a season a Super Bowl team was under .500? The 1979 Rams were 5-6 after 11 games, which means the Packers would “tie” this record if Green Bay wins today. What about Super Bowl champions? Well, that would be the ’01 Patriots, at 3-4 after 7 games; so if the Packers win two more games, they would set that record.
What about points differential? The nadir for the Packers was at -29; you may be surprised to learn that five Super Bowl participants were worse.
- The 1979 Rams were at -30 through 9 games;
- The 2003 Patriots were at -31 after one game;
- The 2007 Giants were at -32 after two games;
- The 2011 Giants were at -38 after 14 games!
- The 1970 Cowboys were at -39 after 9 games.
Green Bay still had a negative points differential (-7) after 12 games, which would make them the 5th Super Bowl team that could make that claim.
- The 1979 Rams were at -4 after 12 games;
- The 2003 Panthers were at -1 after 13 games;
- The 2008 Cardinals were at -12 after 15 games; and
- The 2011 Giants, the only champion on this list, had a negative points differential for the season after 12 (-28), 13 (-25), 14 (-38), 15 (-23), and 16 (-6) games.
As always, please leave your thoughts in the comments.