NFL Odds: Will Any Team Go 0-17 or 17-0 Under New 17-Game Format?

Football fans can expect to see a little bit more action going forward. As of two weeks ago, the NFL has approved of a 17-game regular-season schedule beginning in 2021.

The 17-game format isn’t beloved by all so far. Some people welcome the extra game each season. Others think it’s pointless and exposes players to an unnecessary opportunity to get injured. Nevertheless, the 17-game NFL schedule is here to stay for the time being. That means that the door is open to new records.

In the league’s history, only two teams have had perfect regular seasons in the Super Bowl era: the 1972 Miami Dolphins (14-0) and 2007 New England Patriots (16-0). On the other side of the coin, four teams have gone winless in a season since 1967: the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-14), 1982 Baltimore Colts (0-8-1), 2008 Detroit Lions (0-16) and 2017 Cleveland Browns (0-16).

With a new number of games to be played, that begs the question: will an NFL team go 0-17 or 17-0 under the league’s new format?

Odds for an NFL Team to go 0-17 in 2021

Odds via BetOnline as of Wednesday, April 14

  • Yes +1400

At +1400, it seems like somewhat of a long shot for an NFL team to go winless in the upcoming season. The truth is that it’s incredibly difficult for a team to be that bad when they have 17 opportunities for at least a single victory. Look at history as an example. Only four teams have gone winless since 1967, which means it’s only happened in 7% of the last 55 seasons. It’s been close to happening to a few other teams, but that shows you how hard it is for a team to be that awful.

Take a look at the 2020 New York Jets. As the season progressed, there was serious talk that these Jets could’ve gone winless after starting off 0-13. However, they managed to score victories over the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns in the final two weeks to finish 2-14. There just seems to be too much parity in the NFL to consistently have 0-16 teams, let alone an 0-17 team. While you can never say never in this league, it might be a while until a team loses every game in the season again.

Will Any Team Go 17-0 in the 2021 Regular Season?

Odds via BetOnline as of Wednesday, April 14

  • Yes

According to BetOnline, it’s less likely (+1600) for a team to go 17-0 in the upcoming NFL season than it would to go 0-17. At the end of the day, that makes sense. Winning 17 games in a row in any sport is difficult. It’s even tougher in the NFL because of how close the top teams are to each other. The New England Patriots were the only team to ever go 16-0 in the regular season and the fact that only happened once shows how difficult it is to accomplish.

The Pittsburgh Steelers looked like they may have been able to do it in 2020, starting off the NFL season at 11-0. Unfortunately, the wheels fell off towards the end of the season and they wound up finishing 12-4.

Teams like the Kansas City Chiefs or Tampa Bay Buccaneers probably have the “best” shot at going 17-0, but they aren’t unbeatable. The salary cap era limits how good teams can become. As long as everyone is able to build a team with the same limitations, it’s unlikely that any organization will put together a 17-0-quality team any time soon.

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Devon Platana
After graduating with a Masters degree in Journalism, Devon joined USGS to improve his sports writing skills. As a lifelong sports fan, one of Devon’s favorite things to do is analyze statistics across all sports.