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Which NFL team can least afford 0-2 start?

Chiefs have issues

Dan Pompei

Chicago Tribune

The Chiefs really need a win over the Lions.

Kansas City was coming off a 10-win season and was supposed to take the next step in Todd Haley's third year. They were favored to beat the Bills at home and instead were shellacked 41-7.

They also lost safety Eric Berry, one of the better players on the roster.

If the Chiefs start out 0-2, the chances of starting out 0-3 are pretty good, because their next game is in San Diego. The Chiefs were winless in the preseason, so this team doesn't even know what a victory feels like. They need a win in order to restore their confidence. They also need a win to stay in contention in the division with the Chargers and Raiders.

Dolphins in hot water

Dave Hyde

Sun Sentinel

Can any 0-1 team be staring at more 0-2 issues than the Dolphins?

The New York Giants' season would be in trouble at 0-2. The Dallas fan base would be in an uproar at 0-2. Jacksonville or Denver might have coaching, quarterback or ownership questions at 0-2.

The Dolphins would have all those and more if they lose against Houston in a second home game. They told you this after losing to heavyweight New England by firing cornerback Benny Sapp. Anyone else get fired after the first week?

At 0-2, the Dolphins season wouldn't be over. They would be staring at the third week in more trouble than any other team, though.

Steelers need confidence

Sam Farmer

Los Angeles Times

The Steelers can least afford to go 0-2, and not just because Baltimore would likely already have a two-game lead (and a head-to-head victory) heading into Week 3.

If the Steelers were to drop to 0-2, that would mean they lost at home to Seattle, which on paper is a vastly inferior team. It would be a huge blow to the confidence of the Steelers to lose that game, and it doesn't help that the Ravens have the AFC's weakest strength of schedule, facing teams that were a combined 117-139 (.457) in 2010.

Pittsburgh has battled back from 0-2 starts before, so salvaging a season would certainly be within reach. But who would want to start the season in that hole?

Falcons face headwind

Kevin Van


Baltimore Sun

The Falcons seemed to be everyone's darkhorse Super Bowl pick in 2011, but if they lose this Sunday to the Eagles and fall to 0-2, it could be cause for serious concern.

This is the year the Falcons were supposedly going to ditch their ball-control, conservative offensive approach and let Matt Ryan unleash his talent. But against the Bears, their revamped attack looked like a bit of a dud. A defensive lineman — Kroy Biermann — was responsible for their only touchdown.

If you go back to last year's playoffs, the Falcons have now been blown out in their last two games. Losing to the Eagles, and to Michael Vick, might send this team into a mental tailspin that would be hard to escape.

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