Data Points: Importance of a good start

The 2011 kickoff is finally here, as the Saints and Packers begin the season Thursday night in Green Bay. Seems like a good time to remind everyone the importance of winning the first game of the season. More to the point: the importance of not losing the first game.

In 2010, eight of the 12 division winners won their Week 1 games. The Colts were the only division winner to lose in Week 1 to a non-playoff team. Four teams overall did make it to the playoffs last season despite starting 0-1, but the odds are a little tougher. Since 1990, only 45 out of 321 teams to start 0-1 went on to win their division. That’s a paltry 14 percent. Doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but you get the picture. Here is the breakdown of teams making or missing the playoffs since 1990 based on their Week 1 results:

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