So, your team won just a few games last year… any chance of making the playoffs this year?

The Vikings won three games in 2011./AP

One of the cool things about my article about the Rams’ efforts to retool for 2012 came at the end. General manager Les Snead was talking about how he badly wants his team to win three games in a row, saying how that often indicates a winning season. And he also spoke of how many teams have turned things around, making the playoffs after a season with just two or three or four wins.

In the article was the math detailing exactly what Snead meant. There were some serious results. It’d be nice if I could take credit for it, but I really had nothing to do with it. Our  NFL Digital Media research czar Matt Pomeroy came up with all this cool stuff.

And you can tell, historically, what a team’s chances are of having such a rebound season.

I couldn’t use everything in the article, so I just mentioned how “67 percent of teams since 1990 that have won three in a row have had winning records, while 59 percent made the playoffs.” And I wrote that “10 teams that won four or fewer games since 2000 have made the playoffs the following season.

But there was so much more. I figured, since Matt sent me all these snazzy stats — and there are tons of fans of teams that were pretty crappy last year — you guys might want to know what history says about their chances to turn things around. If you’re interested in the Dolphins (six wins), Bills (six), Browns (four), Jaguars (five), Colts (two), Redskins (five), Vikings (three), Panthers (six), Bucs (four) and Rams (two), this may give you hope….

Check out how many teams have historically been able to turn it around since 2000:

Two teams since 2000 have won three or fewer games in a season and then made the playoffs the following season.
Team Losing Season Playoff Season
New Orleans Saints 2005 3-13 2006 10-6
Miami Dolphins 2007 1-15 2008 11-5

10 teams since 2000 have won four or fewer games in a season and then made the playoffs the following season.
Team Losing Season Playoff Season
San Diego Chargers 2003 4-12 2004 12-4
New Orleans Saints 2005 3-13 2006 10-6
New York Jets 2005 4-12 2006 10-6
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2006 4-12 2007 9-7
Atlanta Falcons 2007 4-12 2008 11-5
Miami Dolphins 2007 1-15 2008 11-5
Cincinnati Bengals 2008 4-11-1 2009 10-6
Kansas City Chiefs 2009 4-12 2010 10-6
Cincinnati Bengals 2010 4-12 2011 9-7
Denver Broncos 2010 4-12 2011 8-8

19 teams since 2000 have won five or fewer games in a season and then made the playoffs the following season.
Team Losing Season Playoff Season
Chicago Bears 2000 5-11 2001 13-3
New England Patriots 2000 5-11 2001 11-5
Dallas Cowboys 2002 5-11 2003 10-6
Atlanta Falcons 2003 5-11 2004 11-5
San Diego Chargers 2003 4-12 2004 12-4
Chicago Bears 2004 5-11 2005 11-5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2004 5-11 2005 11-5
New Orleans Saints 2005 3-13 2006 10-6
New York Jets 2005 4-12 2006 10-6
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2006 4-12 2007 9-7
Washington Redskins 2006 5-11 2007 9-7
Atlanta Falcons 2007 4-12 2008 11-5
Baltimore Ravens 2007 5-11 2008 11-5
Miami Dolphins 2007 1-15 2008 11-5
Cincinnati Bengals 2008 4-11-1 2009 10-6
Kansas City Chiefs 2009 4-12 2010 10-6
Seattle Seahawks 2009 5-11 2010 7-9
Cincinnati Bengals 2010 4-12 2011 9-7
Denver Broncos 2010 4-12 2011 8-8

31 teams since 2000 have won six or fewer games in a season and then made the playoffs the following season.
Team Losing Season Playoff Season
Chicago Bears 2000 5-11 2001 13-3
New England Patriots 2000 5-11 2001 11-5
San Francisco 49ers 2000 6-10 2001 12-4
Indianapolis Colts 2001 6-10 2002 10-6
Dallas Cowboys 2002 5-11 2003 10-6
Atlanta Falcons 2003 5-11 2004 11-5
New York Jets 2003 6-10 2004 10-6
Pittsburgh Steelers 2003 6-10 2004 15-1
San Diego Chargers 2003 4-12 2004 12-4
Chicago Bears 2004 5-11 2005 11-5
New York Giants 2004 6-10 2005 11-5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2004 5-11 2005 11-5
Washington Redskins 2004 6-10 2005 10-6
Baltimore Ravens 2005 6-10 2006 13-3
New Orleans Saints 2005 3-13 2006 10-6
New York Jets 2005 4-12 2006 10-6
Philadelphia Eagles 2005 6-10 2006 10-6
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2006 4-12 2007 9-7
Washington Redskins 2006 5-11 2007 9-7
Atlanta Falcons 2007 4-12 2008 11-5
Baltimore Ravens 2007 5-11 2008 11-5
Miami Dolphins 2007 1-15 2008 11-5
Cincinnati Bengals 2008 4-11-1 2009 10-6
Green Bay Packers 2008 6-10 2009 11-5
Kansas City Chiefs 2009 4-12 2010 10-6
Seattle Seahawks 2009 5-11 2010 7-9
Cincinnati Bengals 2010 4-12 2011 9-7
Denver Broncos 2010 4-12 2011 8-8
Detroit Lions 2010 6-10 2011 10-6
Houston Texans 2010 6-10 2011 10-6
San Francisco 49ers 2010 6-10 2011 13-3

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