There is no such things as a must win game in the second week of the season. The Jets’ victory over the Bills on Thursday was an important one, however, based on past trends.
Five Thirty Eight compiled the average win totals of teams with a given record at each point of the season. Teams that start the season 1-1 average 8.2 wins on the season. Teams that start 0-2 average 5.7 wins. That 2.5 win difference is the biggest swing for any single result of any game at any record.
There also is this matter.
Percent of Teams with these W-L records to make NFL playoffs (since 1990)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 19, 2016
A fast start doesn’t necessarily guarantee a successful season. A slow start virtually guarantees an unsuccessful season, though.
I know the response I usually get is that each team is individual and that past results don’t guarantee the future. That is all true if we are talking about definitive guarantees. There are always exceptions.
The trends are trends for a reason, though. They can’t take wins away from you, and you can’t get losses back.
Let’s say you have to go 10-6 to make the Playoffs. Start 0-2, and that means you need to be 10-4 the rest of the way. That is not easy to do.