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Week 1 Fades - Falcons, Raiders
The NFL preseason has often been called “meaningless” and many pundits ignore the records in August because they rarely carry over into the regular season, especially the teams that finish unbeaten.

Dating back to the 2005 season, we’ve seen 23 teams produce an unbeaten record in the preseason. In the 2016 exhibition season, there were four teams that went 4-0 and only one of those teams made the playoffs.

That club was Houston, who finished 9-7 and captured the AFC South. Baltimore (8-8) and Minnesota came up short with .500 records while Philadelphia faded to a 7-9 mark.

Since 2005, the 23 teams with 4-0 preseason records have combined to go 173-195 (47%) straight up in the regular season.

Heading into the 2017 season, we have four teams that posted winning records. The quartet features Baltimore and Cleveland from the AFC North, Denver and Seattle.

While perfection in August hasn’t translated into consistent records year-over-year in the fall, the same can be said for teams that go winless.

Losing all of your preseason games is never a good thing and the records don’t lie.

Winless Preseason Teams (2006-2016)
Season Team Regular Season Record Playoff Result
2006 Pittsburgh Steelers 8-8 -
2006 Washington Redskins 5-11 -
2007 Arizona Cardinals 8-8 -
2007 Kansas City Chiefs 4-12 -
2008 Cleveland Browns 4-12 -
2008 New England Patriots 11-5 -
2009 Arizona Cardinals 10-6 Lost in the NFC Divisional Round
2009 Carolina Panthers 8-8 -
2009 Kansas City Chiefs 4-12 -
2010 Chicago Bears 11-5 Lost in the NFC Championship
2010 Indianapolis Colts 10-6 Lost in the AFC Wild Card Round
2011 Atlanta Falcons 10-6 Lost in the NFC Wild Card Round
2011 Kansas City Chiefs 7-9 -
2011 Oakland Raiders 8-8 -
2012 Buffalo Bills 6-10 -
2012 Miami Dolphins 7-9 -
2012 New York Jets 6-10 -
2013 Pittsburgh Steelers 8-8 -
2013 Atlanta Falcons 4-12 -
2014 Dallas Cowboys 12-4 Lost in the NFC Divisional Round
2014 Indianapolis Colts 11-5 Lost in the AFC Championship
2015 New Orleans Saints 7-9 -
2015 St. Louis Rams 7-9 -
2016 New Orleans Saints 7-9 -
2016 Cleveland Browns 1-15 -

In the last 11 seasons, we’ve seen 25 teams go winless in the preseason with a 0-4 record. Only seven of those teams managed to produce a winning record in the regular season and just six of them reached the playoffs.

This year’s winless group includes Oakland and Atlanta, who both went 0-4.

Looking at the NFL futures market, the oddsmakers have high expectations for both of these clubs and they both made the postseason last year. Even though the Falcons were in the Super Bowl last season, history isn't exactly on their side. Only 57 percent of SB runner-ups have made a return trip to the playoffs.

While forecasting futures is fun, we dug into the numbers deeper and checked out how winless teams played in Week 1 of the season.

The results (listed below) weren’t great as the winless teams saw their struggles carry over to their opening matchup.

Going back six seasons, winless preseason teams have produced a 4-12 (25%) record both straight up and against the spread.

Atlanta and Oakland will both begin the regular season on the road as the Falcons visit Chicago while the Raiders travel to Tennessee.

A large part of the success from the Falcons and Raiders last year came on the road as the pair both posted 6-2 records away from home. Based on this angle, bettors might be hesitant to back these clubs as visitors this season.

2016 (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS)
Cleveland (Lost 10-29 at Philadelphia, +9.5)
New Orleans (Lost 35-34 vs. Oakland, -3)

2015 (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)
New Orleans (Lost 31-19 at Arizona, +2)
St. Louis (Won 34-31 vs. Seattle, +3.5)

2014 (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Dallas (Lost 28-17 vs. San Francisco, +3.5)
Indianapolis (Lost 24-31 at Denver, +8)

2013 (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS)
Pittsburgh (Lost 16-9 vs. Tennessee, -6)
Atlanta (Lost 23-17 at New Orleans, +3.5)

2012 (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS)
N.Y. Jets (Won 48-28 vs. Buffalo -3)
Buffalo (Lost 28-48 at N.Y. Jets +3)
Miami (Lost 30-10 at Houston +13)

2011 (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS)
Oakland (Won 23-20 at Denver, +3)
Kansas City (Lost 41-7 vs. Buffalo, +3.5)
Atlanta (Lost 30-12 at Chicago, +1)

2010 (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS)
Indianapolis (Lost 34-24 at Houston -1.5)
Chicago (Won 19-14 vs. Detroit -6.5)

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