NFL: Which teams will remain unbeaten and winless the longest?
Four NFL teams remain unbeaten, and only one of them -- the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers -- made the playoffs last year. The others are pretty big surprises: the Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins (2-0 heading into Monday night's game against Dallas).
Five teams have yet to win a game, including the 2010 playoff teams Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts. The others are the Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings.
Writers from around the Tribune Co. debate which teams will remain unbeaten and winless the longest. Check back throughout the day for more responses. And feel free to join the discussion by voting in the polls and leaving a comment explaining yourself.
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times
Green Bay will stay unbeaten the longest. Even with some tough games coming up -- at Atlanta in Week 5 and at San Diego in Week 9 -- the Packers will have a slightly easier go of it than Buffalo and Detroit.
The Bills and Lions have had to dig themselves out of deep holes in games, too, and they won't be able to do that every week. Detroit, in particular, has a difficult stretch coming up, playing at Dallas on Sunday and then facing Atlanta and Chicago (twice) over the following five games.
As for the team that will stay winless the longest, Indianapolis is in the best position for that, especially if Kerry Collins misses starts with his concussion. The Colts have two softer games coming up -- Kansas City in Week 5 and at Cincinnati in Week 6 -- but with the way Curtis Painter was firing bounce passes to his receivers against Pittsburgh, neither of those games looks particularly winnable.
The Packers have begun the 2011 season the way they ended the 2010 season, as the best team in football. They should put together the longest win streak at the start of the season. They already survived two of the most difficult games on their schedule, beating the Saints on opening night and taking it to the Bears on the road.
The Colts have a few games in their near future against teams with losing records, and they gave the Steelers a run Sunday night. So they will have a chance to get a win. But this team has no idea how to win without Peyton Manning, and the chances are good that they will be winless longer than any other team. Hearing that Manning could be out for the season might drain the life and fight from this team even further.
Steve Svekis, South Florida Sun Sentinel
Green Bay looks unstoppable, with major contributors on offense who barely played last year due to injury (Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant). Three hurdles stand out: Week 9 in San Diego, at Detroit on Thanksgiving for the Pack's third game in 10 days, and the week after that in the Meadowlands against the Giants.
Of course, the uberathletic Lions could also be unbeaten when Turkey Day rolls around, but Green Bay is still the class of the NFL.
On the other side, none of the winless teams have a brutal schedule upcoming. Kansas City looks like the worst team, but they have 0-3 Minnesota at home and then visit 0-3 Indianapolis in consecutive weeks. The Chiefs are the choice.
Photo: Green Bay's Jermichael Finley catches a touchdown pass against Chicago on Sunday. Credit: William DeShazer / Chicago Tribune