The New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals have started the 2015 season with an 8-0 record. For the Panthers and Bengals, that’s a new franchise record in consecutive wins in a single season. The Patriots? They’re on a whole nother level.
New England Patriots – 16
Some think the New England Patriots of 2007 are the greatest team in NFL history. Motivated by Spygate but featuring Randy Moss and Wes Welker as receivers for a record setting Tom Brady, the Patriots won 18 consecutive games including the playoffs, but ran into the New York Giants, a team they beat on the last week of the regular season, ending their perfect season with a Super Bowl loss.
Miami Dolphins – 14
Why are the 1972 Miami Dolphins the finest example of perfection and not the Patriots? The Dolphins finished, winning the Super Bowl that year to make it 17-0. They’re still celebrating each year when the last undefeated team goes down, hoping that no one ever accomplishes their feat.
Pittsburgh Steelers – 14
After a 1-1 start, with a rookie quarterback named Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers went on a 14-game winning streak which included beating both the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. The Steelers lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, and the Pats went on to beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl.
Indianapolis Colts – 14
The 2009 Colts won their first 14 games of the season before dropping the final two to the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. In the playoffs they beat the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets quite easily, but in the Super Bowl, a second one for Peyton Manning, they were beaten by Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
Green Bay Packers – 13
The Packers were coming off winning the Super Bowl and went 13-0 before a 19-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. In the playoffs, after a bye week due to their #1 slot in the NFC (finished 15-1 in the regular season) they were stunned by the New York Giants (eventual Super Bowl champions) at Lambeau Field 37-20.
New Orleans Saints – 13
Like the Packers, the Saints went 13-0 before being stopped. The Dallas Cowboys beat them on a Saturday Night game. The Saints went on to lose the next two games as well, but made up for the regular season finish with a Super Bowl win over the Colts, preceded by crushing the Arizona Cardinals and edging past the Minnesota Vikings in overtime.
Denver Broncos – 13
13-0 Again? Yes. The Broncos, following their Super Bowl win, won 13 consecutive games before losing two in a row to the Giants and Dolphins, going into the playoffs with a 14-2 record. They crushed the Miami Dolphins, followed by wins over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship game and the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl to send John Elway into retirement with two Super Bowl rings.
Chicago Bears – 12
The ’85 Bears might still be the most dominant champions in the Super Bowl era, going 12-0 before their first loss and 15-1 in the regular season, while allowing just 12.4 points per game. In the playoffs, it was just as one sided, beating the Giants 21-0, the Los Angeles Rams 24-0 and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl 46-10.
San Diego Chargers – 11
The 2009 Chargers finished the season on an 11-game winning streak after a 2-3 start which earned them a #2 seed and a bye week, but they lost 17-14 to the New York Jets at Qualcomm, with Nate Kaeding missing three field goals in the game.
Seattle Seahawks – 11
The Seahawks went on an 11-game undefeated run from week 5 until getting stopped in week 17 by the Green Bay Packers, finishing the season at 13-3. Shaun Alexander won the rare running back MVP and in the playoffs beat the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins before losing 21-10 to the Pittsburgh Steelers with a number of highly controversial calls slightly ruining the whole affair.
Jacksonville Jaguars 11
Yes, the Jaguars were once that good. Tom Coughlin led the young franchise to a 14-2 record in 1999, with their two losses bordering the streak, both to the Tennessee Titans. After crushing the Miami Dolphins 42-7, the Jags lost to the same Titans for a third time, before Tennessee went on to lose against the Rams in the Super Bowl.
San Francisco 49ers – 11
1997 was a weird season for the 49ers. They lost Jerry Rice for 14 games in the season opener and lost that game to the Bucs, but followed it with 11 wins in a row to finish the season 13-3, losing two of their last four. They beat the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round 38-22 but lost at home to Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers in the conference championship game. The Packers lost to the Broncos in the Super Bowl.
Houston Oilers / Tennessee Titans – 11
A bizarre 1993 season for the Oilers that included the Babygate scandal and defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan punching offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride after an argument regarding the team’s offensive philosophy (run and shoot). But they went 13-3, including 11 wins in a row to close out the season. In the playoffs, they lost in the divisional round to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Washington Redskins – 11
2011 Was a great season for the Redskins. They went 14-2 in the regular season, starting off 11-0 and losing their two games by a combined five points. In the days of the NFC East dominating the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl, they preceded that win (37-24) with a 24-7 beatdown of the Falcons and 41-10 against Detroit.
New York Giants – 10
The 1990 Giants started the season with 10 wins and finished the regular season 13-3, before beating the Chicago Bears 31-3 in the divisional round followed by upsetting the San Francisco 15-13, ruining their three peat attempts. They won the NFC championship game on a Matt Bahr (scored all the points) field goal as time expired. In the Super Bowl, they beat the Bills 20-19 as Bills kicker Scott Norwood missed a kick from 47-yards which would have won the game for the Bills.
Oakland Raiders – 10
The Raiders went 13-1 in 1976, finishing the season with their 10-game winning streak en route to a Super Bowl win, the franchise’s first. They got by the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC before beating the Minnesota Vikings in the Super Bowl.
Minnesota Vikings – 10
In 1975 the Minnesota Vikings went 12-2, winning their first 10 games of the season. Fran Tarkenton won the MVP and they had home field advantage in the first game of the playoffs against the Dallas Cowboys, but lost 17-14 to the Staubach-Pearson Hail Mary.
Kansas City Chiefs – 9
The Chiefs last won nine games in a row in 2013, when they started the season 9-0 before a rough 2-5 finish, preceding their collapse in the wild card playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts, losing 45-44.
Philadelphia Eagles – 9
In 2003 the Philadelphia Eagles won the NFC East once more, winning nine in a row in the middle of the season and finishing 12-4 overall. The barely got by the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round with a 20-17 win, but struggled and lost in the conference championship game against the Carolina Panthers, losing 14-3.
Atlanta Falcons – 9
The Atlanta Falcons have two seasons with nine straight wins in them, 1980 and 1998. The 98 one is obviously more memorable, making the Super Bowl with a 14-2 record, winning the final nine games of the season. After beating the San Francisco 49ers 20-18 came what is still the biggest win in franchise history, 30-27 over the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings in overtime. They made the Super Bowl, losing to the Denver Broncos.
New York Jets – 9
The 1986 New York Jets actually lost their final five games of the season after a 10-1 start, still making the playoffs and beating the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card round. They lost 23-20 to the Cleveland Browns in overtime, dropping a 20-10 lead in the fourth quarter, with a roughing the passer call against Mark Gastineau which changed the momentum of the game.
Carolina Panthers – 8
The Panthers are doing it right now, starting the 2015 season with an 8-0 record, scoring 20 points or more in all of their wins and never once giving up more than 29 halfway through the season.
Cincinnati Bengals – 8
Partners in crime, as the Bengals have also set a new franchise mark in the 2015 season. holding their opponents to 24 points or less in all of their wins.
Buffalo Bills – 8
The 1990 Bills finished with a 13-3 record and won eight in a row midway through the season. The ending wasn’t too impressive; tragic even. After beating the Dolphins and crushing the Raiders in the playoffs, the Super Bowl ended in a 20-19 loss with a missed kick by Scott Norwood to end the game, the first of four consecutive Super Bowl losses.
Dallas Cowboys – 8
Maybe the most dominant of all Cowboys team, the 1977 Cowboys finished the season with a 12-2 record, including four in a row to finish the season. They easily brushed aside the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings before beating the Denver Broncos 27-10 in the Super Bowl.
Houston Texans – 7
In 2011, the Houston Texans clinched a playoff spot for the first time in franchise history (another one followed a year later). They ran all over the Cincinnati Bengals in their postseason debut, winning 31-10, but lost to the Baltimore Ravens a week later.
Los Angeles / St. Louis Rams – 7
The most special of the streaks came in 1999 (the Rams also had them in 1978, 1985 and 2003), when the Rams ended up winning the Super Bowl, beating the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and finally the Tennessee Titans, introducing the Greatest Show on Turf offense.
Baltimore Ravens – 7
The 2000 Ravens are known for a defense that carried them all the way to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title, setting records for fewest points allowed in a season and fewest rushing yards allowed. After a 12-4 regular season, they won four games in order to take the big prize, beating the Denver Broncos (21-3), Tennessee Titans (24-10), Oakland Raiders (16-3) and in the Super Bowl the New York Giants, crushing them 34-7.
Detroit Lions – 7
The 90’s were a pretty good decade for the Detroit Lions, mostly because they had Barry Sanders. He ran for “just” 1500 yards that year, helping the Lions go 10-6 before losing to the Philadelphia Eagles 58-37 in the Wild Card game.
St. Louis / Arizona Cardinals – 7
The Cardinals might be the least successful of the NFL franchises from those that have been part of the league since the very beginning. As the St. Louis Cardinals (1960-1987) they made the playoffs just three times. One of those times was in 1974, going 10-4 including winning the first seven games before losing to the Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 6
The 1999 Buccaneers won the division title for the first time in 18 years. They finished the season with eight wins in the final nine wins to go 11-5, beating the Washington Redskins in the Divisional playoffs but lost 11-6 to the St. Louis Rams in the NFC championship game.
Cleveland Browns – 6
One of the few teams to never make a Super Bowl (the Browns have their titles in the preceding era), the ’72 Browns won eight of their final nine games to make the playoffs on a 10-4 record, losing to the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card game.