NFL

If Packers start out 3-0, history says a 12-win season likely

Sunday, January 18: Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy (left) talks to quarterback Aaron Rodgers during the first half of the NFC championship game in Seattle.

Sunday, January 18: Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy (left) talks to quarterback Aaron Rodgers during the first half of the NFC championship game in Seattle.

Before the 2015 campaign began, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy stressed -- more often and vociferously than usual -- the important of starting this season fast.

Coming off a devastating loss in the NFC Championship Game the year before and with an MVP quarterback and Super Bowl ambitions, McCarthy, despite a challenging first month on the schedule, wanted to avoid the slow starts that plagued his team the previous three seasons. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, the Packers opened 1-2 and failed to reach their lofty annual goal.

This year, after beating Chicago and Seattle, Green Bay is 2-0 and has the 1-1 Kansas City Chiefs coming to town this week for a Monday Night Football matchup at Lambeau Field.

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If the Packers win that game, it will be just the sixth time since 1993 -- when Brett Favre first led the franchise back to the playoffs -- that they've started a season 3-0.

What happened in those other five years?

In 1996, Green Bay won its first three games, eventually went 13-3 and won the Super Bowl for the first time since the Lombardi days. Two years later, in 1998, Favre brought the Packers to a 3-0 start and an 11-5 record, before they flamed out in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. In 2001, Green Bay won their opening trifecta, went 12-4 on the season and lost in the Divisional Round. In Favre's last year with the team, 2007, the Packers won their first three, finished 13-3 and lost in the NFC Championship Game.

The only time an Aaron Rodgers-led team started out 3-0 was in 2011, the year after the Super Bowl season. Those Packers raced out to win their first 13 games and finished 15-1, but then lost in the Divisional Round of the postseason to the Giants.

Since then, it's been 1-2 times three for McCarthy, Rodgers and Co.

But if the Packers beat the Chiefs on Monday, they'll be a pretty safe bet for 12 wins. Four of the previous five times Green Bay started 3-0 they won at least a dozen games, and its average number of victories in such a season was 12.8.

Here is a chart showing the Packers records after three games and for the full season, as well as how they finished, going back to 1993:

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