Upset Watch appears every Thursday for ESPN Insider, as Football Outsiders uses a proprietary formula to forecast the expected point spread of each game based on current DVOA ratings (explained here) and, early in the season, our DVOA projections. Each week we highlight the most likely upset on a game with a line over three points, plus an additional game where a significant underdog has a strong chance to cover.
Last week, we noted that Week 12 was a slate of very close games. This week, instead, we have a slate of extremely accurate point spreads. The formula we use to project point spreads at Football Outsiders comes up with a spread within one point of the actual spread for 10 of this week's 16 games, which is unheard of. That makes picking an upset of the week nearly impossible, but here are the most likely candidates (three-point spread or greater):
• Arizona (+3.5) at Philadelphia
• Atlanta (+3.5) vs. Buffalo (in Toronto)
• Kansas City (+4) vs. Denver
• Pittsburgh (+3) at Baltimore
• Tennessee (+4.5) at Indianapolis
For this week's Upset Watch, we'll go with a divisional rivalry that almost always results in close games, and this week gets a nationally televised holiday showcase. It could even decide the sixth playoff spot in the AFC.