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), along with home-field advantage and injury data. 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.
The big trend for Week 15 in the NFL seems to be superior teams favored on the road. Right now, seven different playoff contenders are favored on the road against teams that are essentially out of the playoff hunt. However, you can't write off the effects of home-field advantage, which is why these games make for a slew of possible upsets in Week 15. Here are the most likely upsets with a three-point spread or greater:
• Minnesota (+4.5) vs. Philadelphia
• Oakland (+4) vs. Kansas City
• Pittsburgh (+3) vs. Cincinnati
• St. Louis (+5.5) vs. New Orleans
• Tampa Bay (+5.5) vs. San Francisco
The game we're choosing for Upset Watch features a team coming off a big, emotional win, on the road to take on one of the league's most underrated squads. It also features two young quarterbacks trying to read two very strong secondaries so they can find the right targets in their two flawed receiver corps.