Upset Watch appears every Thursday this season 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 in which a significant underdog has a strong chance to cover.
Upset Watch: Green Bay (+3.5) at Houston
Bill Parcells often said "you are what you are," meaning that a team was truly only as good as its record. But actually, that's not really true. Analyzing a team's performance over hundreds of plays gives you a better idea of a team's quality than a win-loss record. You can't go back and change the past and wipe losses off your slate, but a binary win-loss record really isn't a good way to judge how well a team will play going forward.
The Green Bay Packers are a great example of this. The Packers have been one of the best teams in the league this year despite losing three games -- well, two games, plus one with an asterisk. Football Outsiders' DVOA ratings, which compare success on every single play to a league average based on situation and opponent, have the Packers sixth in the NFL right now. In fact, the Packers are the second-best 2-3 team in the history of DVOA stats, which currently go back to 1991. Except for the two teams playing this season, the teams in the top 10 all finished with winning records and/or made the playoffs. And if you need another reason to like the Packers over the Texans this weekend, we've nailed our last three upset picks. Just sayin'.