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 of more than three points plus an additional game in which a significant underdog has a strong chance to cover.
Upset Watch: Carolina (+3.5) vs. Atlanta
The Carolina Panthers are 3-9 and a mess, playing out the string until owner Jerry Richardson once again cleans house in the offseason. The Atlanta Falcons are 11-1 and cruising to a likely top seed in the NFC playoffs. So the idea that Carolina has a good chance to upset Atlanta this week probably sounds a bit absurd. Our numbers disagree.