Discussion

Upset Watch: Week 2

If Ravens can pressure Vick, Baltimore could clobber Eagles

Originally Published: September 13, 2012
By Aaron Schatz | Football Outsiders

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.

Upset Watch: Baltimore (+2.5) at Philadelphia

The second week of the NFL season can be difficult to analyze. On one hand, it's important not to obsess over Week 1 results and forget everything we knew going into the season. (There's a reason why FO calls this "National Jump to Conclusions Week.") On the other hand, you do want to incorporate what you've learned in Week 1.

The line for Sunday's Philadelphia-Baltimore matchup seems to be a product of the first thought. Anyone who watched the Ravens decimate the Bengals and the Eagles struggle against the Browns must be wondering how in the world the Eagles can be favored. Based on conventional wisdom in the preseason, however, the line makes sense. It's close to the three points you would naturally give the Eagles as the home team if you assumed both teams were of equal quality.

Looking from the perspective of Football Outsiders however, there are two things wrong with this line. First, our preseason forecast said the Ravens were likely to be a little better than the Eagles. Second, while Week 1 shouldn't change everything you think you know about football, it does matter a little bit, particularly in this case where the teams are so closely matched.

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