Upset probabilities in the NFC West

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

I like the guys at Advanced NFL stats even though they once skewered me for failing to secure my pocket protector.

The chart at right, pulled from nytimes.com, shows the fruits of a pretty cool research project. Writes Brian Burke:

For whatever reason, my model has been remarkably successful since its inception three seasons ago, and each year it has been slightly more accurate in predicting winners than looking at the consensus favorites. This is no small accomplishment, as luck plays a large part of many game outcomes.

Sometimes its predictions make you scratch your head, especially early in the season when most fans still carry notions of how good certain teams should be. It has its flaws, but it is brutally unbiased and hype-free. Of course, now that they are featured on nytimes.com, it’s due for an off year!

The Seahawks and Rams certainly hope Burke's model misrepresents their teams' chances in the short term. According to the model, no team is less likely than Seattle to win in Week 4. I do not necessarily disagree. That is a tough matchup.