Titans rise, Seahawks fall in FPI's playoff projections

Marcus Mariota and the Titans were the biggest upward movers in FPI after Week 1. Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

Because the NFL season is only 16 games, each game impacts the playoff race more than an average fan might expect. After one week, there was a lot of movement in ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) projections.

Teams that improved their playoff chances

After posting the highest offensive and defensive efficiency in Week 1, the Tennessee Titans rose the most in FPI (4.4 points) and had the largest percentage point increase in their playoff chances. As the only team from the AFC South to win in Week 1, the Titans now have a 32 percent chance to make the playoffs, an increase of 26 percentage points from the start of the season.

Similarly, the Cincinnati Bengals were the only team from their division to start 1-0 and nearly doubled their playoff chances. The Bengals now have the best chance to win the AFC North (50 percent likely) after entering the season behind the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Finally, the Green Bay Packers were the only team from the NFC North to win in Week 1, and they now have an 86 percent chance to win the division. With losses by divisional favorites such as the Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks, no other team has more than a 62 percent chance to win its division.

Teams that hurt their playoff chances

The Minnesota Vikings had their playoff chances fall the farthest (from 31 percent to 9 percent) after struggling against the San Francisco 49ers. The Vikings entered the season ranked 15th in projected offense, but posting the third-worst offensive efficiency in Week 1, their predicted offensive rank fell to 23rd.

The Seahawks also fell in the FPI’s playoff projections; they entered the season with a 67 percent chance to win the NFC West, but after losing to the St. Louis Rams (and wins by the 49ers and Arizona Cardinals), the NFC West is projected to be the tightest divisional race from top to bottom. Seattle now has a 36 percent chance to win the NFC West, the largest decrease in a team’s divisional odds after Week 1.

It is important to note that FPI is extremely fluid in the first few weeks as it determines the true strength of each team. For more on how FPI’s projections are calculated, read this explainer; complete FPI rankings can be found here.

FPI matchups to watch in Week 2

The FPI favorite won 11 of 16 games in Week 1, including 5-0 in games in which the FPI favorite had at least a 60 percent chance to win. What games should we be keeping an eye on in Week 2?

Top game: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers

Green Bay: 63 percent chance to win (+4.6 predicted point differential).

Projected to be the third-best game of the season, based on pregame matchup quality.

FPI’s No. 1 projected offense (Green Bay) versus its No. 2 projected defense (Seattle).

Biggest toss-up: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

Detroit: 50.4 percent chance to win (+0.2 predicted point differential).

Projected to be closest game for either team this season.

Biggest mismatch: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

New Orleans: 78 percent chance to win (+11 predicted point differential).

Tampa Bay ranks 32nd in FPI and has a 27 percent chance for No. 1 overall draft pick.

Game with playoff implications: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles: 61 percent chance to win (+4.2 predicted point differential).

Eagles have a 48 percent chance to win the division and the Cowboys have a 43 percent chance, the closest divisional race between the top two teams.