NFC title race is a dead heat, per FPI

Cam Newton and Carson Palmer have their teams positioned nicely. AP Photo

After their dominant 44-16 win over the Redskins, the 10-0 Carolina Panthers have to be the favorite to win the NFC ... right?

Not quite. ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI). sees the race for the NFC championship as a virtual toss-up between the Panthers and Cardinals. FPI projects that the Panthers have a 42 percent chance to win the NFC and the Cardinals have 39 percent chance. That means that there is only a 19 percent chance that some other team from the NFC represents the conference in Super Bowl 50.

The Panthers have two more wins than the Cardinals and have better than a 75 percent chance of having home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, so why does FPI see this race as closer than their records suggest?