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FPI predictions for the biggest games of NFL Week 15

The Saturday games are here! With the college football regular season done, the NFL begins its customary late-season Saturday events, which means two more national games — and a taller task in this week’s Prime-time Parlay.

Once again, Prime-time Parlay is all about the best games: Thursday, Sunday and Monday’s prime-time games and the top 1 p.m. ET and 4 p.m. ET Sunday matchups (and this week, Saturday too). Straight-up picks, but you have to hit all five (or in this case, seven). Then we calculate how much you would earn for the parlay, using Westgate’s money lines.

Via ESPN’s Football Power Index, Prime-time Parlay tells you the analytics-based predictions for the meetings of greatest national import, offering the smart picks for the games you’ll be watching. (All NFL point spreads and money lines can be found here).

Total payout for Week 15 Prime-time Parlay (selecting all FPI-projected winners in seven games): $1,415.22 on $100 wager

Money line: Chiefs -190
FPI projection: Chiefs win by 4.5 points

This Thursday night treat features teams that are separated by one game in the AFC West, and they’re closer than most people think in terms of talent. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is second in QBR, while Chargers signal-caller Philip Rivers is third. The Chiefs are second in FPI, the Chargers fourth. Kansas City has the better offense, Los Angeles the better defense. The Chargers would be favored at home, but they’re on the road. — Seth Walder

Money line: Texans -300
FPI projection: Texans win by 6.7 points

FPI was skeptical of the AFC South-leading Texans for a long time, but now is a (relative) believer. Houston (9-4) is up to ninth overall in FPI, mostly due to its defense. — Seth Walder

Money line: Broncos -160
FPI projection: Broncos win by 9.9 points

FPI doesn’t know Hue Jackson was fired by the Browns. If it only considered games under Gregg Williams and Freddie Kitchens, it would probably like Cleveland’s offense more. FPI has a sneaky affinity for the Broncos (17th in QBR), though, and that’s enough to have it lean toward Denver. — Seth Walder

Money line: Bears -250
FPI projection: Bears win by 4.3 points

This Bears’ defense is extremely legit. In terms of efficiency (looking backward from Weeks 14 to 1), Chicago’s D has been the best in the league by far. That’s enough to make up for what we expect to be a below-average offense going forward. — Seth Walder

Money line: Steelers +100
FPI projection: Steelers win by 3.3 points

The Steelers rank ninth in efficiency, but FPI thinks they’ll be better than that going forward (sixth, just behind the Patriots). That’s because their offense has been their best unit (and that’s generally most consistent) and because of strong preseason expectations, which still play a little role in our forward-looking metric. — Seth Walder

Money line: Rams -500
FPI projection: Rams win by 10.4 points

A no-brainer for FPI, even before news that Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is probably out. The Eagles are just an average team all around and the Rams are, well, … a lot better than that. — Seth Walder

Money line: Saints -275
FPI projection: Saints win by 5.4 points

The most reliable thing an NFL team can have is a good offense. And the Saints have the best offense. Doesn’t hurt that the Panthers have lost five in a row as well. — Seth Walder

Final parlay: Chiefs, Texans, Broncos, Bears, Steelers, Rams, Saints

For more from ESPN Analytics, visit the ESPN Analytics Index.

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