Thursday night is the 195th meeting between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, with the series deadlocked at 94 wins apiece along with six ties. Who will move ahead in the all-time rankings with a win? A hive mind of more than 30 NFL fans are feeling good about the Packers’ chances at home in Lambeau Field.

Both teams are coming off overtime victories in week three. The Packers let the previously offensively challenged Cincinnati Bengals take them to extra time before eventually getting the deciding field goal in a 30-27 win, while the Bears managed one of last week’s many big upsets with an 23-17 triumph over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Could those results mean the Bears and Packers are closer to each other than one might otherwise think?

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From last December's game.

To predict the result of this and other games, Unanimous A.I. used what’s known as swarm intelligence to forecast the week’s slate. More than 40 NFL fans worked together as a hive mind to make picks. As you can see in the animation below, each participant controlled a little golden magnet and used it to drag the puck toward the answer they thought was the most likely outcome. As the users saw the puck move toward a particular outcome, it triggers a psychological response. They readjust their decision-making, building toward a consensus. Here’s Unanimous A.I. founder Lloyd Rosenberg explaining swarm intelligence at a recent TEDx Talk.

Unanimous A.I. has made some scarily accurate predictions in the past using swarm intelligence, as our previous article explains. Most recently, the swarm went a perfect 7-0 in its most recommended picks for last week’s English Premier League slate.

The swarm feels ridiculously good about the Packers here, picking them with high confidence and a whopping 96 percent collective brainpower behind the choice. The old mantra of “any given Sunday” — or “any given Thursday” — still applies here, but there’s a lot of reason to think Green Bay has got this, especially at home.

The swarm isn’t nearly as confident that the Packers will beat the spread and win by more than a touchdown, with only 72 percent brainpower behind a low confidence Green Bay pick. Given divisional rivalries can often get weird, this seems like an instance where it’s wise to play it safe.

The game kicks off at 8:25 p.m. Eastern Thursday on CBS and the NFL Network.


If you liked this article, check out this video of Google DeepMind teaching its A.I. how to dream.