Who Will Win San Francisco 49ers vs. Houston Texans? A.I. Predicts

Can the 49ers grit out a winning streak?

Getty Images / Jonathan Daniel

In his first start for the San Francisco 49ers, recently acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo helped get the team a win against the Chicago Bears. The Houston Texans are still just trying to do what they can with breakout star Deshaun Watson lost for the season. A hive mind of NFL fans predicts the Texans will win Sunday.

If the 49ers can pull out another win with Garoppolo under center, it will be the team’s first winning streak since November of the 2014 season, Jim Harbaugh’s final season as coach. He’s three coaches ago! Neither Jim Tomsula nor Chip Kelly could win consecutive games — Kelly only won the first game of his single-season tenure — but now Kyle Shanahan has a chance to get a second straight win. While Houston figures to be the better team, even with the underwhelming Tom Savage filling in for Watson, the 49ers at least have a chance of taking another small but decisive step back to competence, or something vaguely approaching it.

From their last game in 2016.

Getty Images / Thearon W. Henderson

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. About 30 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 Louis 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. For instance, the swarm went a perfect 7-0 in its most recommended picks for a recent English Premier League slate.

Unanimous A.I.

The hive mind takes a while to make up its mind on this one, ultimately picking the Texans to win with low confidence and 75 percent brainpower.

Unanimous A.I.

The hive mind predicts the Texans will win by four to six points, with 83 percent brainpower behind that pick. The Vegas line has Houston by three.

The game kicks off 1 p.m. Eastern Sunday on Fox.

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