Both the Arizona Cardinals and Washington are playing out the string when they meet Sunday, undone by a mix of injuries, unfavorable scheduling, and general bad luck. But at least both teams have an outside shot at ending on a relative high note by avoiding a losing season. A hive mind of about 30 NFL fans predicts the Cardinals will win Sunday.
It’s hard not to feel wistful about Arizona. They lost running back David Johnson, maybe the most valuable non-quarterback in the league, in the season opener. Veteran quarterback Carson Palmer was also lost to injury. Head coach Bruce Arians and franchise legend Larry Fitzgerald could both leave after this season, and either way every game with them there is a precious commodity. To finish 9-7 would be a disappointment, but it would represent an almost heroic effort considering everything that went so wrong this year. As for Washington, salvaging an 8-8 record could at least make this year’s round of negotiations with Kirk Cousins a tad more interesting.
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 an English Premier League slate earlier this season.
The swarm predicts Arizona will win, albeit with low confidence and 78 percent brainpower.
The hive mind likes the Cardinals to win by four to six points, with 84 percent brainpower behind the prediction. The Vegas line favors Arizona by 4.5 points.
The game kicks off 1 p.m. Eastern Sunday on Fox.