The New Orleans Saints have a chance to clinch the NFC South this week — or they could be eliminated from contention entirely. The Atlanta Falcons are out to make a serious statement about their Super Bowl return aspirations. A hive mind of about 30 NFL fans predicts the Saints will win.
The Saints and Falcons face off for the second time in three weeks, and last week’s home win for Atlanta has created some devilish scenarios. New Orleans is 10-4 and Atlanta is 9-5, with the Carolina Panthers also lurking at 10-4. So, let’s run through this: If New Orleans wins, they are definitely in the playoffs. If New Orleans wins and Carolina loses, then the Saints are NFC South champs. If Atlanta wins, they have a playoff spot. The Falcons can’t win the division this week, but an Atlanta win and a Carolina loss would eliminate the Saints from division title contention.
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 hive mind predicts New Orleans will win. It’s a low confidence pick with 80 percent brainpower, though most of the dissent is for New Orleans with high confidence.
The swarm predicts the Saints will win by four to six points, with 78 percent brainpower behind the pick. The Vegas line favors New Orleans by five.
The game kicks off 1 p.m. Eastern Sunday on Fox.