The New Orleans Saints can clinch the NFC South title with a victory Sunday. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers can shake off their role as the division’s forgotten team by playing spoiler. A hive mind of about 30 NFL fans predicts the Saints will win.
The Saints can also back into the division title if the Carolina Panthers lose to the Atlanta Falcons. Either way, New Orleans is headed back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013, finally breaking out of the team’s three-year 7-9 rut. This would also mark their first division title since 2011, which feels shockingly long ago considering it still doesn’t feel that long ago the Saints were Super Bowl champs. For the record, that was in the 2009 season. As for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this has been a rough year made rougher by the strong play of the other three teams in the division, all of whom could make the playoffs. Beating the Saints to end the season may not accomplish all that much, but ruining a rival’s big day is never a bad thing.
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 the Saints will win with high confidence and 95 percent brainpower.
The hive mind predicts New Orleans will win by seven to nine points, with 81 percent brainpower behind that pick. The Vegas line has the Saints by 7.5 points.
The game kicks off 4:25 p.m. Eastern Sunday on Fox.