The Los Angeles Rams are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2004. The Atlanta Falcons… well, does anyone remember the last time they played a playoff game? A hive mind of about 50 NFL fans predicts the Rams will win Saturday.
This game has got to be a nightmare for the Seattle Seahawks, considering it was their embarrassing blowout loss to the Rams that cemented the upstarts as NFC West champions, while it was the Falcons whose week 17 victory handed them the final wild card spot over Seattle. But those demons will have to wait a year to be exorcised, as it’s the Falcons who have secured a chance to get back to the Super Bowl and secure literally any result other than blowing a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves: First, they just have to get past the Los Angeles Rams, who have the kind of high-octane offense worthy of the Greatest Show on Turf teams in St. Louis that last made the playoffs. With a 31-year-old coach and an offense anchored by second- and third-year stars, the Rams are definitely ceding the experience advantage to the Falcons. Yet they also have one of the strongest 11-5 records imaginable, considering three of those losses came to the NFC teams with first-round byes and a red-hot San Francisco 49ers team in the final week of the season, when the Rams were resting starting. Atlanta is going to hope it expended all its bad luck last year, because some good fortune is probably needed against a Rams team this good.
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 50 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 the Rams will win, although with low confidence and only 78 percent brainpower behind the pick. Then again, most of the dissent is for those picking the Rams with high confidence.
The swarm predicts Los Angeles will win by four to six points, a prediction made with 78 percent brainpower. The Vegas line has the Rams by six.
The game kicks off 8:15 p.m. Eastern Saturday on NBC.