Falcons vs. Steelers Predictions: Preview and A.I. Predicts Winner

“Men lie, women lie; numbers don’t.”

by T.E. Andrews
p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 18.0px Georgia} Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire

Before the season began, this game looked like a potential barnburner. Now? With a combined two wins between the teams, this game is a far cry from a matchup of potential Super Bowl contenders, at least in their current state. Senate Democrats offer more resistance than Pittsburgh’s secondary, which ranks in the bottom quartile of the League in terms of both points and yards per game. The Falcons similarly boast the League’s third-worst defense in terms of total points and points per game. And as the celebrated economist Jay-Z taught us: “Men lie, women lie; numbers don’t.” This statement is true, and we dare you to find empirical evidence suggesting otherwise.

Pittsburgh staggers into this game after getting lit up by Joe Flacco in the first half and shut out in the second half of last week’s Sunday Night Football tilt against the rival Baltimore Ravens. Meanwhile, drama continues to swirl around the team, with players shooting off passive-aggressive social media messages and Le’Veon Bell’s continued holdout now expected to last until Week 7.

On the other sideline, Calvin Ridley has emerged as a scoring machine for the Falcons, providing a much-needed complement to Julio Jones, who racks up yards between the 20s but often disappears near the goal line. In the first four games of his NFL career, Red Zone Ridley (you heard it here first) has amassed six touchdowns, while fellow Alabama alum Jones has only six in his last 30 games. That’s the good news. The bad and the ugly is an epidemic of injuries to the defense, which will be down four starters for Sunday’s game, including interior lineman Grady Jarrett, linebacker Deion Jones, and both starting safeties – Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen.

The winners among all this defensive ineptitude? Us, the viewing public. Expect a Madden-esque, video game affair in this one, as the offenses exchange haymakers and the defenses enter into a gentlemen’s agreement not to tackle or cover.

To predict the result of this Week 5 match-up, Unanimous A.I. used what’s known as swarm intelligence to forecast the week’s slate. About 30 NFL enthusiasts 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 decision, it triggered a psychological response. They readjusted their decision-making, building toward the consensus you see below. It’s an artificial intelligence produced by human brains working together as a swarm.

The Swarm AI likes the Yinzers in this one. We agree. Strength in numbers. As Kipling once wrote, “For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” Steelers 31, Falcons 28.

The Falcons play at the Steelers at 1 p.m. Sunday on Fox.

Unanimous A.I. has made some scarily accurate predictions in the past using swarm intelligence, as our this article explains. For instance, the swarm picked this year’s Oscar winners with 94 percent accuracy. Here’s Unanimous A.I. founder Louis Rosenberg explaining swarm intelligence at a recent TEDx Talk:

In related news, Unanimous A.I. recently presented a scientific study of its ability to forecast games in the National Hockey League. In a 200-game, 20-week-long study of its Swarm AI in the NHL, it was able to easily outperform Las Vegas expectations, and its “Pick of the Week” was right 85 percent of the time, producing a 170 percent ROI. The paper, titled “Artificial Swarm Intelligence versus Vegas Betting Markets,” was presented at the at the IEEE Developments in eSystems Engineering Conference (DeSE 2018) this month at Downing College in Cambridge, England. In a press release issued with the study, co-author Gregg Wilcox says the technology can be applied to matters outside sports, too. “While it’s fun to predict sports, we are currently applying the same techniques to a wide variety of other domains, including financial forecasting, business forecasting, and medical diagnosis, all with positive results.”

Want to join the hive mind that picks NFL matches every week? Sign up to participate in future predictions.

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