Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Predictions: Preview and A.I. Predicts Winner

How did get to the point where the Steelers are in last and the Bengals in first?

by T.E. Andrews
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire

In this NFC North divisional battle, the last-place Steelers (!) ride north to square off against the first-place Bengals (!!). I must have dozed off. The Bengals… are in first place? With wins over the Colts, Ravens, Falcons, and Dolphins and a loss to the Panthers, the Bengals have three wins over bad teams, a win over a decent team, and a loss to a good one.

Meanwhile, the Steelers continue to make noises about how everything is fine, despite having tied the lowly ascendant Browns earlier this season and looking up at the rest of the division in the standings. The proverbial frogs in the pot of boiling water said the same thing, at one point. Steelers, my guys - you’re tied with Cleveland. Now is the time for urgency. And yet, despite all of the off-field drama and lackluster start to the season, the Steelers will be okay – if they win Sunday. A loss here could allow Cincy to begin pulling away from the pack.

Vegas likes the tigers in this one, but we disagree. The Steelers look like they are righting the ship after a mediocre start combined with enough drama to rename the team the Real Housewives of the Steel City, although their sieve-like “defense” remains a concern. Steel Curtain? More like tinfoil drapes. On the other sideline, a rash of injuries to Tylers Eifert (yeesh) and Kroft has rendered Cincinnati’s “depth” chart an oxymoron. If you stand between 6’2” and 6’4”, can run a sub-5.0 40, and have even decent hands, consider submitting a resume to Cincinnati (for real though). Steelers over Bengals, you ask? Is Skyline Chili delicious? (Yes and yes). Steelers 27, Bengals 24 is my prediction, but how does a hive-mind see this one turning out?

To predict the result of this Week 6 match-up, Unanimous A.I. used what’s known as swarm intelligence to forecast the week’s slate. A swarm of 28 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.

With 75 percent collective brainpower, the swarm has “low confidence” that Cincinnati will beat the 2.5 point spread in its expected win over visiting Pittsburgh. As you can see, the swarm disagrees with me here.

The Steelers play at the Bengals at 1 p.m. Eastern Sunday on CBS.

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:

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