This game will likely decide the battle for the NFC East division title. Don’t look now, but the Cowboys have won four in a row and are peaking at the right time as the playoffs approach. Most recently, linebackers Leighton Vander Esch “a Sketch” (you heard it here first) and Jaylon Smith, along with the rest of the Dallas defense, combined to largely erase the potent offense of the Saints on last week’s edition of Thursday Night Football, in a game many thought New Orleans would run away with. Maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised – what else would you expect from a Wolf Hunter?
The Cowboys’ linebacking corps may soon get even deeper with the return of difference-maker Sean Lee, even if owner Jerry Jones caused a minor commotion this week by stating that the oft-injured Lee would start over Vander Esch, despite the latter’s 102 tackles this season, good for fourth in the NFL. Good problem to have, we suppose.
Dallas started the season with a series of fits and bursts; one step forward, two steps back, as the saying goes. But that was the old Cowboys. As much as it pains us to admit this, Dallas has looked like an entirely different team after trading for star receiver Amari Cooper.
In the other corner, the Eagles finally managed to win back-to-back games for the first time this season, which has seen its ups and downs following last year’s epic run to a Super Bowl victory over the Patriots. The final score of Philadelphia’s 28-13 victory over Washington looks more impressive than it really was; the Redskins started the game with Colt McCoy under center after previous starter Alex Smith suffered a gruesome broken leg. McCoy promptly broke his leg as well, forcing the Redskins to put third-string quarterback and noted butt-fumbler Mark Sanchez into the game.
Despite Sanchez’s general incompetence, the Eagles nonetheless allowed the Redskins to stick around before scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to ice the game. Philadelphia continues to be a head-scratcher this season; star players abound up and down the roster, but the result has been less than the sum of its parts.
The Cowboys won the first meeting between these two teams back on November 11. Pencil us in for a repeat, and sound the death knell for the Eagles’ chances of repeating as Super Bowl champions this year. Cowboys 27, Eagles 20 is my prediction, but how does a hive-mind of NFL experts see this one turning out?
To predict the result of this Week 14 match-up, Unanimous A.I. used what’s known as swarm intelligence. A “swarm” of 29 NFL enthusiasts worked together as a hive mind to make their prediction. As you can see in the animation below, each participant controlled a golden magnet and used it to drag the puck toward the result they thought was the most likely outcome. This is where it gets interesting: As a user sees the puck move toward a particular decision, it triggers a psychological response. They might readjust their thinking as the group builds toward a consensus. It’s an artificial intelligence, produced by human brains, working together as a swarm.
The swarm has low confidence Dallas wins at home against the Eagles.
The Eagles play at the Cowboys at 4:25 p.m. Eastern Sunday on Fox.
Here’s how Unanimous A.I. has predicted previous NFL games this season.
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: