Can Nick Foles pull off the impossible – again? By now, you’ve surely heard the legend of St. Nick, the backup Eagles quarterback who took over last season after starter Carson Wentz went down with an injury. Foles went on to enjoy fairytale-level success, leading Philadelphia to its first-ever Super Bowl victory, catching a touchdown in a trick play aptly titled “Philly Special”, and slaying the dragonNew England Patriots in the process. He even won Super Bowl LII MVP. If the Eagles’ playoff run last year was an episode of Friday Night Lights, you wouldn’t believe it.
Fast-forward to now. In Week 14 against the rival Cowboys, Carson Wentz went down with an injury – again. Foles subbed in as his backup – again. And St. Nick has delivered once again, sparking the Eagles’ offense back to life and leading the team to three consecutive wins (including victories over the Rams and Texans, two other playoff teams) and back to the playoffs. History repeats itself. Now that the playoffs have arrived, the question becomes: Can he storm the castle and lead Philadelphia back to the Super Bowl?.
Unfortunately for Philly, the Monsters of the Midway await this afternoon. Chicago boasts the best defense in the League, which is stingier than Trump in a government-funding dispute. Da Bears have conceded the fewest points in the entire NFL this season, due in large part to the efforts of the monstrous Khalil Mack, who has gobbled up opposing quarterbacks like some creature from mythic lore and put together a historic season. Chicago has amassed an impressive 12-4 record, good for first place in the NFC North, and is surging into the playoffs, having won nine of its past 10 games.
Which brings us to this afternoon’s game. We want to believe the Legend of St. Nick will continue – we really do. But there’s a reason the sequel usually isn’t as good: it’s hard to top the original. Bears 24, Eagles 17, is my prediction, but how does a hive-mind of NFL experts predict this NFL playoff match-up turning out?
To predict the result of this 2018 NFL post-season match-up, Unanimous A.I. used what’s known as swarm intelligence. A “swarm” of 37 NFL enthusiasts worked together as a hive mind to make their prediction, and 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.
As the swarm replay above shows, the hive-mind has high confidence that the Chicago Bears will win against the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the 2018 NFL playoffs.
The Eagles play at the Bears at 4:40 p.m. Eastern Sunday on NBC.
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: