Inverse Creative

Here's How A.I. Has Predicted the 2018 NFL Season and Playoffs

Inverse presents how swarm intelligence predicts the weekend's biggest games.

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 18.0px Georgia}Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire

The modern football fan has an ocean of data at their finger tips, but no individual fan can make the perfect weekend prediction for every game.

However, if dozens of football fans can form a hive-mind and work together, they can make scarily accurate predictions, far better than any single fan could. And they might even beat Vegas on the odds. Unanimous AI, a San Francisco-based technology firm, developed what it calls “Swarm AI” technology that harnesses the power of that hive-mind.

For the 2018 NFL season, Inverse is presenting predictions for every NFL matchup, made by a swarm of football experts who are thinking together.

Here’s how Unanimous AI works:

To make a decision, each swarm participant controls a magnet and uses it to drag a glassy puck toward an answer they think is the most likely outcome for each situation. Things get interesting when a user sees the puck being dragged in a different direction by other members of the swarm: It seems to trigger a psychological response, and the user readjusts their decision. As people adjust their pull in real-time, A.I. algorithms monitor their behaviors, optimizing their combined sentiment. Within a matter of seconds, the swarm builds toward a consensus.

Here’s a GIF of the swarm in action:

A swarm of 31 NFL experts worked together as a hive-mind to predict with high confidence that the LA Rams would win against the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional Playoffs.Unanimous A.I.

Below are the Swarm A.I. predictions for each week of the NFL season and post-season, presented by Inverse.

Conference Championship Predictions

  • Rams at Saints: Prediction Coming January 17
  • Patriots at Chiefs: Prediction Coming January 17

Divisional Playoffs Predictions

Click on the link for a full preview.

How Did the Swarm Do?

  • Colts at Chiefs: Chiefs ✓
  • Cowboys at Rams: Rams ✓
  • Chargers at Patriots: Chargers ✖
  • Eagles at Saints: Saints ✓

Divisional Playoffs Swarm Score: 75 Percent Correct

Wild Card Predictions

Click on the link for a full preview.

How Did the Swarm Do?

  • Colts at Texans: Colts ✓
  • Seahawks at Cowboys: Cowboys ✓
  • Chargers at Ravens: Chargers ✓
  • Eagles at Bears: Bears ✖

Wild Card Swarm Score: 75 Percent Correct

No Week 17 Predictions

The volatility of Week 17 makes predictions too difficult.

Week 16 Predictions

Click link on selected games for full preview.

How Did the Swarm Do?

  • Washington at Titans: Titans ✓
  • Ravens at Chargers: Chargers ✖
  • Bengals at Browns: Browns ✓
  • Buccaneers at Cowboys: Cowboys ✓
  • Vikings at Lions: Vikings ✓
  • Bills at Patriots: Patriots ✓
  • Packers at Jets: Packers ✓
  • Texans at Eagles: Texans ✖
  • Falcons at Panthers: Falcons ✓
  • Giants at Colts: Colts ✓
  • Jaguars at Dolphins: Dolphins ✖
  • Rams at Cardinals: Rams ✓
  • Bears at 49ers: Bears ✓
  • Steelers at Saints: Saints ✖
  • Chiefs at Seahawks: Chiefs ✖
  • Broncos at Raiders: Broncos ✖

Week 16 Swarm Score: 62.5 Percent Correct

Week 15 Predictions

Click link on selected games for full preview.

How Did the Swarm Do?

Another week of upsets!

  • Chargers at Chiefs: Chiefs ✖
  • Texans at Jets: Texans ✓
  • Browns at Broncos: Broncos ✖
  • Packers at Bears: Bears ✓
  • Lions at Bills: Lions ✖
  • Buccaneers at Ravens: Baltimore ✓
  • Cardinals at Falcons: Falcons ✓
  • Raiders at Bengals: Bengals ✓
  • Titans at Giants: Titans ✓
  • Dolphins at Vikings: Vikings ✓
  • Washington at Jaguars: Jaguars ✖
  • Cowboys at Colts: Cowboys ✖
  • Seahawks at 49ers: Seahawks ✖
  • Patriots at Steelers: Patriots ✖
  • Eagles at Rams: Rams ✖
  • Saints at Panthers: Saints ✓

Week 15 Swarm Score: 50 Percent Correct

Week 14 Predictions

Click link on selected games for full preview.

How Did the Swarm Do?

It was a weekend of upsets.

  • Jaguars at Titans: No prediction made
  • Jets at Bills: Bills ✖
  • Giants at Washington: Giants ✓
  • Saints at Buccaneers: Saints ✓
  • Patriots at Dolphins: Patriots ✖
  • Ravens at Chiefs: Chiefs ✖
  • Colts at Texans: Texans ✖
  • Falcons at Packers: Packers ✓
  • Panthers at Browns: Panthers ✖
  • Broncos at 49ers: Broncos ✖
  • Bengals at Chargers: Chargers ✓
  • Lions at Cardinals: Lions ✓
  • Steelers at Raiders: Steelers ✖
  • Eagles at Cowboys: Cowboys ✓
  • Rams at Bears: Rams ✖
  • Vikings at Seahawks: Seahawks ✓

Week 14 Swarm Score: 46.6 Percent Correct

Week 13 Predictions

Click link on selected games for full preview.

How Did the Swarm Do?

  • Saints at Cowboys: No prediction made
  • Ravens at Falcons: Falcons ✖
  • Panthers at Buccaneers: Panthers ✖
  • Bears at Giants: Bears ✖
  • Bills at Dolphins: Dolphins ✓
  • Colts at Jaguars: Colts ✖
  • Browns at Texans: Texans ✓
  • Broncos at Bengals: Broncos ✓
  • Rams at Lions: Rams ✓
  • Cardinals at Packers: Packers ✖
  • Chiefs at Raiders: Chiefs ✓
  • Jets at Titans: Titans ✓
  • 49ers at Seahawks: Seahawks ✓
  • Vikings at Patriots: Patriots ✓
  • Chargers at Steelers: Chargers ✓
  • Washington at Eagles: Eagles ✓

Week 13 Swarm Score: 66.6 Percent Correct

Week 12 Predictions

Click link on selected games for full preview.

How Did the Swarm Do?

  • Bears at Lions: Bears ✓
  • Washington at Cowboys: Cowboys ✓
  • Falcons at Saints: Saints ✓
  • Browns at Bengals: Bengals ✖
  • 49ers at Buccaneers: Buccaneers ✓
  • Jaguars at Bills: Jaguars ✖
  • Raiders at Ravens: Ravens ✓
  • Seahawks at Panthers: Panthers ✖
  • Patriots at Jets: Patriots ✓
  • Giants at Eagles: Eagles ✓
  • Cardinals at Chargers: Chargers ✓
  • Dolphins at Colts: Colts ✓
  • Steelers at Broncos: Steelers ✖
  • Packers at Vikings: Vikings ✓
  • Titans at Texans: Texans ✓

Week 12 Swarm Score: 73.3 Percent Correct

Week 11 Predictions

How Did the Swarm Do?

  • Packers at Seahawks: Seattle ✓
  • Bengals at Ravens: No prediction made.
  • Cowboys at Falcons: Atlanta ✖
  • Buccaneers at Giants: Giants ✓
  • Steelers at Jaguars: Steelers ✓
  • Texans at Washington: Texans ✓
  • Titans at Colts: Titans ✖
  • Panthers at Lions: Panthers ✖
  • Broncos at Chargers: Chargers ✖
  • Raiders at Cardinals: Cardinals ✖
  • Eagles at Saints: Saints ✓
  • Vikings at Bears: Bears ✓
  • Chiefs at Rams: Chiefs ✖

Week 11 Swarm Score: 50 Percent Correct

Week 10 Predictions

How Did the Swarm Do?

  • Panthers at Steelers: No prediction made
  • Saints at Bengals: Saints ✓
  • Falcons at Browns: Falcons ✖
  • Lions at Bears: Bears ✓
  • Cardinals at Chiefs: Chiefs ✓
  • Patriots at Titans: Patriots ✖
  • Washington at Buccaneers: Buccaneers ✖
  • Bills at Jets: Jets ✖
  • Jaguars at Colts: Colts ✓
  • Chargers at Raiders: Chargers ✓
  • Seahawks at Rams: Rams ✓
  • Dolphins at Packers: Packers ✓
  • Cowboys at Eagles: Eagles ✖
  • Giants at 49ers: 49ers ✖

Week 10 Swarm Score: 53.8 Percent Correct

Week 9 Predictions

How Did the Swarm Do?

  • Raiders at 49ers: No prediction made
  • Bears at Bills: Bears ✓
  • Buccaneers at Panthers: Panthers ✓
  • Chiefs at Browns: Chiefs ✓
  • Jets at Dolphins: Dolphins ✖
  • Steelers at Ravens: Ravens ✖
  • Lions at Vikings: Vikings ✓
  • Falcons at Washington: Washington ✖
  • Texans at Broncos: Texans ✓
  • Chargers at Seahawks: Seahawks ✖
  • Rams at Saints: Saints ✓
  • Packers at Patriots: Patriots ✓
  • Titans at Cowboys: Cowboys ✖

Week 9 Swarm Score: 58.3 Percent Correct

Week 8 Predictions

How Did the Swarm Do?

  • Dolphins at Texans: Texans ✓
  • Eagles at Jaguars: Eagles ✓
  • Broncos at Chiefs: Chiefs ✓
  • Browns at Steelers: Steelers ✓
  • Washington at Giants: Washington ✓
  • Seahawks at Lions: Lions ✓
  • Buccaneers at Bengals: Bengals ✓
  • Jets at Bears: Bears ✓
  • Ravens at Panthers: Panthers ✓
  • Colts at Raiders: Colts ✓
  • 49ers at Cardinals: 49ers ✖
  • Packers at Rams: Rams ✓
  • Saints at Vikings: Saints ✓
  • Patriots at Bills: Patriots ✓

Week 8 Swarm Score: 92.8 Percent Correct

Week 7 Predictions:

Week 7: How Did the Swarm Do?

  • Broncos at Cardinals: N/A
  • Titans at Chargers: Chargers ✓
  • Texans at Jaguars: Jaguars ✖
  • Panthers at Eagles: Eagles ✖
  • Vikings at Jets: Vikings ✓
  • Patriots at Bears: Patriots ✓
  • Bills at Colts: Colts ✓
  • Browns at Buccaneers: Buccaneers ✓
  • Lions at Dolphins: Dolphins ✖
  • Saints at Ravens: Saints ✓
  • Cowboys at Washington: Washington ✓
  • Rams at 49ers: Rams ✓
  • Bengals at Chiefs: Chiefs ✓
  • Giants at Falcons: Falcons ✓

Week 7 Swarm Score: 76.9 Percent Correct

Week 6 Predictions

How Did the Swarm Do?

  • Eagles at Giants ✓
  • Buccaneers at Falcons ✓
  • Panthers at Washington ✖
  • Seahawks at Raiders ✓
  • Colts at Jets ✓
  • Cardinals at Vikings ✓
  • Steelers at Bengals ✖
  • Chargers at Browns ✖
  • Bills at Texans ✓
  • Bears at Dolphins ✖
  • Rams at Broncos ✓
  • Ravens at Titans ✓
  • Jaguars at Cowboys ✖
  • Chiefs at Patriots ✓
  • 49ers at Packers: ✓

Week 6 Swarm Score: 66.6 Percent Correct

Week 5 Predictions

Links go to the full preview

How Did the Swarm Do?

The swarm saw a few upsets upend its predictions.

  • Colts at Patriots ✓
  • Titans at Bills ✖
  • Falcons at Steelers ✓
  • Broncos at Jets ✖
  • Jaguars at Chiefs ✓
  • Packers at Lions ✖
  • Ravens at Browns ✖
  • Giants at Panthers ✓
  • Dolphins at Bengals ✓
  • Raiders at Chargers ✓
  • Cardinals at 49ers ✖
  • Vikings at Eagles ✖
  • Rams at Seahawks ✓
  • Cowboys at Texans ✖
  • Washington at Saints ✓
  • Washington at Saints ✓Week 5 Swarm Score:
  • Washington at Saints ✓Week 5 Swarm Score: 53.3 Percent Correct

Week 4 Predictions

Links go to full preview.

How Did the Swarm Do?

The swarm had a much-improved week.

  • Vikings at Rams ✓
  • Jets at Jaguars ✓
  • Dolphins at Patriots ✓
  • Eagles at Titans ✖
  • Texans at Colts ✖
  • Bills at Packers ✓
  • Lions at Cowboys ✓
  • Buccaneers at Bears ✓
  • Bengals at Falcons ✖
  • Seahawks at Cardinals ✓
  • Browns at Raiders ✓
  • Saints at Giants ✓
  • 49ers at Chargers ✓
  • Ravens at Steelers ✖
  • Chiefs at Broncos ✓
  • Chiefs at Broncos ✓Week 4 Swarm Score:
  • Chiefs at Broncos ✓Week 4 Swarm Score: 73.3 Percent Correct

Week 3 Predictions

Links go to full preview.

How Did the Swarm Do?

The swarm slightly improved over Week 2.

  • Jets at Browns ✓
  • Saints at Falcons ✖
  • Packers at Washington ✖
  • Colts at Eagles ✓
  • Bills at Vikings ✖
  • Raiders at Dolphins ✓
  • Broncos at Ravens ✓
  • Bengals at Panthers ✖
  • Giants at Texans ✖
  • Titans at Jaguars ✖
  • 49ers at Chiefs ✓
  • Chargers at Rams ✓
  • Cowboys at Seahawks ✖
  • Bears at Cardinals ✓
  • Patriots at Lions ✖
  • Steelers at Buccaneers ✖

Week 3 Swarm Score: 43.75 Percent Correct

Week 2 Predictions

Links go to full preview.

How Did the Swarm Do?

It was a tough week for the hive-mind:

  • Panthers at Falcons ✓
  • Colts at Washington ✖
  • Texans at Titans ✖
  • Eagles at Buccaneers ✖
  • Chiefs at Steelers ✖
  • Dolphins at Jets ✖
  • Chargers at Bills ✓
  • Vikings at Packers (Tied) ✖
  • Browns at Saints ✓
  • Lions at 49ers ✓
  • Cardinals at Rams ✖
  • Patriots at Jaguars ✖
  • Raiders at Broncos ✓
  • Giants at Cowboys ✖
  • Seahawks at Bears ✓

Week 2 Swarm Score: 40 Percent Correct

Week 1 Predictions

Linked match-ups offer a full story on the prediction

How Did the Swarm Do?

  • Jaguars won ✓
  • Patriots won ✓
  • Vikings won ✓
  • Steelers drew with Browns ✖
  • Packers won ✓
  • Rams won ✓
  • Saints lost ✖
  • Ravens won ✓
  • Jets lost ✖
  • Panthers won ✓
  • Colts lost ✖
  • Titans lost ✖
  • Broncos won ✓
  • Chargers lost ✖
  • Cardinals lost ✖

Week 1 Swarm Score: 53.3 Percent Correct

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