Microsoft Cortana — the virtual assistant predicting every NFL game on Bing — had an underwhelming start to its 2016 season, going an uninspired 8-8.
“All three games decided by a last-minute field goal didn’t go our way — Carolina and Arizona missing [their kicks and] Cincinnati making [their game-winner]. These types of outcomes tend to revert to 50 per cent accuracy as the year progresses to stabilise our accuracy,” said Walter Sung, a partner applied science manager for Microsoft and the brains behind Cortana.
Last year, Cortana raced out of the block to a 13-3 start en route to a 63% accuracy rate over the course of the season. With a 50% rate after Week 1, Cortana will have some catching up to do if it wants to beat Nate Silver’s Elo model, which went 10-6 in Week 1.
This week, Cortana likes a lot of the home teams. In the “Thursday Night Football” game, Vegas likes the Jets by one point on the road while Cortana gives the slight edge to the Bills. Cortana and Vegas also disagree on Kansas City vs. Houston, and Green Bay vs. Minnesota.
As always, Cortana only picks the outright winner of each game. It does not make picks against the spread, though we like to include the point spread (in parentheses, courtesy of Vegas Insider) for comparison. You can find Cortana’s predictions by searching “NFL schedule” on Bing.
Here are its predictions for Week 2. Enjoy the games!
- New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (+1) — Bills 57% chance to win
- San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (-13.5) — Panthers 74% chance to win
- Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (-3) — Redskins 69% chance to win
- Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) — Steelers 60% chance to win
- New Orleans Saints at New York Giants (-4.5) — Giants 63% chance to win
- Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-6.5) — Patriots 78% chance to win
- Kansas City Chiefs (+2.5) at Houston Texans — Chiefs 53% chance to win
- Tennessee Titans at Detroit Lions (-5.5) — Lions 80% chance to win
- Baltimore Ravens (-6.5) at Cleveland Browns — Ravens 55% chance to win
- Seattle Seahawks (-3.5) at Los Angeles Rams — Seahawks 58% chance to win
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals (-6.5) — Cardinals 73% chance to win
- Jacksonville Jaguars at San Diego Chargers (-3) — Chargers 67% chance to win
- Atlanta Falcons at Oakland Raiders (-4.5) — Raiders 70% chance to win
- Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos (-6) — Broncos 81% chance to win
- Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (+2.5) — Vikings 60% chance to win
- Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears (-3) — Bears 52% chance to win