The computers have correctly predicted 63% of the NFL games -- here are their picks for Week 5

The NFL season is now 25% over for most teams, and the computers are picking their winners for every game.

We took a look at two popular systems used to pick NFL games: Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, and Elo, the modelling system used by Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.

In both cases, the computers are picking outright winners and not against the spread. However, each gives a likelihood of a team’s winning, which, in theory, could help measure the strength of certain lines.

After ELO had a rough Week 3, the FiveThirtyEight model bounced back in Week 4, going 12-4, including 3-0 in the three games it picked differently than Cortana. ELO has now retaken the overall lead at 41-22 (65%), two games ahead of Cortana at 39-24 (62%).

Here are the picks for Week 5, with each model’s per cent chance of winning in parentheses. Games in bold are where the two models disagree on who has the best chance to win. Point spreads are just for reference, via Vegas Insider as of Thursday morning.


  • New England Patriots (-4.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — PATRIOTS (Elo 61%, Cortana 80%)


  • New York Jets at Cleveland Browns (pick) — JETS (Elo 65%, Cortana 58%)
  • Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions (-2.5) — LIONS (Elo 63%, Cortana 53%)
  • San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts (-1.5) — COLTS (Elo 75%, Cortana 52%)
  • Tennessee Titans (no line) at Miami Dolphins — DOLPHINS (Elo 59%), TITANS (Cortana 67%)
  • Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals (-3) — BILLS (Elo 51%, Cortana 52%)
  • Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants (-3) — GIANTS (Elo 68%, Cortana 58%)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-8.5) — STEELERS (Elo 80%, Cortana 74%)
  • Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) — EAGLES (Elo 65%, Cortana 55%)
  • Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams (-1) — SEAHAWKS (Elo 55%, Cortana 52%)
  • Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders (-2.5) — RAIDERS (Elo 68%, Cortana 52%)
  • Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (-2) — COWBOYS (Elo 53%, Cortana 52%)
  • Kansas City Chiefs (-1) at Houston Texans — CHIEFS (Elo 67%, Cortana 64%)


  • Minnesota Vikings (no line) at Chicago Bears — VIKINGS (Elo 58%, Cortana 67%)

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