The computer model that nailed the NFL's regular season has made its picks for the Wild Card games

Sean M. Haffey/Getty
  • After a slow start to the season, Cortana stormed back and was on fire the final ten weeks.
  • Cortana correctly picked 68% of the games overall and 75% of the games over the final ten weeks.
  • Elo also had a strong showing during the regular season, correctly picking 64% of the games.

The NFL regular season is now over, and despite a slow start, Microsoft’s Cortana stormed back and won the head-to-head showdown with Elo.

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.

Cortana won the regular season matchup, going 162-78 (68%) overall, and 111-38 (75%) over the last ten weeks (we did not track Week 17 because of the wonky nature of the final week). Elo was not far behind, going 154-86 (64%) overall.

Here are the picks for Wild Card weekend, with each model’s per cent chance of winning in parentheses. Point spreads are just for reference, via Vegas Insider as of Thursday morning.


  • Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5) – CHIEFS (Elo 75%, Cortana 64%)
  • Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams (-5.5) – FALCONS (Elo 51%), RAMS (Cortana 58%)


  • Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars (-8.5) – JAGUARS (Elo 59%, Cortana 69%)
  • Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-7) – SAINTS (Elo 65%, Cortana 61%)

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