The computer models that pick NFL games have made their picks for Week 12

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  • Elo and Cortana have made their picks for Week 12.
  • Cortana leads the overall race, correctly picking 67% of the games this season.
  • The two models disagree on one game this week.

Week 12 of the NFL season is here, and Cortana is back to make picks in a head-to-head showdown with Elo.

We looked at two popular systems used to pick NFL games: Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, and Elo, the modelling system used by Nate Silver’s data-journalism site, FiveThirtyEight.

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

Cortana is off to a strong start this season, correctly picking 67% of the games overall. Elo has nailed 61% overall. Both models have cooled recently, going just 24-16 and 23-17, respectively, over the last three weeks.

Here are the picks for Week 12, with each team’s per cent chance of winning in parentheses. Point spreads are for reference,via Vegas Insider as of Thursday morning.


Thanksgiving Day

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  • Chicago Bears (-3) at Detroit Lions – BEARS(Elo 53%, Cortana 67%)
  • Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys (-7) –COWBOYS (Elo 65%, Cortana 74%)
  • Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-13) –SAINTS (Elo 81%, Cortana 77%)

Sunday-afternoon games — early window

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  • Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) at Buffalo Bills –BILLS (Elo 56%); JAGS (Cortana 53%)
  • Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-3) –BENGALS (Elo 75%, Cortana 55%)
  • New England Patriots (-9.5) at New York Jets –PATRIOTS (Elo 77%, Cortana 69%)
  • New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-6) –EAGLES (Elo 80%, Cortana 70%)
  • San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5) – BUCS (Elo 63%, Cortana 57%)
  • Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers (-3.5) –PANTHERS (Elo 62%, Cortana 53%)
  • Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens (-10.5) –RAVENS (Elo 83%, Cortana 80%)

Sunday-afternoon games — late window

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  • Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Chargers (-12) –CHARGERS (Elo 84%, Cortana 77%)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Denver Broncos –STEELERS (Elo 70%, Cortana 64%)
  • Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts (-9) –COLTS (Elo 68%, Cortana 72%)

“Sunday Night Football”

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  • Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) –VIKINGS (Elo 71%, Cortana 66%)

“Monday Night Football”

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  • Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (-6) –TEXANS (Elo 58%, Cortana 64%)

Now check out this week’s power rankings.

NFL POWER RANKINGS: Where all 32 teams stand going into Week 12

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