The computer models that pick NFL games have made their picks for Week 17

  • Elo and Cortana have made their picks for Week 17.
  • Cortana leads the overall race, correctly picking 65% of the games this season.

Week 17 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. Each gives a likelihood that a team will win, however, which in theory could help measure the strength of certain lines.

Cortana is having another strong season, correctly picking 65% of the games, including an 11-5 record in Week 16. Elo has nailed 60% overall.

Here are the picks for Week 17, with each team’s per cent chance of winning in parentheses. Point spreads are for reference,via Vegas Insider as of Friday morning.


Sunday afternoon — early-window games

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  • Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-5.5) –BILLS (Elo 59%, Cortana 60%)
  • Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-8) –PACKERS (Elo 65%, Cortana 74%)
  • New York Jets at New England Patriots (-13.5) –PATRIOTS (Elo 89%, Cortana 77%)
  • Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-7) –SAINTS (Elo 87%, Cortana 58%)
  • Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-6) –COWBOYS (Elo 62%); GIANTS(Cortana 66%)
  • Atlanta Falcons (-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers –FALCONS (Elo 54%); BUCS(Cortana 51%)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-6.5) –TEXANS (Elo 71%, Cortana 74%)

Sunday afternoon — late-window games

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  • Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5) at Denver Broncos –CHARGERS (Elo 64%, Cortana 72%)
  • San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (-10) –RAMS (Elo 85%, Cortana 75%)
  • Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (-13.5) –SEAHAWKS (Elo 88%, Cortana 61%)
  • Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs (-14) –CHIEFS (Elo 88%, Cortana 79%)
  • Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-4.5) –VIKINGS (Elo 56%, Cortana 64%)
  • Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-14.5) – STEELERS (Elo 83%, Cortana 75%)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) at Washington Redskins – EAGLES (Elo 65%, Cortana 69%)
  • Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-5.5) –RAVENS (Elo 81%, Cortana 66%)

“Sunday Night Football”

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  • Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) at Tennessee Titans –TITANS (Elo 62%); COLTS(Cortana 57%)

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