The computers are on fire picking NFL games — here are their picks for Week 12

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  • After a slow start to the season, Cortana and Elo have caught fire in recent weeks.
  • The two models we’re tracking have correctly picked 64% of the games this season.
  • Cortana has nailed 78% of the games in the last 5 weeks.

The NFL season is now in Week 12, and the two computer models we are tracking have caught fire in recent weeks.

We took a look at two popular systems used to pick NFL games: Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, and Elo, the modeling 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.

Both models have been on fire in recent weeks. Cortana went 9-5 in Week 11 and is now 54-15 (78%) over the last five weeks. It is now 105-55 (66%) overall, five games better than Elo (100-60, 63%). Elo went 8-6 in Week 11.

Here are the picks for Week 12, with each model’s percent 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.

Thursday

  • Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Detroit Lions – LIONS (Elo 53%), VIKINGS (Cortana 60%)
  • Los Angeles Chargers (-2) at Dallas Cowboys – COWBOYS (Elo 68%, Cortana 53%)
  • New York Giants at Washington Redskins (-7) – REDSKINS (Elo 68%, Cortana 67%)

Sunday

  • Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-8.5) – BENGALS (Elo 84%, Cortana 69%)
  • Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles (-13.5) – EAGLES (Elo 88%, Cortana 75%)
  • Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-16.5) – PATRIOTS (Elo 90%, Cortana 77%)
  • Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-10) – CHIEFS (Elo 78%, Cortana 78%)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-9.5) – FALCONS (Elo 78%, Cortana 73%)
  • Carolina Panthers (-4.5) at New York Jets – PANTHERS (Elo 57%, Cortana 69%)
  • Tennessee Titans (-3) at Indianapolis Colts – TITANS (Elo 52%, Cortana 73%)
  • Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) at San Francisco 49ers – SEAHAWKS (Elo 78%, Cortana 74%)
  • New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) – SAINTS (Elo 55%, Cortana 53%)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (-5.5) at Arizona Cardinals – JAGUARS (Elo 55%, Cortana 72%)
  • Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (-5) – RAIDERS (Elo 64%, Cortana 64%)
  • Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-14) – STEELERS (Elo 78%, Cortana 77%)

Monday

  • Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-7) – RAVENS (Elo 68%, Cortana 67%)