Bing Predicts provided the weekly winners of professional football games this past season, and in January we do likewise for the playoffs. With a 9-7 final week, Bing Predicts ends the regular season 161-95 (63%), correctly predicting upsets for two road teams in New Orleans and Detroit. On the other hand, New England and New York were unexpected losses despite these teams having a chance to secure the top seed and a playoff spot, respectively.
Now we focus on the Wild Card Round, the subsequent playoff match-ups and the ultimate prize, the professional football championship. Using our models, which involve traditional statistical models coupled with social listening and search analysis, we’ve made our picks for the entire playoff bracket. We’re predicting New England to once again win it all, with a few upsets throughout the playoffs as seen in the playoff bracket below. Last year, we were 8-3 in the playoffs, including having correctly picked New England to win it all before the playoffs started.
As a bonus for football fans who want more, we also share our pick for college football’s national champion. Full details follow.
Wild Card Round Predictions:
On Saturday, Kansas City brings their 10-game win streak to Houston, a team riding a 3-game win streak of their own. Houston lost the season opener at home to Kansas City. Our models predict that Kansas City will again win in Houston to extend their winning streak. Pittsburgh and Cincinnati follow that game with another match-up between these divisional rivals. While Pittsburgh has won in Cincinnati five of the last six times they have played in Cincinnati, Cincinnati has done a good job this season of slowing down Pittsburgh’s passing game. Since Big Ben’s return on November 1, two of his three lowest yardage outputs have been against Cincinnati. When coupled with the fact that Pittsburgh will either play without their top two running backs or with the 2nd running back possibly not at 100%, Cincinnati appears poised to win their first playoff game in over 25 years (January 6, 1991 was their last win) in the wild card round.
On Sunday, Seattle returns to Minnesota where they last played on December 6th in a game where Seattle jumped to a 38-0 lead en route to a 38-7 win. The re-match should be more competitive, but our models find that Seattle’s league-leading run defense in yards allowed will be able to contain Minnesota again, resulting in a win for Seattle. In the Sunday finale, Green Bay travels to Washington in a match-up between two storied franchises whose first meeting goes back to the 1930’s. These two teams are headed in opposite directions. Green Bay started 6-0 but since their bye week, they have been 4-6. Washington started 3-4, but since their bye week, have been 6-3, with two of those losses road contests to divisional champions New England and Carolina. In a close contest, we expect Washington to defeat Green Bay.
Subsequent Playoff Rounds:
If the wild card games go as we predict, we foresee that Kansas City will upset Denver on the road in the divisional round. In their November 15 meeting in Denver, Kansas City got ahead 29-0 in an easy win. We expect them to extend their win streak to reach the conference finals. In the other half, we have New England prevailing over Cincinnati in a battle of 12-4 teams. New England, hosting Kansas City, wins the conference title.
In the other conference, Carolina defeats Seattle at home and then follows it up with a win over Seattle’s divisional rival, Arizona, who is in the conference title game by virtue of a win over Washington in the divisional round. In the big game, we get a rematch of the February 1, 2004 title game with New England again winning and defending their title.
As noted earlier, we’re predicting the national title winner for the college football championship. Clemson hasn’t beaten Alabama since ’05 — not 2005, but 1905. We expect the long drought to continue as Alabama defeats Clemson on Monday night. Last week, we were 5-1 in the “New Year’s Six” predictions, correctly taking Clemson in an upset and missing only Florida State’s upset loss.
As always, Bing has all your professional football needs covered this season. Whether you want to know the chances of your team winning in the upcoming week, the likelihood of your favorites making the playoffs, or key strategies to help your fantasy team get the edge, Bing boosts your confidence to compete. And of course, we help you discover all the information you need for schedules, score, standings, teams and players.
– Walter Sun, Bing Predicts Team Lead