Dorothy said there’s no place like home, and despite a perfect run by the road teams wild card weekend, the Bing Predicts models project that the aggregate of home field, better record (and hence the higher seeding and home field advantage), and an extra week off gives all four home teams enough of an edge this coming weekend to come out victorious. Bing Predicts was 2-2 Wild Card weekend and correct on the college football championship game prediction for Alabama – more details below.
Each week Bing Predicts picks the winners of every professional football game and the results are available on Bing. Starting with the playoffs last week, you can get predictions through the new Cortana! Powered by Bing Predicts feature on the NFL on Xbox and Windows 10 app. Look for Cortana’s symbol in every matchup, as Cortana shares the picks of Bing Predicts.
Figure – Cortana sharing projected winner and reasons from Bing Predicts on NFL app
On Saturday, Kansas City again starts the weekend’s games on the road, but this time they play a much more experienced opponent in New England. Under their current leadership, they are 12-4 coming off of regular season bye weeks and 8-1 when they have a bye into the divisional rounds. The extra week of preparation and healing should help strategically and physically to allow New England the opportunity to end Kansas City’s 11 game win streak.
Arizona hosts Green Bay in an exact rematch of their December 27 game in which Arizona won 38-8. Similar to their divisional rivals Minnesota who played a playoff rematch against Seattle at the same location where they lost in December, by a similar score of 38-7, the outcome of the rematch will likely be the same. Unlike the Minnesota game, the weather conditions of this re-match will almost be identical to that of their prior game 3 weeks ago. Also, Green Bay is the only wild card team to play on one shorter day of rest, and this comes off of a road trip to Washington. Arizona, which was 2nd in the league in points scored, will continue its strong offensive output to beat Green Bay.
On Sunday, Seattle again travels east to play the early game. Last year, Seattle won at Carolina by 4 during the regular season and had a more favorable re-match by playing and winning the playoff game at home. Carolina gets the opportunity to do likewise this year, winning in Seattle by 4 and now coming home in the playoffs to try and sweep the season. Carolina led the league in scoring while Seattle allowed the fewest points, making this a proverbial ‘unstoppable force versus immovable object’ game. In this case, the immovable object is less rested and possibly still thawing out from wild card week – Carolina gets the nod in this re-match.
The final game is also a December re-match between Pittsburgh and Denver who played on December 20th, although a major difference here is that the game is being played the second time in Denver. Possible injuries from wild card round aside (too early to speculate since we’re 5 days away), Denver has the additional advantages of their strong defense, tops in the league in yards allowed per game, and the experience of their future Hall of Fame QB starting. In a game more akin to the first half of the December 20th game rather than the second half, we see Denver getting the win on Sunday.
Figure – Bing Predicts’ Divisional round predictions with probabilities
Wild Card weekend and the college national title:
Experience seemed to be the theme of the weekend, with playoff pedigree seeming to come out on top again in games where there was a disparity – Cincinnati continuing their drought of playoff wins, Green Bay showing their experience in pulling away from Washington, and Seattle finding a way to win in Minnesota. With Kansas City and Houston having similar playoff experiences, Kansas City took the lead 11 seconds in and never looked back, extending the active league-leading win streak to 11 games. For the first time, all four road teams won wild card weekend. Bing Predicts was 2-2, jointly feeling the pain of Cincinnati fans with their last second loss as well as Washington fans who, like us, seemed optimistic when they ran out to an 11-0 lead early.
The extended weekend ended on a positive note as Alabama won the national title, giving Bing Predicts a 6-1 record for the “New Year’s Six + national title” set of predictions this college post-season.
Subsequent Playoff Rounds:
While Pittsburgh’s win creates a different set of match-ups than previously expected, our models observe the same two teams and outcome in the big game; namely, New England over Carolina. The biggest difference involves New England needing to go on the road Sunday, January 24th, to win at Denver in a re-match of dramatic overtime game Thanksgiving weekend. We project Kansas City still to lose at New England, but instead of that being a conference championship, it’ll be a divisional round playoff game.
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