One of the computer models picking NFL games has taken a big lead — here is who they like in Week 16

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  • After a slow start to the season, Cortana and Elo have been on fire in recent weeks.
  • The two models we’re tracking have correctly picked 65% of the games this season.
  • Microsoft’s Cortana has stretched its lead and has nailed 74% of the games over the last nine weeks.

The NFL season is now in Week 16, and one of the computer models picking games has started to take a big lead.

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.

After a rough Week 14, both models rebounded to their winning ways in Week 15. Cortana had another strong showing, going 13-3, and is now 98-35 (74%) over the last nine weeks. Cortana still holds the overall lead, with a 149-75 (67%) record on the season. Elo is starting to fall off the pace a bit, going 11-5 in Week 15. It is now 141-83 (63%) overall.

Here are the picks for Week 16, with each model’s percent chance of winning in parentheses. Point spreads are just for reference, via Vegas Insider as of Thursday morning.

Saturday

  • Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens (-12.5) – RAVENS (Elo 84%, Cortana 73%)
  • Minnesota Vikings (-9) at Green Bay Packers – VIKINGS (Elo 61%, Cortana 55%)

Sunday

  • Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears (-6.5) – BEARS (Elo 82%, Cortana 64%)
  • Detroit Lions (-4.5) at Cincinnati Bengals – LIONS (Elo 60%, Cortana 67%)
  • Los Angeles Rams (-6.5) at Tennessee Titans – RAMS (Elo 60%, Cortana 75%)
  • Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5) – CHIEFS (Elo 76%, Cortana 70%)
  • Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-12) – PATRIOTS (Elo 84%, Cortana 75%)
  • Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-5.5) – SAINTS (Elo 59%, Cortana 64%)
  • Los Angeles Chargers (-7) at New York Jets – CHARGERS (Elo 57%, Cortana 72%)
  • Denver Broncos at Washington Redskins (-3.5) – REDSKINS (Elo 60%, Cortana 55%)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-10) – PANTHERS (Elo 80%, Cortana 70%)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (-4) at San Francisco 49ers – JAGUARS (Elo 71%, Cortana 70%)
  • Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (-5) – COWBOYS (Elo 61%, Cortana 60%)
  • New York Giants at Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) – CARDINALS (Elo 70%, Cortana 64%)

Monday

  • Pittsburgh Steelers (-9.5) at Houston Texans – STEELERS (Elo 77%, Cortana 77%)
  • Oakland Raiders at Philadelphia Eagles (-9) – EAGLES (Elo 82%, Cortana 75%)