Bing Predicts Bombs NFL Week 2, Looks to Recover in Week 3

Note: This post is for the 2015 season. Click here to see the Week 2 results and Week 3 preview for 2016.

After opening the 2015 NFL season with its best week ever, Bing Predicts looked like a lowly amateur during Week 2.

In a week filled with surprises, Bing just couldn't catch a break. From miraculous late game comebacks to injuries to unexpected blowouts, the search engine missed more than half the games, finishing with a dismal 6-10 record, Bing's worst week ever.

bing nfl week 2 predictions results

Bing Doesn't Lose Ground

On the bright side, Bing is still even with last year's pace—and ahead of its rivals. Bing's record so far this year is 19-13, identical to where it was last year after two weeks.

You can't blame it all on Bing. No one could have reasonably predicted wins from the Redskins, Jaguars, and Raiders—especially in the same week. Still, Bing didn't impress anyone during Week 2. But neither did anyone else. Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight predictions were 7-8 (they were noncommittal on the Lions-Vikings game), and the Vegas picks were 7-9. The bottom line: it was a bad week for just about everyone, and Bing is still near the top for the season (Vegas is 17-15 and FiveThirtyEight is 19-12).

Bing Predicts Playoffs Busted Already?

In what was perhaps the lowlight of the week for Bing, the heavily favored Saints (74.2% chance) lost at home to the Buccaneers. This puts New Orleans, one of Bing's preseason playoff teams, off to an 0-2 start.

The Saints aren't the only Bing playoff team at 0-2 right now. Six of Bing's preseason playoff favorites are currently winless. The Seahawks joined the Saints with a Sunday night loss to the Packers, a result Bing actually predicted. The Texans, Ravens, Colts, and Eagles are all at 0-2, none of which Bing (or anyone else) saw coming.  

Since 1990, only 11% of teams that started 0-2 have rallied to make the playoffs. Since 2009, it's been just 4%. Now, not all of those teams were the Seahawks. No amount of statistics can really suggest that the 1-1 Jaguars, Redskins, or Raiders honestly have a better chance than the Seahawks to make the playoffs this year.

The first two weeks do have Bing rethinking the postseason. Here is their updated playoff picture:

bing predicts 2015 playoff picture updated

The 0-2 Saints and 0-2 Texans are out. New to the scene are the 2-0 Panthers and the 1-1 Bills. Bing is still expecting the Seahawks, Eagles, Colts, and Ravens to turn things around against the odds. Bing has also upgraded the Patriots to the 2nd seed and knocked the Colts back to #4. The rest of the playoff picture looks the same. With the Ravens losing to the Raiders and the Dolphins falling to the Jaguars, expect to see this picture change a lot more in the coming weeks. 

Bing Predicts Week 2 Quick Stats

As usual, Bing heavily favored the home team during Week 2. This was a sound strategy during the first week, but it didn't play out quite so effectively this week. Of course, nothing Bing did really worked that well in Week 2. Here's a quick breakdown of Bing's Week 2 stats:

  • 6-7 when picking the home team (9-2 in Week 1)
  • 0-3 when picking the away team (4-1 in Week 1)
  • 1-6 when predicted chances were under 60% (8-1 in Week 1)
  • 5-3 when predicted chances were between 60 and 69.9% (3-2 in Week 1)
  • 0-1 when predicted chances were over 70% (2-0 in Week 1)

Okay, so there was at least one highlight for Bing. The search engine performed okay when predicted chances were over 60%. If only Bing could be more confident, right? Not so fast. The two games with the highest predicted chances this week were both losses for Bing.

Once again, Bing didn't predict any team to win with a chance over 80%, a number the prediction engine used 19 times during the 2014 season. Maybe we'll see them break out this number soon.

Bing Predicts Week 3 Preview

What do you do after an off week? Well, you get back out there and try again. It's unlikely that Bing made any adjustments to the actual algorithm heading into Week 3. Rather, the search engine simply has more data to use.

Here's what Bing says will happen during Week 3:

bing predicts week 3 2015

Bing continues to ride home field advantage this week, going with the home team in 13 of 16 games. The only exceptions are:

  • The 2-0 Falcons over the injury-ridden Cowboys in Dallas
  • The 0-2 Colts over the 1-1 Titans in Tennessee
  • The 2-0 Broncos over the 0-2 Lions in Detroit

None of these are huge surprises (even if FiveThirtyEight gives the Cowboys a 75% chance to beat the Falcons). In fact, there really are no big surprises at all from Bing this week. We do see the search engine pulling out its highest predicted chances so far this season: Bing has 4 games over 75%, including an 80% chance for a Patriots victory over the Jaguars.

Here's a full breakdown of Bing's picks for Week 3:

  • Home team wins in 13 games
  • Away team wins in 3 games
  • 7 games with predicted chance under 60%
  • 4 games with predicted chance between 60 and 69.9%
  • 4 games with predicted chance between 70 and 79.9%
  • 1 game with predicted chance at 80%+

The biggest question marks here are the Ravens-Bengals and Rams-Steelers games. Can the 0-2 Ravens stop the 2-0 Bengals? And what about the struggling Rams offense against the Steelers? But after last week, it's clear that anything goes in this league, regardless of what any prediction engine says. Who knows? Maybe the Jaguars will topple the Patriots and the Bears will get their first win against the Seahawks. 

Will Bing recover in Week 3? I give the search engine a 75% chance of getting at least 10 games right this week. Yeah, that's a lot of confidence coming off such a bad week. 

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