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NFL picks 2016, Week 15: Experts expect Cowboys to bounce back, Steelers to keep rolling

The NFC North race could get a little tighter if the Packers win as predicted.

The Cowboys are coming off a rare defeat, but don’t expect Dallas to put up a losing streak for the first time this season — at least according to SB Nation’s NFL experts. This week, the Cowboys are back on Sunday Night Football, playing host to the Buccaneers, one of the hottest teams in the league. But only one of our nine experts think the Bucs can pull off their sixth straight win.

The Lions’ quest to win their first division championship since 1993 will have to wait another week, if our writers are right. They predict a tight race in the NFC North thanks to wins from the Giants and Packers in Week 15.

If New York can defend its home turf on Sunday and the Matt Barkley-led Bears cannot, it would open the North back open for both the Packers and Vikings. Green Bay has been on fire lately, dismantling the Seahawks to improve to 7-6 and win its third straight game. A win, coupled with a predicted Lions loss in a difficult road matchup in north New Jersey, would put the Pack just one game back of the division leaders with a Week 17 showdown between the two teams looming.

Minnesota is still part of that race as well and could also close the gap between second and first place in Week 15. Our experts pick a clean sweep in favor of the Vikings, who have gone just 2-6 since starting the season on a 5-0 run.

That’s bad news for the Colts, who essentially need to win out to have any hope of avoiding their first multiple-year playoff drought since 1998.

Our experts expect the Texans will take a full one-game lead over the AFC South after Week 15. The Titans pulled off one of the biggest wins of their season when they defeated the Broncos at home, but are getting little love as an underdog in what promises to be a frigid and hostile Kansas City environment Sunday. Houston is a unanimous choice to beat lowly Jacksonville this week.

No one is picking against the Seahawks this week either, even though the Rams finally cut ties with Jeff Fisher. Interim coach John Fassel will lead Jared Goff and Co. into Seattle on Thursday night.

Pittsburgh and Atlanta are also favored to lock down division leads as the season nears its end. Seven of nine writers picked the Steelers to end the Bengals playoff hopes. The Falcons, who host a 49ers team in the midst of a 12-game losing streak, were an easy choice to stay atop the NFC South with the Bucs traveling to Jerryworld Sunday night.

The Patriots’ rivalry with the Broncos lost a bit of its luster once Peyton Manning retired, but two of our pickers think Von Miller will haunt Tom Brady’s dreams once again.

Week 15 Expert Picks

Game RVB Stephen White Thomas George Jeanna Thomas Adam Stites Louis Bien Joel Thorman Fooch OddsShark Computer
Game RVB Stephen White Thomas George Jeanna Thomas Adam Stites Louis Bien Joel Thorman Fooch OddsShark Computer
LA vs SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA
MIA vs NYJ MIA MIA MIA MIA NYJ NYJ MIA MIA NYJ
GB vs CHI GB GB CHI GB GB GB GB GB CHI
JAX vs HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU
CLE vs BUF BUF CLE BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF
PHI vs BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL
TEN vs KC TEN KC KC KC KC KC KC KC TEN
DET vs NYG NYG NYG NYG DET DET NYG DET NYG NYG
IND vs MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN
PIT vs CIN PIT PIT CIN PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT CIN
NO vs AZ NO AZ AZ AZ AZ AZ AZ AZ NO
SF vs ATL ATL ATL ATL ATL ATL ATL ATL ATL ATL
NE vs DEN NE DEN DEN NE NE NE NE NE NE
OAK vs SD OAK OAK OAK OAK SD SD SD SD SD
TB vs DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL TB DAL DAL DAL DAL
CAR vs WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS
Last week 8-8 9-7 12-4 8-8 9-7 9-7 11-5 9-7 12-4
Overall record 123-83-2 131-75-2 131-75-2 126-80-2 125-81-2 121-85-2 134-72-2 116-90-2 135-71-2

After earning some misguided trust last week, SB Nation’s experts have mostly abandoned the Cleveland Browns. The return of Robert Griffin III and a home game against an underwhelming Bengals team to earn a smattering of picks in Week 14. Cincinnati jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead, and now only Stephen White is daring to pick the Browns, despite a winnable Sunday matchup with the 6-7 Buffalo Bills.

Week 15 Expert Picks

Game RVB Stephen White Thomas George Jeanna Thomas Adam Stites Louis Bien Joel Thorman Fooch OddsShark Computer
Game RVB Stephen White Thomas George Jeanna Thomas Adam Stites Louis Bien Joel Thorman Fooch OddsShark Computer
LA vs SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA
MIA vs NYJ MIA MIA MIA MIA NYJ NYJ MIA MIA NYJ
GB vs CHI GB GB CHI GB GB GB GB GB CHI
JAX vs HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU
CLE vs BUF BUF CLE BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF
PHI vs BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL
TEN vs KC TEN KC KC KC KC KC KC KC TEN
DET vs NYG NYG NYG NYG DET DET NYG DET NYG NYG
IND vs MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN
PIT vs CIN PIT PIT CIN PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT CIN
NO vs AZ NO AZ AZ AZ AZ AZ AZ AZ NO
SF vs ATL ATL ATL ATL ATL ATL ATL ATL ATL ATL
NE vs DEN NE DEN DEN NE NE NE NE NE NE
OAK vs SD OAK OAK OAK OAK SD SD SD SD SD
TB vs DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL TB DAL DAL DAL DAL
CAR vs WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS
Last week 8-8 9-7 12-4 8-8 9-7 9-7 11-5 9-7 12-4
Overall record 123-83-2 131-75-2 131-75-2 126-80-2 125-81-2 121-85-2 134-72-2 116-90-2 135-71-2

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