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Panthers vs. Washington 2016, NFL picks and predictions: Nobody likes Carolina to win

Experts have completely abandoned the Panthers when it comes to picking NFL games. Most think Washington will win this Week 15 game.

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Evan Habeeb/Getty Images

Washington needs a win Monday night to stay in the playoff picture, but it’s a whole lot closer to the postseason than the Carolina Panthers, the team that played in and lost the most recent Super Bowl.

Sitting at 7-5-1, Washington isn’t in the NFC East picture as both the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants are playing quite well, but Kirk Cousins and Co. have a shot at a wild card berth thanks to the NFC generally being weaker than the AFC. Carolina, which finished the regular season in 2015 with a 15-1 record, has looked completely and utterly lost this season.

The big storyline, outside of the playoff implications and Ron Rivera’s job security, is cornerback Josh Norman. A breakout star a season ago, Norman was not retained by the Panthers and instead signed with Washington. This will be his first game against his old team. Norman has had a few struggles here and there, but by and large he’s still been an effective, dominant defensive back.

Norman will be going against Cam Newton, his former teammate. Newton has been far worse than he was a year ago when he was the league MVP. He’s completed only 53.5 percent of his passes for 2,774 yards, 15 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He does have 317 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, though, so he does have that going for him.

One issue for the Panthers is that, outside of Newton, running the ball has been a chore. Jonathan Stewart has 577 yards and eight touchdowns, but a per-carry average of just 3.6 yards.

Cousins has been better this year. Playing on the franchise tag, he has completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 4,045 yards, 23 touchdowns, and just nine interceptions. Cousins has developed into an above-average starting quarterback, and faced with the potential of leading a playoff run, he seems more than up to the challenge.

Can they get past Newton and the Panthers on Monday Night Football, though?

As far as experts are concerned, no one thinks the Panthers can be consistent enough to win. Over at CBS Sports, all eight of their experts are picking Washington. It’s the same situation over at ESPN, where the entire nine-man panel thinks Washington will win.

Here at SB Nation, you guessed it:

Panthers vs. Washington 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
Week 15 picks

All eight of SB Nation’s experts, plus the OddsShark computer, went with Washington. Monday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN and will begin at 8:30 p.m. ET, with a live stream available online via WatchESPN.

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