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NFL picks 2019, Week 15: Our experts don’t have much faith in 3 playoff contenders

There are a few teams in the postseason hunt that SB Nation’s expert panel doesn’t trust to win in December.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts are all but out of the AFC South race, and the Jaguars’ postseason hopes are long gone. That means the division will come down to the Texans and Titans, who have matching 8-5 records and play each other twice in the final three weeks.

Houston will own the tiebreaker if the two teams split the season series, thanks to its superior division record. But Tennessee’s the one that enters Week 15 riding a wave of momentum. The Titans have won four in a row and six of their last seven.

Ryan Tannehill is the NFL leader in passer rating, and running back Derrick Henry has 599 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in the last four games. Most impressive was a 35-32 win against the Chiefs in Week 10, with Henry bulldozing his way to 188 rushing yards.

The Texans beat the Chiefs too. They also mowed down the Patriots in Week 13 before getting inexplicably dominated by the Broncos a week later. Rookie quarterback Drew Lock threw for 309 yards, three touchdowns, and only one interception in a 38-24 win for Denver that could’ve been much worse.

Most of SB Nation’s experts think it’ll be the home team, Tennessee, that comes out on top in the first of a two-part AFC South de facto championship. It’s not unanimous, though. That makes it a rarity in Week 15.

Only a handful of matchups don’t have the panel on the same side. Aside from the Titans-Texans divisional clash, just three other games have our experts split. One is the pillow fight for a top-five pick between the Dolphins and Giants. The other two come with significant playoff implications.

The experts don’t trust the Cowboys or Steelers

It hasn’t been a strong season for the Rams following their Super Bowl run. The offensive line has crumbled, Jared Goff’s play has regressed, and the once-prolific offense has taken a step backward.

Or at least that was the case until December. In the last two weeks, the Rams’ offense has cranked out over 1,000 yards and 62 points in wins over the Cardinals and Seahawks. Los Angeles will need a little help to climb into the playoff picture, and it can help itself by handing the Cowboys a fourth straight loss.

Dallas had a hot start to the season, but it still hasn’t won a game against a team with a winning record. In the last three weeks, the Cowboys dropped games against the Patriots, Bills, and Bears.

That’s probably why the panel is slightly leaning toward the Rams. There are still four taking the Cowboys, because this slide has to end eventually (... right?). A win would also keep Dallas out in front of the extraordinarily weak NFC East race.

There are also four experts picking the Steelers to beat the Bills. Pittsburgh’s won seven out of its last eight, but the majority of the panel is taking Buffalo.

The Bills are 9-4 and coming off a tough loss to the Ravens in Week 14. They have one of the NFL’s best defenses, and that could cause trouble for Steelers rookie quarterback Duck Hodges. While he has a 3-0 record as a starter, he hasn’t faced a defense anywhere near as good as Buffalo’s.

Hodges may soon get the help of JuJu Smith-Schuster, though. The Steelers’ top receiver is hoping for a Week 15 return after sitting out the last three games with a knee injury and a concussion. The Pittsburgh defense isn’t too shabby either with the league lead in both sacks and takeaways.

Three out of our nine human experts picked the Rams and three picked the Bills. Our canine expert was part of the minority in both matchups.

Meet the Good Dog of Week 15: Remy

Remy a.k.a. Remjamin a.k.a. Remdog a.k.a. Remy G a.k.a. Remstopher is a 3-year-old labrador/whippet mix who just celebrated his adoptaversary Sunday.

A golden labrador retriever/whippet mix wearing a red sweater

Remy loves romping around at the dog park and he really loves sleeping. His best pal is Ramsey, our Good Dog of Week 4.

He decided on teams this week by choosing between toys. First, he picked between a stuffed turkey for the home team and a reindeer for away teams, but he couldn’t resist picking the turkey every time. A second time around, he chose between a yellow ball for home and purple for away. He made it perfectly clear that he really trusts the home teams in Week 15. The only away team he picked was Philadelphia, a wise choice considering it has a matchup against Washington.

Taking the Bengals to hold down the fort against the Patriots was awfully bold, unless he believes Cincinnati can get revenge for Spygate 2.0.

Week 15 picks

Here are all our picks for the week, although we could still change our minds and do a swap by Friday, just in case some injury news pops up. Our guest picker this week is Bradley Smith from our Panthers blog, Cat Scratch Reader.

Week 15 picks

Games James Brady Christian D'Andrea Sarah Hardy Morgan Moriarty Geoff Schwartz Adam Stites Stephen White Bradley Smith Remy the Good Dog Fooch
Games James Brady Christian D'Andrea Sarah Hardy Morgan Moriarty Geoff Schwartz Adam Stites Stephen White Bradley Smith Remy the Good Dog Fooch
NYJ vs. BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL
NE vs. CIN NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE CIN NE
TB vs. DET TB TB TB TB TB TB TB TB DET TB
CHI vs. GB GB GB GB GB GB GB GB GB GB GB
HOU vs. TEN HOU TEN TEN HOU TEN HOU TEN TEN TEN TEN
DEN vs. KC KC KC KC KC KC KC KC KC KC KC
MIA vs. NYG MIA NYG NYG NYG MIA NYG MIA NYG NYG NYG
PHI vs. WAS PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI
SEA vs. CAR SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA CAR SEA
JAX vs. OAK JAX OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK
CLE vs. ARI ARI CLE CLE CLE CLE CLE CLE CLE ARI ARI
MIN vs. LAC MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN LAC MIN LAC MIN
LAR vs. DAL LAR LAR DAL LAR DAL LAR LAR LAR DAL DAL
ATL vs. SF SF SF SF SF SF SF SF SF SF SF
BUF vs. PIT BUF BUF PIT BUF PIT PIT BUF BUF PIT BUF
IND vs. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
Season record 128-80 139-69 122-86 129-79 124-84 117-91 123-85 130-78 116-92 118-90