NFL expert picks, predictions for Week 15 straight up

There are only three weeks left in the NFL regular season, and the scramble for the playoffs is on.  

The main event features Super Bowl contenders Kansas City and New Orleans, but there are several other gems that should impact the playoff picture – especially in the NFC East.  

Can Washington, led by an improved defense with first-round pick Chase Young, continue its run against Seattle? Will the Eagles get a spark from new quarterback Jalen Hurts? Do the Giants make it interesting in prime time against the Browns? Those are the big questions heading into the home stretch.  

SN is coming off one of its better weeks of the season. Here is a look at our track record in picking games straight-up in 2020:  

With that as the mind, below are our picks and predictions for the rest of Week 15:  

 

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX/NFLN

The Raiders have allowed more than 200 rushing yards each of the last two weeks, andthat is a major concern. The good news is the Chargers are 1-5 on the road this season. Las Vegas keeps its playoff hopes alive, but it’s a close call.

Pick:Raiders 27, Chargers 23

Saturday, 4:30 p.m., NFL Network

The Bills made a statement with their Sunday Night Football victory over the Steelers. Denver’s Drew Lock passed for four TDs last week, but he will be forced into a few mistakes againsta Bills’defense that has 18.7 points per gamethrough a three-game win streak. Buffalo stays hot.

Pick:Bills 26, Broncos 18

Saturday, 8 p.m., NFL Network

The Packers hold the top spot in the NFC, but this is one of those trap-door gamesto keep an eye on. Teddy Bridgewater can test Green Bay’s defense with high-percentage throwsand keep this game close into the fourth quarter.But the Packers will stay ahead with Aaron Rodgers, who continues to play ataMVP level.

Pick:Packers 31, Panthers 24

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET,FOX

The Falcons have lost their last two games by a combined total of eight points, and the struggles in the running game continue.Tom Brady continues to tune up for the playoffs with a deep group of receivers in a much-needed road victory.

Pick:Buccaneers 28, Falcons 19

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Two classic brands meet in a game with much lower stakes.The Niners struggled on offense last week against Washington, and they hit the road against an inconsistent Dallas team coming off its best performance of the season.It’s a coin-flip game.

Pick:Cowboys 24, 49ers 21

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Matthew Stafford’s status is uncertain after an injury suffered in the fourth quarter against the Packers, and the Lions rank 29thagainst the run (132.9). This should be another big-time performance for Derrick Henry. Fantasy owners will enjoy that, too.

Pick:Titans 31, Lions 21

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Rookie running back Jonathan Taylor has found his groovein the Colts’offense the last three weeks, and Philip Rivers should continue to benefit from that.The Texans keep it close a half with Deshaun Watson, but the defense is exposed again.

Pick:Colts 30, Texans 20

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

If the Dolphins are a playoff team, then this is a game theyhave towin. Miami won the Week 1 meeting in ugly fashion 21-11, and this onewill be a low-scoring affair. Can Miami push New England out of the playoffs once and for all?

Pick:Patriots 23, Dolphins 21

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

The Bears and Vikings remain on the outskirts of the playoff hunt, and Minnesota won the last matchup 19-13 in Week 10. Chicago has found some offense since with Mitchell Trubisky, and they’ve averaged 30.3 points per game the last three weeks.Expect the rematch to have a wild finish.

Pick:Bears 30, Vikings 27

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Washington is in the playoff hunt, and the defense has allowed just 14.3 points per game through a four-game win streak. Alex Smith (calf) will be monitored throughout the week, but the Seahawks have found their rhythm on defense, too. Russell Wilson keeps Seattle’s home-fieldhopes alive.

Pick:Seahawks 24, Washington 20

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Ravens have little room for error in the AFC playoff race, but the key will be keeping the running game going against the Jaguars.Jacksonville has allowed 200.3 rushing yards per game the last three weeks. Baltimore rolls again.

Pick:Ravens 30, Jaguars 20

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX

The Rams are huge home favorites against the hapless Jets.New York is 1-4 ATS as a double-digit underdog, so Los Angeles could easily cover here. Look for the Rams to keep it rolling.

Pick:Rams 34, Jets 16

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX

Can Jalen Hurts lead the Eaglesto a last-minute NFC East championship? Hurtsoffers an element tothe running game, and that should lead to a fun back andforth with Kyler Murray.If Philadelphia protects the football, then it will have a chance.

Pick:Eagles 23, Cardinals 20

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

The marquee game of the weekputs more pressure on the Saints, which lost their first game with Taysom Hill at quarterback in Week 14. The Chiefswithstood four turnovers to beat the Dolphins last week. Patrick Mahomes is 3-0 in indoor starts for his career, and he has a 91.8 passer rating in thosegames.

Pick:Chiefs 34, Saints 30

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

Cleveland continues its prime-time tour at New York, and the Giants will have to contend with the two-headed running game of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Baker Mayfield makes enough plays to keep the Browns’playoff – and perhaps AFC North title – hopes alive.

Pick:Browns 28, Giants 21

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Steelers are looking for a get-right game after two straight losses, and the rival Bengals provide that opportunity. Cincinnati has a –6 turnover ratio in three games since Joe Burrow’s season-ending injury. Pittsburgh will exploit that.

Pick:Steelers 28, Bengals 13

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