By Erica Renee Davis
Special for FOX Sports
The NFL playoff picture is starting to take shape.
Take the Cowboys, a team destined to at least make an appearance this postseason. The last time Team USA went to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons was in 2006 and 2007. Remember when Tom Petty did it on the Super Bowl stage in Arizona? Yes, that’s how long it’s been since the Cowboys haven’t made the postseason in back-to-back years. But a win in Week 15 could have them partying like it’s ’06-’07.
Then there are teams like the Patriots, the Americans others Team: Still fighting for their playoff lives. New England is in the hunt, but can the Pats keep winning and finally claim a playoff spot?
These are just a few intriguing stories we’re seeing in Week 15. But why just watch when you can play and, better yet, make money?
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And if you need help, we’ve got you covered, too. Check out our predictions for this weekend’s marquee matches!
Are the Cowboys really legitimate Super Bowl contenders this season?
David Helman talks about how different this year’s Cowboys team is compared to previous playoff teams.
eagles at bears (1 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX)
Both of these teams are fun to watch, but only one has a chance to win. And that team, my friends, is Philadelphia.
The Eagles are an offensive juggernaut. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has passed for 3,157 yards and 22 touchdowns this season. His 108.4 quarterback passer rating is the best in the league. And Pro Bowl wide receiver AJ Brown has caught fire, too. He is only the third player in Philly franchise history to accumulate 10 TDs in his first season with the team. As an aside, Hurts is now the favorite to win the NFL MVP.
On the other side are the Bears, a team that ranks 29th in scoring defense. Good luck Chicago trying to stop Hurts, Brown & Co.
Bears quarterback Justin Fields has scored a rushing TD in six straight games, so witnessing Fields’ evolution has been fascinating. But Chicago has no chance in this one.
Eagles by 11 to 13 points
Steelers at panthers (1 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS)
At FOX Bet, Carolina is favored by 2.5 points. Under normal circumstances, meaning a year where the Steelers aren’t a dumpster fire, this spread might be laughable. But alas, here we are.
If Pittsburgh drops this game, it will be the team’s first losing season under head coach Mike Tomlin. And if that wasn’t bad enough news, QB Kenny Pickett may not be available to start Sunday after entering the concussion protocol in the team’s Week 14 loss to the Ravens.
So when we say we like the Panthers in this one, it’s not because we actually like them I like the panthers They are a sad 5-8 straight (SU), just like Pittsburgh. But look for Carolina, the team that’s 7-6 against the spread this season and 4-3 SU at home, to get the straight-up win and the cover.
Panthers 4 to 5 points
cowboys at jaguars (1 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX)
It took late-game heroics from Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to edge the Texans by a win in Week 14. But the Cowboys still escaped with a win. The Jaguars also took care of business by upsetting the Titans.
But there will be no upset in this matchup. The Cowboys are a 4.5-point favorite over the Jags at FOX Bet, and after last week’s scare, Dallas will come out on top in this one decisively.
The boys are one of the best ATS teams this season, going 8-5 in that category. They also have one of the best defenses, leading the NFL with 77 tackles for loss. Offensively, they are loaded with talent. Wideout CeeDee Lamb is one of the top 10 receivers in the league. With a Week 15 win, Big D will secure a playoff spot, which is the key to this game.
Jacksonville will try to play spoiler in back-to-back weeks and keep it close for a few quarters, but the Cowboys will pull away late as the playoffs are in sight.
Cowboys 8 to 10 points
Falcons at saints (1 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX)
Who said the Saints would win?
Apparently not the Falcons.
When the two teams met in Week 1 this season, New Orleans came away with a narrow 27-26 victory. And since 2019, New Orleans has beaten Atlanta five of six times.
Yes, the 4-9 Saints are struggling, but the Falcons are facing a special kind of turmoil. Quarterback Marcus Mariota was benched for rookie Desmond Ridder. That move reportedly led to Mariota walking away from the team.
If Atlanta loses, it will mark the team’s fifth straight losing season. If New Orleans falls short, it will be the first time they have NOT gone 10-loss in a season since 2005.
The only advantage we see is for the Saints, and that’s because of how they usually go after a bye. They are 5-1 SU in their last six contests after a bye. Last week’s off week will work in his favor.
Saints from 8 to 10 points
patriots at Raiders (4:05 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX)
Heading into Week 15, the 7-6 Pats are currently the seventh seed in the AFC and in the Wild Card hunt. They beat Arizona at quarterback on Monday Night Football and entered this game as 1.5-point favorites to knock off Las Vegas.
And we like the Pats on this one.
New England ranks fifth in the NFL in scoring defense, and the Pats’ Matt Judon has a team-high 14.5 sacks this season. So while Mac Jones’ 2,198 passing yards pales in comparison to the top QBs in the league, the Pats can make up for Mac’s mediocrity in other areas.
The Raiders rank 31st in the NFL in takeaways. They are coming off a disastrous 17-16 loss to the Rams, where they blew a 10-point halftime lead.
Las Vegas will be desperate to get back on track, but the Patriots are riding the MNF momentum.
Patriots by 3 points
cardinals at broncos (4:05 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX)
The Cardinals can’t catch a break. Quarterback Kyler Murray tore his ACL on the first drive of the game on a non-contact play. where do they go from here
Cards are generally 4-9 SU and 6-7 ATS on the year. On top of all that, they’ve never beaten Denver.
The 3-10 Broncos are also a disaster. However, FOX Bet has them favored by 2.5 points, and that is, believe it or not, a place we like.
Two upsides for Denver to consider: The Broncos rank fourth in scoring defense and Jerry Jeudy was on fire in Week 14 with his career-high three receiving TDs.
Hear us when we say this is it no a vote of confidence for Denver. The Broncos have lost five in a row. But the Cardinals are 1-5 in their last six matchups, and are ousting Colt McCoy as the starting QB at the Mile High.
Don’t call it a rebound, but the Broncos will win.
Broncos 4 to 5 points
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